Borgward, a German brand owned by Chinese carmaker Foton, has shaken off its secrecy and repositioned itself as part of efforts to rev up its performance in the competitive Chinese market.
"We are a German brand backed by Chinese capital," said Jason Yang, president of Borgward Group, at the 2018 Borgward Day ceremony held on Wednesday in Beijing.
"We spent little on acquiring the brand, and we invest heavily in building teams, research and development centers and manufacturing plants, so we can find the fastest curve to that (which) will enable the Chinese to go global," said Yang, a former Nissan veteran who joined Borgward in February.
Established in 1919, Borgward was one of the first automakers to introduce automatic gears; the company also invented the compact sedan and was once Germany's largest car exporter.
Its acquisition has helped the carmaker to attract a large number of professionals, who then fueled Borgward's momentum in development and manufacturing.
It now has more than 2,000 engineers and technicians from 12 countries, accounting for some 40 percent of Borgward's staff. Some of them previously held senior posts at major carmakers including GM, BMW and Rolls-Royce.
"Our state-of-the-art technologies are in the heads of those brilliant engineers," Yang said.
Borgward defines itself as a brand with the engineering spirit and aspires to offer the safest models to its customers.
"We not only build cars but also deliver a sense of safety," Yang said, adding that the core of the brand is "Courage Driven by Borgward", or CDB for short.
Yang said the models' unique selling proposition is "Borgward Safety Time Space", which includes a series of functions including four-wheel drive, emergency calling ability, a high proportion of ultra-strength steel in car bodies and an electric "fence" that will prevent cars from being stolen.
These are fruits of the work performed by its global research teams and state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, according to the carmaker.
Borgward now has three major research and development centers, which each have their own tasks while working in unison to achieve synergy.
According to the carmaker, the team in Beijing, which is the core of the three, is responsible for work related with chassis, car bodies and engines, as well as architecture and collision tests. The Beijing team also undertakes overall planning and management about research and development.
Staff based in Stuttgart primarily works on design and styling, ensuring Borgward's German design style and engineering quality. The team in the Silicon Valley, which was established earlier this month, is expected to play an important role in autonomous driving.
Borgward also owns a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Beijing, which Yang said "is built in accordance with similar standards as in Audi plants."
The plant is recognized by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology as an exemplar of Sino-German cooperation in intelligent manufacturing.
"We have a very flexible production line, which is capable of producing eight different models at the same time, including electric ones," Yang said.
He said Borgward models meet five global standards and are produced in accordance with the EU standards, which are the strictest in the world.
Borgward has also released a strategy called "Energy of Twins", which means it will work on both gasoline cars and electric models.
Its BXi7, which was unveiled at the same event, is also the country's first mass delivery four-wheel-drive electric SUV. The carmaker also debuted its latest gasoline car, the BX6.
The electric SUV has a mileage of 375 km and a top torque of 390 Nm. It has a top speed of 195 km/h and can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.9 seconds. The BX6 is equipped by a 2-liter turbocharged engine, which has a maximum output of 165 kW and a top torque of 300 Nm. It comes with a six-speed automatic/manual gearbox and consumes 7.1 liters of fuel per 100 km in comprehensive road conditions.
With their addition, Borgward now has a lineup of five models, with its BX7, BX7 TS and BX5 SUVs having been in the market for a while.
"We will focus on gasoline cars but actively explore the future of electric ones," Yang said. Borgward has demonstrated its navigation system, with an accuracy that come within a meter both horizontally and vertically.
Believed to be a milestone in its autonomous driving campaign, the system will start to appear in Borgward models starting in 2019, the carmaker said.