Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Borgward

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Carl FW Borgward (l) and Hubert M. Meingast , 1950
Monument to Carl FW Borgward on Mercedesstrasse in Bremen-Sebaldsbrück

Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Borgward (born November 10, 1890 in Altona / Elbe , † July 28, 1963 in Bremen ) was a German engineer and entrepreneur . The automobile company created by Carl F. W. Borgward was Bremen's largest employer in the 1950s. The company with the brands Borgward , Hansa , Goliath and Lloyd went 1961 in the bankruptcy .


education and profession

The son of a coal merchant came from a humble background and had twelve siblings. After his apprenticeship as a locksmith, he studied mechanical engineering at the technical center in Hamburg. He then got a job at Louis Eilers Stahlbau in Hanover and attended lectures at the city's Royal Technical University . In 1914 he became a soldier, but only had to serve a short time because of an injury.

First company investment in 1919

In 1919 he joined the company Bremer Reifenindustrie GmbH as a partner . Co-owner Ernst Baerold left in 1921, and the company with 60 employees was now called Bremer Kühlerfabrik Borgward & Co. The company's headquarters were at Steinstrasse 28 in Bremen- Neustadt . In 1924 Borgward developed the delivery tricycle Blitzkarren , which was offered for 980 Reichsmarks ; It was a great success, as was the successor model Goliath Rapid and its larger version, Goliath Standard , from 1925 , which remained in the range until 1933. After the Bremen businessman Wilhelm Tecklenborg (1882–1948) joined Borgward's company as a partner, it was renamed Fahrzeugwerke Borgward & Co. GmbH in the mid-1920s and moved to a new building on Industriestrasse in Bremen-Neustadt. At the end of the 1920s, every fourth commercial vehicle in the German Empire was a Goliath small delivery van. In 1928 Borgward and Tecklenborg bought the Bremer Karosseriefabrik vorm, which was in financial difficulties . Louis Gärtner AG in Föhrenstrasse in Bremen- Hastedt and relocated their company, renamed Goliath-Werke Borgward & Co. GmbH , there.

Between 1929 and 1931 Borgward and Tecklenborg acquired the majority of shares in Hansa-Lloyd-Werke AG , which were located opposite their small factory in Bremen-Hastedt. After the complete takeover of Hansa-Lloyd AG, the Hansa-Lloyd- und Goliath-Werke Borgward & Tecklenborg oHG emerged together with Goliath-Werke GmbH, which brought the three-wheeled small car Goliath Pioneer onto the market in 1931 . Other vehicles in the middle and upper class followed (Hansa 1100, 1700, 2300).

Sole entrepreneur from 1937

Borgward wanted to expand further and in 1936 bought a 223,000 m² plot of land in Bremen-Sebaldsbrück , on which several halls totaling over 7600 m² were to be built. The banks were concerned to finance, and merchant Tecklenborg as personally liable OHG -Gesellschafter feared for his fortune. Against this background, the company was converted into a joint stock company, Hansa-Lloyd-Goliath Werke AG, in the same year with the additional participation of the Bremen merchants Alfred Nehring (Borgwards brother-in-law), consul Ernst Heinemann (Borgwards neighbor) and Dietrich Graue . Borgward wanted sole leadership over the company and therefore dissolved the AG in 1937. He separated from his partners and Tecklenborg left the company with a severance payment of 4 million Reichsmarks .

Borgward was a member of the NSDAP from 1938 and, as the owner of an important vehicle construction company, was also appointed military economic leader. The Hansa-Lloyd-Goliath works Carl FW Borgward were renamed again. After its sole owner, the car factory was only called Carl FW Borgward . In September 1938 the new plant in Bremen-Sebaldsbrück was opened, which was supposed to be used for the production of cars, but already before the beginning of the war, as did the main plant in Bremen-Hastedt and the production facilities in Nadah (engine construction in the Ottersberg external plant) that were outsourced in 1943/44 and Delmenhorst (gearboxes and axles) for the production of Wehrmacht vehicles . When the two Borgward factories in Hastedt and Sebaldsbrück were destroyed in the heavy air raid on Bremen on October 12, 1944, well over half of the employees there were prisoners of war and forced laborers or “ Eastern workers ”.

New beginning in 1948

Because of his position as military economic leader in the Nazi war economy, he was interned for nine months by the American occupying forces in the Ludwigsburg camp. Back in Bremen he was not allowed to enter his works until the verdict of the Spruchkammer ; his fortune was under supervision and he was only allowed to accept simple jobs (he was a construction worker for a while). The denazification lasted until the end of 1948 , which ended with the classification as a “fellow traveler”.

In order to get more raw material allocations, Borgward founded three individual companies in 1949:

The group of companies, to which a truck factory in Osterholz-Scharmbeck , the Leichtmetallwerke Uphusen and various sales and finance companies were later added, was incorporated into a holding company in 1954 as an individual company Dr. Carl FW Borgward together in order to be able to offset profits and losses.

In March 1949, Borgward presented its new design, the Hansa 1500 , at the Geneva Motor Show . A year later he presented the Lloyd LP 300 small car . This bestseller was soon popularly known as the “leukoplast bomber”. The Lloyd small car with a two-stroke engine and synthetic leather-covered plywood body on a central tubular frame was for a long time the leader in the market segment below the VW Beetle and was in third place in the registration statistics in 1955, behind the VW Beetle and the Opel Olympia Rekord ; the further developed versions of the model series ( Lloyd Alexander ) held their own on the market until the end of the 1950s.

For his work Borg Ward in 1950 from the Technical University of Hanover with the honorary degree Dr.-Ing. Excellent anyway .

His greatest success was the Borgward Isabella (60 hp, 135 km / h) presented in 1954 . His design hit the zeitgeist, which wanted American-elegant lines and rich chrome jewelry with European-compact dimensions. Carl FW Borgward also determined the design of the Isabella down to the last detail.

In 1955 Borgward was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit. On the occasion of his 70th birthday five years later, he received the large Federal Cross of Merit with a star.

Entrepreneurial end of 1961

The sole owner Borgward always lacked interest in financial matters; his companies had a chronically tight capital base and were largely financed by bill of exchange and supplier credits. In addition, he did little to counteract the competitive thinking within his group of companies: each of his companies made their own purchase, and the independently operating development and testing departments created an uneconomical variety of model series, some of which were not accepted by the market, and Borgward's companies into a self-inflicted competitive situation led.

His preference for prestigious and elaborate products that ultimately only caused costs, such as the DM 4.3 million development of two helicopter prototypes ( Borgward Kolibri ) and the high-end Borgward P 100 with air suspension ("Großer Borgward") for DM 30 million, led to the crisis in 1960: The development of the new compact model Lloyd Arabella presented in 1959 and the construction of new production facilities at Lloyd-Motoren-Werke had cost a further DM 27 million. The calculation of the small car, which was supposed to bring new income to the Borgward Group, turned out to be flawed: the targeted number of 200 cars per day was only achieved for a short time, and since the market no longer accepted the subsequently increased price, every one brought in from mid-1960 "Arabella" sold the manufacturer Lloyd a loss of almost DM 600, which by the end of 1960 added up to a sum of over DM 17 million.

The initial quality deficiencies ruined Borgwards reputation for a long time and in the course of 1960 caused sales in the Federal Republic to decline further. In addition, there was a rapid decline in car exports, especially to the USA: all three plants were able to sell a total of over 13,000 fewer cars (see also: Borgward bankruptcy ). The sales figures for the successful Isabella model , which had been in production since 1954, had already peaked at the end of the 1950s; a successor was in the planning stage, but no longer came into play. Only Borgward's truck production still brought profits.

For the motor vehicle business, which had stagnated in the winter anyway, the Borgward Group applied to the banks for a loan of DM 50 million secured with land charges in October 1960, which was topped up by a further DM 20 million in December. Of this, Lloyd-Motoren-Werke received the largest part with over 45 million DM, followed by Borgward GmbH with 21 million DM. The financial problems had meanwhile come to the public and were probably caused by the cover story "Der Bastler" in December Issue 51 of December 14, 1960) of the news magazine Der Spiegel shaken, the Bremen Senate withdrew the necessary declaration of guarantee for a further DM 10 million loan from the Bremer Landesbank for Borgward in January 1961. Borgward was faced with the choice of either filing bankruptcy for its corporate network or transferring its companies to the state of Bremen. Borgward opted for the latter. The public discussion about his companies led to a further decline in sales, so that many unsold cars remained on the factory premises. The hapless and amateurishly approached sales and restructuring measures by the Munich auditor Johannes Semler , who was commissioned by the Bremen Senate and who was chairman of the supervisory board of competitor BMW from 1960 , ended in the fall of 1961 with the bankruptcy of the Borgward Group. The almost 18,000 jobs in Bremen at Borgwards plants were finally lost, and the individual parts of the former group were gradually sold.

A group of investors bought the machines and the rights of the Borgward works in 1964 and built the Borgward P 100 in Mexico from 1967 to 1970 . The former factories in Bremen-Sebaldsbrück now belong to Atlas Elektronik and Daimler AG .



Borgward was married twice. After the divorce from his first wife Alwine Bauersfeld, he married Elisabeth Rühl (1909–2000) in 1935, who stayed by his side until the end of his life. In June 1952 he bought the country estate in Horn, which was built in 1750, and had it rebuilt according to his ideas. The estate has become known as the Borgward Villa . His family lived here until 2000. The eldest son Kurt (1913–2008) came from the first marriage, the sons Peter CF (1937–1989) and Claus (1938–1999) and the daughter Monica (* 1941) from the second ).

He died of a weak heart. His grave is in the Osterholz cemetery .


  • Works newspaper: The Rhombus . Borgward, Bremen 1 / 1952-10 / 1961


  • Birgid Hanke : Carl FW Borgward - entrepreneur and car designer . Delius-Klasing, Bielefeld 2010, ISBN 978-3-7688-3145-1 .
  • The hobbyist . In: Der Spiegel . No. 51 , 1960 ( online ).
  • Engelbert Hartwig: Did Isabella Have to Die? The tragedy of the Borgward group . Verlag Peter Kurz, Bremen 2003, ISBN 3-927485-29-2 .
  • Ulrich Kubisch (Ed.): Borgward - a look back at the economic miracle, everyday work and a car myth . Elefanten-Press, Berlin 1984, ISBN 3-88520-121-6 .
  • Peter Kurz: Carl FW Borgward Automobilwerke - Economic miracle on a large scale . Verlag Peter Kurz, Bremen 2003, ISBN 978-3-927485-23-5
  • Peter Kurz, Harro Neumann: 100 Years of Automobile Manufacturing in Bremen - The Hansa-Lloyd and Borgward Era 1906 to 1961 . Verlag Peter Kurz, Bremen 2007, ISBN 978-3-927485-51-8 .
  • Georg Schmidt: Kaisen and Borgward: how two Hamburgers became famous people from Bremen . Döll-Verlag , Bremen 1997, ISBN 3-88808-233-1 .
  • Heinrich Völker: Racing sports car from Borgward Werke - Silver Arrows from Bremen . Verlag Peter Kurz, Bremen 2005, ISBN 3-927485-43-8 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. According to today's value, this corresponds to 17,328,000 euros. This figure was based on the template: Inflation determined, has been rounded to a full 1000 euros and relates to last January.
  2. ^ Ernst Klee: The dictionary of persons on the Third Reich. Who was what before and after 1945 . Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, Second updated edition, Frankfurt am Main 2005, p. 65.
  3. Carl Borgward company - Ottersberg external works on
  5. One of the most important automobile manufacturers , Der Spiegel 52/1963