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German brand Borgward to be revived with Chinese backing, report says
Christiaan Hetzner
Automotive News Europe
February 11, 2015

FRANKFURT -- German automaker Borgward is set to be revived with backing from a Chinese truck company, a media report said.

Christian Borgward, grandson of the company's founder, Carl F.W. Borgward, will outline plans for the brand's comeback on March 3 at the Geneva auto show.

"The relaunch of Borgward is a childhood’s dream of mine that is now becoming a reality," Christian Borgward said in a statement.

According to German auto magazine AutoBild, Chinese commercial truck maker Beiqi Foton - a joint venture partner of Daimler - is behind the plans to revive Borgward after securing the brand rights in March 2014.

CONTINUE AT AUTONEWS EUROPE

Image credited to, and courtesy of, AutoNews Europe:
The Isabella coupe was one of Borgward's most successful models.

 

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As I'd said in another post, I'm concerned about this becoming a trend, where the Chinese start resurrecting old marques, especially in the US. At least it's the founder's grandson rebooting the company. Still...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I'll honestly say, I've never heard of the Borgward brand before. I'm sure there must be some affection for it in parts of Europe, but a single decades-dormant brand is not likely to have a huge impact.

However, as a cumulative effect, there could be an "impact" if well known but dormant brands are resurrected.

It's not secret that Chinese and Indian automakers want to purchase "well known" Western brands to sell products under in more mature markets. We've seen this with Tata's purchase of JLR, Nanjing's (and now SAIC's) procurement of what remained of MG Rover, and Geely's purchase of Volvo. We also might see it play out again soon as Mahindra pursues the rights to Saab. To be fair, Geely and Tata are continuing/financing the in-house developed products of Volvo and JLR, respectively, rather than substitute their products under their badges. However, in the case of MG, they are certainly taking a Chinese product (sold under the Roewe marque) and selling them as MGs.

What's more, we don't only see this in the car industry either. Korean outfit Lucky Goldstar (now LG) purchased Zenith years ago, used the brand to gain a foothold, and then sunset the the Zenith marque and replaced it with LG. Chinese appliance maker Haier tried to buy Maytag a decade ago before it was scooped up by Whirlpool. Lenovo just purchased Motorola Mobility from Google. We've also see licensing agreements were well-known (and not all that dormant) brands like Westinghouse, Kodak, and Polaroid. These brands have either disappeared or gone into bankruptcy, only to see the electronic rights to their names get used by little-known Eastern OEMs and electronic suppliers. It's worked well too --- You can find Westinghouse and Polaroid TVs at many stores, Polaroid has launched a tablet (and Westinghouse will also launch one soon), and the company licensing the Kodak name just introduced a smartphone. And, of course, the list could continue.

Point is, there are only so many of these "currently established" brands to buy out there in the car industry.

At some point, old marques will be resurrected to play on people's nostalgia/memories and use as a way to enter our markets. It's certainly a sound plan by the owners of Chinese/Indian/et al. companies. You can't fault them for it. But as s cumulative effect, it could impact markets like Europe, where carmakers continue to struggle to make money.

In the US would this be an issue? Could we see an Indian or Chinese firm came along and resurrect "dead brands" like Studebaker, Cord, Packard, Auburn, Duesenberg, or Pierce-Arrow? All of these brands must have intellectual properties that can be purchased from their current owners for a price.

I wouldn't count out the possibility. A Dutch group has revived Detroit Electric to produce a contemporary electric car. And, of course, everyone knows about Spyker's revival under Victor Muller. Weirder things have happened I suppose.
 
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As I'd said in another post, I'm concerned about this becoming a trend, where the Chinese start resurrecting old marques, especially in the US. At least it's the founder's grandson rebooting the company. Still...
imagine a zombie pontiac coming back. not sure if that is a good thing or a bad think. but i always wanted a pontiac and regret not buying one, when i had a chance. think i will keep looking in the used market
 

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In the US would this be an issue? Could we see an Indian or Chinese firm came along and resurrect "dead brands" like Studebaker, Cord, Packard, Auburn, Duesenberg, or Pierce-Arrow? All of these brands must have intellectual properties that can be purchased from their current owners for a price.
Your points are excellent, but I think your mentioned US car brands have all been dead too long. Maybe not on Packard or Studebaker. Pontiac, Mercury, Checker, Olds, Plymouth, Imperial, Willys-Overland etc. might be more relevant. Maybe not.
 

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Your points are excellent, but I think your mentioned US car brands have all been dead too long. Maybe not on Packard or Studebaker. Pontiac, Mercury, Checker, Olds, Plymouth, Imperial, Willys-Overland etc. might be more relevant. Maybe not.
Thanks for the thumbs up. Much appreciated.

Yes, Packard and Studebaker have been around in limited exposure, depending on the particular project that the then-current owner was working on. However, I'm sure for a price they'd easily give up their rights to the brand names.

As for the others, you're right in that they're more modern and relevant, but don't think they'd be easily parted with by their current owenrs. I can't see an established company giving up the rights to better-known brands and hand a competitor an advantage.

For instance, GM isn't likely to sell the rights to Pontiac or Oldsmobile. Nor could I see GM selling whatever intellectual property rights to older, dormant brands that they still might have a right to (Oakland, Viking, LaSalle, or Marquette). Even a brand like Hummer (assuming GM still owns the right to it and it didn't die with Liquidated Motors) isn't likely to be sold by GM since the brand still has too much equity in it. For that matter, Saturn would fall into the same category (former Saturn owners were very loyal, rabid folks).

Plymouth's death is still too new (and for that matter, so is Eagle), so can't imagine that FCA would part with it. Imperial is an interesting thought; it died as brand in the 1980s, but again, can't see Auburn Hills letting it go if they still have a claim to it. Even Mercury, who was treated like a red-headed step-child by FoMoCo, it's still known well enough that I can't see them selling the rights to the brand to another outfit.

In each case, selling the rights could come back to bite them in the behind in some way (not to mention, it would annoy lots of former owners and possibly create litigation from former dealerships that had to suffer through the closure of their brands). Would an Indian/Chinese automaker that had the right to Pontiac, Mercury, Saturn, Plymouth or Eagle sell in huge numbers? Not likely and certainly not likely to happen right away. But why give someone an advantage like that? Why allow them to use all the "good will" you've created in a brand (even if it was killed off) to someone who could potentially lure a customer away or create confusion among the car buying public?

A more interesting idea is, if someone out there wants to use the rights to some dead brands and challenges whether or not they're still "owned" by their former owners. For instance, could a Chinese or Indian outfit try and use "Imperial" or "Oakland" and fight FCA and GM respectively to use the rights since they haven't been in the market place for decades?

Your idea on Checker and Willys-Overland are interesting. I don't know who owns Checker. Did they make cars that got sold to the public? All I know that they made was the Marathon, but that was a cab only right? Obviously FCA is still in business and is the ultimate successor to Willys-Overland. I know that the Overland name was revived in early 2000s by Jeep to use as a trimlevel, so that might be more difficult to use.

Still, could there be any other possibilities? Could we see something really "odd" like having the Vector name be bought? Or what about "Sterling", which was Rover's name to sell Honda-sourced products during the late 1980s?
 
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"At last! My chance to own a NEW BORGWARD!!!" said no one ever.
 
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Or what about "Sterling", which was Rover's name to sell Honda-sourced products during the late 1980s?
Strangely, I can't find out where ownership of the Sterling brand went - not sure if it has any value though, given how badly the cars were built - it's actually one of life's mysteries, how can two companies collaborate on a joint development and produce such different cars, Honda Legend and Sterling 827 ?
 

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Wow.

When I was but a wee baby, my family had a Borg Ward wagon just like this:



When my Father graduated from Dental School we traded it in on one of these:



Ours was dark grey.

Guess which one I liked better.
 

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Would you buy a polaroid 55" TV? Or a Kodak cell phone? Depends on who builds it and where they take it on the market. The "Technics" has been revived in electronics and is now a high end home hifi electronics manufacturer, same name, same logo, except they changed their status from (relatively) affordable mainstream to expensive high-end. How is it going to be received by the target buying public? Time will tell. Now if somebody ever revives Pontiac or Oldsmobile, don't expect those products to come out the same as they used to be.
 

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Nadepalma: Checker offered non taxi products for sale to the general public from the late 50s all the way to the end: Marathon and Superba. Used to advertise in National Geographic. Just like Cadillac Imperial and Rambler.

The Sterling was a Rover/ Honda joint effort offered in the US under that badge to distance itself from Rover's reputation in the US. IIRC it was called the Rover 800 in the UK and Sterling was a trim line for it. BMW or SAIC could have rights to the name. And research on AROnline suggest that BMW still owns the Rover and other legacy names.
 

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Nadepalma: Checker offered non taxi products for sale to the general public from the late 50s all the way to the end: Marathon and Superba. Used to advertise in National Geographic. Just like Cadillac Imperial and Rambler.

The Sterling was a Rover in name only, offered in the US under that badge to distance itself from Rover's reputation in the US. IIRC it was called the 800 in the UK and Sterling was a trim line for it. BMW or SAIC could have rights to the name. And research on AROnline suggest that BMW still owns the Rover and other legacy names.
BMW has divested itself of many, but not all of the BL heritage brands - Ford bought the Rover marque for £6m UKP to re-unite it with Land Rover - various Chinese companies own many of the rest.

JLR own Jaguar, Land Rover, Rover, Lanchester and Daimler - remembering that Daimler-Benz corporation can't use the Daimler brand on cars, only the corporation name.
 

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As I'd said in another post, I'm concerned about this becoming a trend, where the Chinese start resurrecting old marques, especially in the US. At least it's the founder's grandson rebooting the company. Still...
I'd love for that to happen. Don't care where the parent company is HQed, as long as they assemble cars in NA.
 

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Your idea on Checker and Willys-Overland are interesting. I don't know who owns Checker. Did they make cars that got sold to the public? All I know that they made was the Marathon, but that was a cab only right? Obviously FCA is still in business and is the ultimate successor to Willys-Overland. I know that the Overland name was revived in early 2000s by Jeep to use as a trimlevel, so that might be more difficult to use.
Up until 1959 Checkers did not sell to the general public although they techncially would sell you a car privately if requested. After 1959 they openly sold to the public but in limited numbers and with limited effort. They never made a signficant number of sales.

They didn't actually go out of business until 2010 as they had been a fairly large parts supplier although they stopped building cars in 1982.

Their last cab was taken out of service in 1999 in NY City after a law was passed that cabs couldn't be more then 6 years old. HSBC Bank actually owns one and still operates it in NY on a limited basis to shuttle customers.

Good point on Overland and Willys probably has zero value if they can't relate it to Jeep.

GM seemed willing to sell Saturn to Penske and it could be a great brand for the Chinese to buy. (I'm not sure Sell is the correct word for what GM wanted to do with Penske). It would have been a good move by the Chinese while the dealership network was still intact... as heart breaking as that would have been personally as a then Saturn owner...
 

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Strangely, I can't find out where ownership of the Sterling brand went - not sure if it has any value though, given how badly the cars were built - it's actually one of life's mysteries, how can two companies collaborate on a joint development and produce such different cars, Honda Legend and Sterling 827 ?
I am guessing it isn't the same as the Sterling brand of trucks, which was used when Daimler-Chrysler existed. However, that still means the same name was used much more recently.
http://www.pickuptrucks.com/trucks/IMAGES/news/sterling/bullet3.jpg
 
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