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Car and Driver: Resurrected Borgward Brand Turns Up in Geneva with Three SUVs


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Borgward, a long-forgotten German brand that folded in 1961, made a splash by announcing its return and some incredibly ambitious sales targets early last year. It then showed off the BX7 SUV at the 2015 Frankfurt auto show before sort of fading once again into the background. Now that Borgward has popped up at the 2016 Geneva show with more vehicles, we find ourselves once again discussing a brand that resonates with precisely no one under the age of 70, because, well, this industry can be desperate for news. Or at least as desperate as you must be to find something to read.

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Far from harkening back to the 1950s, when Borgward arguably built some of the prettiest cars on the road, the brand showed off some fairly generic, cookie-cutter crossovers. Not even the paint jobs evoked any kind of heritage, and only the logo served as a nod to the halcyon days of an innovative brand. Beyond the dull BX7 unveiled as a concept in Frankfurt, there also were the smaller BX5 crossover and the coupe-SUV BX6. If those uninspiring names do nothing for you, take solace in the fact that Borgward’s historic Isabella badge is seeing some use as the name for the brand’s concierge service that will be able to procure hotel rooms, opera tickets, and the like for customers.

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The technology presented at Geneva in concept form is somewhat interesting at least. The BX5 is a plug-in hybrid with claimed combined system output of 253 horsepower, while the BX6’s plug-in powertrain is said to be good for a whopping 416 horsepower. All-wheel-drive functionality is enabled in the SUVs thanks to an electric motor on the rear axle.

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Borgward CEO Ulrich Walker, formerly of Daimler, said that the firm is considering producing its crossover SUVs in Germany, which is somewhat curious, as German brands themselves are looking to move production to other countries to keep costs low. (The decision hasn’t been made yet, but putting the thought out there publicly is sure to generate some positive coverage in Germany.) Borgward will launch in China next month, says Walker, and the BX7 will then be offered in India and Brazil before coming to Europe. In the mid-term, Walker says, Borgward wants to make around 500,000 units a year, an ambitious target and beyond even Sergio Marchionne’s plans for his struggling Alfa Romeo brand.

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Retro the Borgwards aren’t, but in conjunction with powerful engines and motors they might generate sufficient interest in the brand as they inch closer to their market launch.

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