Borgward Group, Germany

Borgward Group, Germany

Borgward Group


Carl F. W. Borgward

Bremen, Germany


The former Borgward car manufacturing company, based in Bremen, Germany, was founded by Carl F. W. Borgward (1890–1963). It produced cars of four brands, which were sold to a diversified international customer base: Borgward, Hansa, Goliath and Lloyd. Borgward’s Isabella was one of the most popular German premium models in the 1950s, while Lloyd’s Alexander / Lloyd 600 model offered affordable mobility to many working-class motorists. The group ceased operations in 1961, following controversial insolvency proceedings. The brand was revived in the 21st century, with the Stuttgart-based Borgward Group AG designing and marketing cars manufactured in China.



The origins of the company go back to 1905 with the establishment in Varel (near Bremen) of Hansa Automobilgesellschaft and the foundation in Bremen itself of NAMAG, maker of the Lloyd car. These two businesses merged in 1914 to form the Hansa-Lloyd-Werke A.G. After the war, in the troubled economic situation then confronting Germany, the business failed to prosper and by the late 1920's faced bankruptcy. For Carl Borgward, already the successful creator of the Goliath-Blitzkarren business, the misfortunes of Hansa-Lloyd presented an opportunity to greatly expand the scope of his auto business and he took control of it.

Borgward’s approach to “product planning” was remarkably profligate. In West Germany only Opel, at this time, came close to Borgward in terms of frequency of model changes and facelifts. But Opel were backed by the financial muscle and the strong management support of General Motors, the world’s largest auto-maker and at that time itself a fabulously profitable corporation. In contrast, Borgward had only a generous (but not bottomless) credit facility from the local state bank which he coupled with a personal disinclination to delegate or discuss business decisions. Opel, for all their flamboyant marketing and a domestic market share second only to that of Volkswagen, at this time offered only two models, the Rekord and the Kapitän. It is difficult to keep up with how many different models the Borgward group was supporting. In addition to various commercial vehicles, the 1961 passenger car range included the Lloyd Alexander, the Lloyd Arabella, the Goliath 1100 (rebadged in 1959 as the Borgward 1100), the Borgward Isabella and the Borgward P100.

The company’s reputation for serious teething troubles on new models was not simply the result of malicious press reporting. Borgward was managed by a 70 year old autocrat without an obvious succession plan. At the height of the crisis talks in 1961 Carl Borgward received (and robustly rejected) a 200 Million Mark offer for his business from Chrysler corporation. Even without his own personal BMW connections, chairman Semler might reasonably have concluded that the Borgward business as then configured had no realistic prospect of remaining solvent for more than few more months without collapsing into a yet more destructive bankruptcy from which creditors would not recover all their cash, and which could easily end up with the company becoming a third significant foreign transplant to compete on financially unequal terms with the domestically owned auto-industry.



Lloyd Arabella:

The Lloyd Arabella was a passenger car produced by the Borgward Group in West Germany between 1959 and 1961. After the company's controversial bankruptcy the Arabella continued to be produced, albeit in greatly reduced quantities, and branded as the Borgward Arabella, until 1963. By the standards of the time and place it would have been defined as a small family car. The Arabella was a completely new design, owing nothing to the Lloyd Alexander which it initially complemented and then replaced in the manufacturer's range. It was developed in just 23 months, which later commentators have asserted was much too short a period in which to identify and eliminate "teething-troubles" ahead of launch. It was constructed using a frame of tube-steel with cross-members.


Borgward Hansa 1500:

The Borgward Hansa 1500 is a medium-sized automobile that was manufactured by the Bremen based auto-manufacturer Carl F. W. Borgward GmbH from 1949 to 1954. It was first presented at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1949 and production commenced on 13 October 1949. The similar Hansa 1800 was introduced in 1952. The Hansa was replaced by the Borgward Isabella in 1954. The car was launched as a two- or four-door saloon with an all-steel body built around a central steel frame, which bears a resemblance to a 1949 Ford. The wings were fully

integrated into the bodywork, and the passenger cabin filled the full width of the car. At a time when competitor vehicles from Opel and Mercedes Benz were still based on conventional looking prewar designs, the interior width of the Hansa, emphasized by the inclusion of bench seats both at the back and in the front, attracted favourable press comment.

Borgward Isabella:

The Borgward Isabella is an automobile which was manufactured by the Bremen based auto-manufacturer Carl F. W. Borgward GmbH from 1954 to 1962. The Isabella was to have been marketed as the Borgward Hansa 1500 but the Isabella name was used on test vehicles and proved popular with engineering staff and media. The production car was subsequently renamed and only the first few hundred examples were built without Isabella badging. Hansa badging was also used through to 1957. e early cars enjoyed an enthusiastic reception in the market place.
Unfortunately, early models were afflicted by teething troubles, reflecting a rushed development schedule, and the marketplace would later prove unforgiving as Borgward's Stuttgart based rival, Daimler-Benz demonstrated that new models did not have to involve customers experiencing such problems.


Borgward P100:

The Borgward P100 is a large four-door sedan first presented in September 1959 at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and produced by the Bremen based auto-manufacturer Carl F. W. Borgward GmbH between January 1960 and July 1961. The P100 was competing in the six-cylinder sedan sector which through the 1950's had become ever more dominated by Mercedes-Benz, whose 220SE model also received a modern chiselled body shape in 1960. Borgward’s previous six-cylinder sedans had achieved only limited market penetration, and early reports that the.
The model enjoyed a brief afterlife: the production line was sold and shipped to Mexico by Grupo Industrial Ramirez in Monterrey NL, where between 1967 and 1970 more than 2,000 additional P100s were produced.



Aside from its German engineering prowess and technical innovations, the Borgward name reflects an international orientation and has been such, since the very beginning. As early as the 1920s, the company was supplying the Polish post office with the Goliath Standard three-wheeler. Bolstered in particular by the German economic miracle, the company developed into a global organization and oversaw a broad product range split amongst three distinguished brands – Lloyd (small cars), Goliath (lower mid-range cars, light delivery trucks), and Borgward (mid-range and luxury cars, trucks). he company’s proximity to the Bremerhaven port was especially advantageous. By the middle of the century, one out of every three cars made in the Bremen area was being shipped abroad. A Borgward catalogue of 1959 listed more than 2,200 authorized dealers and workshops worldwide, covering every continent. From 1955 onwards, the export ratio of the Isabella was further fueled by strong demand from the United States. In fact, after Germany, the US became the second largest market for this most beautiful of Borgward models.

In the record-breaking 1959 year, when the company built more than 100,000 vehicles, the export ratio across all of Borgward’s vehicle series reached 63.5 percent and a significant 35 percent of all the cars exported by the Group were headed for the USA. At the end of the 1950s, more Borgward Isabellas were sold abroad than any other German-built car.


Borgward Models:



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