Borgward was a German automobile manufacturer founded by Carl F. W. Borgward (November 10, 1890-July 28, 1963). The company was based in Bremen. The Borgward group eventually produced four brands of cars: Borgward, Hansa, Goliath and Lloyd.
The first "automobile" Carl Borgward designed was the Blitzkarren (lightning cart), a sort of tiny three-wheeled van with 2 hp (1.5 kW), which was an enormous success in the market gap it filled. Traders with a small budget bought it for delivery. The Reichspost ordered many of them for postal service.
In 1929, Borgward became the director of Hansa Lloyd AG and led the development of the Hansa Konsul. In February 1937, there came the new Hansa Borgward 2000 and in 1939 the name was shortened to Borgward 2000. The 2000 model was followed by the Borgward 2300 that remained in production until 1942. After World War II, the company presented the Borgward Hansa 1500. One of the top engineers at Borgward from 1938-1952 was Dipl. Ing. Hubert M. Meingast.
Isabella and P100
Production of the Borgward Isabella began in 1954. The Isabella would become Borgward's most popular model and remained in production for the life of the company. In 1959, the Borgward P100 was introduced, equipped with pneumatic suspension.
Borgward introduced a line of 1500 cc sports racers in the late 1950s, with the 16-valve engine from these becoming a successful Formula Two power unit (which was also used by some F1 privateers in 1961).
Although Borgward pioneered technical novelties in the German market such as air suspension and automatic transmission, the company had trouble competing in the marketplace. While larger companies like Opel and VW took advantage of economies of scale and kept their prices low to gain market share, Borgward's cost structure was even higher than necessary for its size, as it basically operated as four tiny independent companies and never implemented such basic cost reduction strategies as joint development and parts sharing between the company's makes. Borgward suffered quality problems as well. The Lloyd Arabella was technically advanced as a water-cooled boxer with front wheel drive, but plagued with problems such as water leakage and gearbox glitches. Lloyd lost money on the car even though it was more expensive than its direct competitors.
In 1961, the company was forced into liquidation by creditors though Carl Borgward insisted the company was solvent which proved to be true as creditors were paid in full. In 1963, all manufacturing equipment for the Borgward Isabella and P100 was sold to a buyer in Mexico. Carl Borgward died in July 1963, two years after the company went bankrupt.
The German magazine Der Spiegel reported in 1965 that with a little help, the Borgward company could have easily overcome its financial problems of 1961. Given that all the company's creditors were eventually paid in full, the liquidation may have been unnecessary.
Production in Mexico
Production in Mexico was delayed, but was started in August 1967 by entrepreneur Gregorio Ramirez Gonzalez. Production in Mexico ceased in 1970.
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