BERLIN, June 25 (Xinhua) -- The once-popular Borgward car brand is relaunched in Germany for the first time since declaring insolvency 55 years ago, the company announced on Monday.
Assisted by an investment of its Chinese parent company Beiqi Foton Motor, Borgward Group is offering a limited edition of its new "BX7" Special Utility Vehicle (SUV) for sale in its traditional home market with immediate effect.
The Stuttgart-based subsidiary is hereby pursuing a strategy focused on online sales instead of physical motor dealerships to market BX7 vehicles built in China to German customers.
"We are establishing a digital distribution network," a statement by Borgward head of sales Tom Anliker read.
Additionally, the carmaker is entering a partnership with the A.T.U chain of automobile repair shops which operates a total of 608 branches in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
A.T.U chief executive officer (CEO) Andreas Schmidt emphasized on Monday that his company would be able to assist German Borgward customers for 90 percent of their service needs. The Weiden-based automobile repair group noted that it would also cooperate closely with Borgward in the areas of logistics and spare parts management.
Originally founded in Bremen in 1936, Borgward used to be one of Germany's best-known carmakers. The company's iconic "Isabella" model in particular continues to enjoy popularity among old-timer enthusiasts.
Beiqi Foton Motors has already sold 100,000 Borgward BX7 models in China and is also marketing the vehicle in southeast Asia, South America and the Middle East. The company, which belongs to the larger BAIC Group, estimates that it could produce up to 360,000 of the car brand at its Changping, Beijing plant.
Borgward announced on Monday that it would expand its European presence by further release of several new models in the course of 2018, including a "BX5" and "BX6".
Commenting on the plans, Borgward Europe Director Gerald Lautenschlaeger expressed confidence that his firm's unusual approach to focus on online sales would turn out to be a recipe for success.
"Physical representations are expensive, the economic viability of these facilities is dubious," Lautenschlaeger argued. Nevertheless, customers would still have the opportunity to witness BX7 models in the flesh before placing an order at a "Brand Center" in Stuttgart as well as during road shows.
The BX7 currently comes with a reduced price-tag of 44,200 euros (51,600 U.S. dollars) in Germany and is only available for sale in a petrol-powered version. However, Borgward wants to market an electric BX7 in the country as well from 2019 onwards and is mulling opening a plant nears its traditional home of Bremen towards that end.
Concerning the prospective opening of a production facility in Germany, a Borgward representative told Xinhua on Monday the company was still "waiting for approval of the foreign investment from Chinese officials."