Borgward BX5 Spotted On The Road In Malaysia

Did anyone actually remember that this SUV is actually on sale in Malaysia?

A red Borgward BX5 SUV has just been spotted on the road in Malaysia. Just to clarify, no this is not a scoop some spy shot on the latest Borgward model to be launched, but instead a story more on actually seeing one of these Chinese-German SUVs on the road in Malaysia. 

Apparently, these Borgwards have actually been on sale in Malaysia since late last year. However, judging by my surprise in seeing this on the road near my neighbourhood, it probably serves as a sign that they haven’t sold many of these car, and this’ll possibly be the closest most people get to seeing one of these in the wild. 

Just a bit of background regarding Borgward and its sole Malaysian offering, the BX5 SUV, for those who are still in the dark about this automaker with quite an interesting history. 

Carl F.W Borgward founded the company that is named after him way back in 1919, and within a short time Borgward grew to be the third largest automaker in Germany and the largest automobile exporter of the nation. Those who have a penchant for classic cars may have heard of the Borgward Isabella, Borgward’s best selling model. 

Sadly however, the company closed its doors in 1961 after running into financial trouble and being unable to keep up with the big industry players of the day like Opel and VW. Even if the automaker was considered a pioneer in the field, introducing cars with air suspension and automatic transmissions, Borgward was just unable to financially sustain itself in the business. 

In actual fact, the Borgward of today is actually a revived version of its former self with heavy financial backing from Chinese truck manufacturer Foton, a subsidiary of the Chinese BAIC automotive conglomerate. 

Arriving in Malaysia in late 2019, only one Borgward model was brought in and that was the BX5 SUV you see here. 

On the face, the Borgward on the face of it seems like a pretty competent SUV. About the same size as the Proton X70, the exterior styling is a perfect blend of distinct yet discreet. A point hammered home by the fact I only noticed it was something unique on the road after doing a double take.

The interior and specs of the BX5 too seem up to par with the rest of its established competition. Sharp looking LED DRLs are standard on the outside, while an 8 inch touchscreen central infotainment and an 8 speaker sound system are standard equipment on the inside. The usual passive safety features like are also available on the Borgward. 

Two engine choices are available corresponding to the two variants of BX5 sold locally A 1.4 TGDI that outputs 148 hp and 250 Nm of torque is found on the cheaper variants, and can be had with both a six speed automatic and a manual(!) transmission with the same number of forward ratios output.

More expensive BX5s come with a 2.0 litre TGDI that produces 221 hp and 300 Nm. The only gearbox option available is the automatic, but four wheel drive is available as an option with this powertrain combination. 

Prices of this Chinese-German SUV begins at RM 119,000 for the base-spec 1.4 and goes all the way to RM 138,000 for the top-spec variant with all the bells and whistles. And it is this point here that is perhaps the biggest reason as to why the Borgward is such a rare sight on Malaysian roads.

Just to clarify, the price in itself is not the issue. This is perhaps a reasonable price for an imported mid-sized SUV, considering that the competition (save for the Proton X70) is also around this ballpark figure. The bigger problem here is that at this price, no sensible person would possibly choose this unknown brand and model over its established rivals. 

Ask yourself this, for around this price wouldn’t you instead go for a Honda, Toyota, Mazda, Nissan, Hyundai, Kia or even Peugeot? 

That there lies the crux of the issue with launching relatively unknown cars in Malaysia. No one actually will be willing to put their own money down, regardless of how nice it is. Even selling it at a bargain basement price like Haval still struggles to get customers into the showrooms

A good example of this is brands like DS who are still struggling to find a foothold in the market even though the make some really good cars. The Borgward here is no different. Which underlines a sad fact about the Malaysian car buying market. 

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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