Borgward to build manufacturing facility in Bremen; all-electric-drive Borgward BX7 first model; Industry 4.0
Borgward Group AG, the reincarnation of the German automaker that ceased operations in 1961 (earlier post), will be returning to Bremen and building a production facility there. Bremen was the former home of Borgward, and the German automotive company produced around 1.2 million Borgward, Lloyd, and Goliath brand vehicles here from the 1920s until it ceased operations.
In accordance with Borgward’s announcement that it will begin sales in Europe with electric SUVs, the first model to be produced in Bremen will be a Borgward BX7 with an all-electric drive system. (Earlier post.) The company also plans to manufacture electric and plug-in-hybrid versions of the BX5 series and other models. Construction of the new manufacturing facility is scheduled to begin in early 2017. Production will be launched at the plant a year later, in 2018.
From the start, Borgward’s Bremen plant will base the technological aspects of its manufacturing system, processes, and equipment on the Industry 4.0 standard. The facility’s layout will be focused on the smart factory—the planned production process will be extremely efficient and able to handle the increasing complexity in automotive manufacturing. The amount of local value-added can’t be fully determined yet. Along with suppliers that have already been announced, e.g. Continental, Kuka, Schäffler/SKF, BorgWarner, and Webasto, Bosch will play a major role in the production of all-electric vehicles, while the electronics company LG will do the same with regard to batteries.
Borgward’s Bremen facility will closely cooperate with the Borgward plant in Miyun, China, near Beijing, which was also constructed according to the latest Western standards. The Miyun plant is one of the most modern automobile manufacturing facilities in the world in terms of production technology, quality management, environmental compatibility, logistics, and the social aspects for the Borgward employees there, the company says.
The Miyun manufacturing facility, which was commissioned in mid-2016, will also serve as the home plant for Borgward’s emerging global production network. The Chinese plant will collect and evaluate all the feedback and experiences from the various markets and production locations, develop solutions, and then forward this information back to the relevant units. This will ensure a continual transfer of knowledge that will lead to a continual increase in product quality that will also benefit the Bremen plant and the customers in Europe.
In addition to objective arguments such as the location’s good logistics connection to an international port, the ready availability of skilled workers, and the region’s outstanding supplier industry, emotions also played a major role in Borgward’s decision to come to Bremen.
Between 50 and 100 jobs will be created in Bremen during the initial phase. Borgward plans to create an SKD manufacturing facility with a production capacity of up to 10,000 vehicles per year. In the first step, the company will build an assembly hall with around 10,000 square meters of floor space. Next to it will be a similarly large outdoor area.
Production will be designed from the ground up to be flexible and organized in such a way that we can adjust — and thus increase — production output and the number of models to the demand at any time as we enter other European markets.—Ulrich Walker, CEO of Borgward Group AG
Borgward will increase the workforce numbers and investments as production output increases. The initial investment will be in the eight-digit euro range.
The exact location of the production facility will be decided sometime in the weeks ahead. According to Walker, Borgward is currently holding in-depth talks about the final location with potential production partners, property owners, and the State of Bremen.
Borgward BX7. The BX7 is a model for the globally popular market for large mid-size SUVs. To date, around 15,000 units of the 4.70-meter-long SUV have been ordered in China since its launch there in June 2016.