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Spy Shots: the interior of the Borgward BX5 for China and a Disagreement

Published on April 5, 2016 by Tycho de Feijter

Spy Shots: the interior of the Borgward BX5 for China and a Disagreement

The very first Spy Shots of the interior of the Borgward BX5 SUV, showing a large standing touch screen and various buttons and switches for automatic parking, stability control, electronic parking brake, hill-descent control, and a power-tailgate. Cup holders seem on the small side. In front of the gear lever sits a panel with two USB ports and a cigarette lighter. The Borgward BX5 will be available with three engines: a 1.8 turbo, a 1.4 turbo, and a 1.4 turbo hybrid.

The 1.8 turbo has 187hp and 280nm, the 1.4 turbo has 140hp and 240nm, and the 1.4 turbo hybrid has a massive 253hp and 435nm. The 1.8 will be mated to a six-speed automatic, thee 1.4 turbo and 1.4 turbo hybrid to a seven-speed DCT.

All very nice. Sadly, we are in a disagreement with Borgward about their business. See below:

Borgward is 100% owned by China’s Foton Motor, a subsidiary of the Beijing Automotive Industry Corporation (BAIC). Foton Motor (web) is a commercial vehicle manufacturer. They make heavy trucks, light trucks, vans, minivans, MPV’s, pickup trucks, and rough ‘n ready SUV’s. They also have a truck making joint venture with Daimler-Benz. They will make the Borgward cars in a new factory in Beijing. There will be no Borgward cars manufactured in Germany.

BAIC is an  endlessly large and endlessly complicated conglomerate. It has passenger car joint ventures with Hyundai and with Mercedes-Benz, it makes cars under the Beijing Auto name, under the Senova name, and under separate joint ventures with other Chinese car makers.

The Borgward cars are based on exiting Senova platforms. The Borgward BX5 is based on the Senova X55, the Borgward BX7 on the  Beijing Auto Senova X65, and the future Borgward BX3 will be based on the Senova X35.

We have been approached by Borgward PR people. We have been contacted via LinkedIn from Germany, and were almost tricked into a meeting here in Beijing, which was not very nice.

Borgward is unhappy with our reporting. They say they are a German company, and that Foton is not their owner, but their largest shareholder. I asked for more details but did not get a reply.

Borgward also says that they have developed the platform for the Borgward BX7 by themselves, and that it is not based on the Beijing Auto Senova X65. I asked for more details but did not get a reply.

borgward-bx5-china-4

I also asked the PR person to comment on this chart, showing the ownership structure of Borgward. This chart has been released by Foton to Chinese media. I did not get a reply.

The ownership structure is interesting: Foton owns 100% of a German-registered company called Foton Germany Auto Tech Engineering, which owns 100% of Borgward AG, which owns 100% of Borgward Group AG, which owns 100% of Borgward China.

As far as I can see Borgward is thus 100% owned by Foton.

The platform question: the BX7 is size-wise extremely close and shape-wise very close to the Senova X65. In all appearances they are the same car with a different front and a different engine. I asked the PR people to comment on this, but got no reply. The engine by the way is a 2.0 liter turbo developed by Foton, where it also powers the rather agricultural  Sauvana SUV.

There is more:

In China each car gets a vehicle designation code, mandated by the government. The code for the Borgward BX7 is BJ6470B1X5, with slightly different codes for the various variants. The ‘BJ’ in the code stands for ‘Beijing’, short for Beijing Auto. The full name of the company that makes the Borgward BX7 is BeiQi Foton Motor Corporation (北汽福田汽车股份有限公司), with BeiQi short for Beijing Qiche, which means ‘Beijing Auto’.

The vehicle designation code for the Senova X65 is… BJ6470U6X2. The fact that these two cars share the same BJ6740 code means they are very closely related. This is proved by the code for the Beijing Auto Huansu S6, which is, and very openly, a rebadged variant of the Senova X65. The code for the Huansu S6 is BJ6470CKV2A.

With the designation code come the official measurements. Not the ones the companies claim on auto shows, but the real ones, measured and checked by the government.

Senova X65 (via): 4654/1816/1618, and wheelbase is 2670.
Borgward BX7 (via): 4710/1910/1690, and wheelbase is… 2670.

Codes and sizes match, especially the all important wheelbase, which is a full match.

We call that the same car. We are eagerly awaiting Borgward’s response. By LinkedIn would be fine, thanks.

To be continued…

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The pictures and word thing. The Borgward BX7 above, in Germany, and the Senova X65 below. Look at the doors, the bonnet, the arches, the creases, the overall proportions, and everything, really.

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Case closed.

7 comments

Add Comment
  1. sirsteven- April 6, 2016 Reply

    certainly looks like a fake foreign brand. Borgward is basically just a Wikipedia entry to give it a patina of historic cred.

    1. acs- April 7, 2016 Reply

      It is a real historical brand albeit obscure to the modern consumer.

      1. Deskman- April 11, 2016 Reply

        It feels like another MG, a revived brand but without any of its original essence.

  2. santos palisander- April 6, 2016 Reply

    The origins of the new Borgward have been discussed on numerous internet forums, and has been very professionally reported by CNC. The time has come for BAIC-Foton to clarify the structure of their Borgward brand, and be done with it!

  3. Mike- April 7, 2016 Reply

    You see the same thing with watches, a fancy European sounding name and a webpage, but it’s all Chinese..

  4. Jochen- April 11, 2016 Reply

    What a missed opportunity! Borgward is another faceless brand without salt. It could have any logo, and no one would notice. When do Chinese brands start doing non compromised designs “Love it or Hate it”. Juke and Lannia are great example of that and commercially very successful.

  5. erik van ingen schenau- May 13, 2016 Reply

    I read at Borgward that the car will be made in a new Borgward factory in China. In the Chinese press I read that production has started in the five year old Foton factory in Miyun.

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