Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Borgward (November 10, 1890 in Hamburg Altona - July 28, 1963 in Bremen) was a German engineer and designer and the creator of the Borgward group, based in Bremen.
Carl Borgward was of modest extraction, the son of a coal retailer, Wilhelm Borgward, and had twelve brothers and sisters. He made mechanical engineering studies, and obtained his engineering diploma in 1913.
He was injured during World War I. In 1919 he became one of the partners of Bremer Reifenindustrie. The company was restructured and became in 1920 Bremer Kühlerfabrik Borgward & Co.
In 1924 and 1925 the company started to produce the small three-wheel trucks Blitzkarren and Goliath. With his partner Wilhelm Tecklenburg, in 1928 he created the company Goliath-Werke Borgward & Co. When the two associates took over Hansa-Lloyd-Werke in 1931, this became the Borgward Group.
On September 23, 1938, the Carl F. W. Borgward Automobil- und Motorenwerke factory is opened in Sebaldsbrück near Bremen. After Kristallnacht, Borgward joined the Nazi party. At that time, 22,000 people were working in the company. Till the end of the war the production of Borgward was mostly military vehicles and trucks.
When the factory was destroyed by bombing in 1944, half of the workers were prisoners of war and forced laborers. Carl Borgward was interned till 1948. Finally, just one year after beeing freed, he was already again member of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Bremen.
In 1949, the first Lloyd LP 300 had been designed and produced. In Germany this car was nicknamed the Leukoplastbomber (Band-aid Bomber). The small car with a plywood body on a wooden chassis had a two-stroke engine and was in the market segment under the Volkswagen Beetle, and kept this position for more than a decade.
In 1949 Borgward had also presented the large Hansa sedan, which was the first European car with a pontoon body. He had taken ideas from American magazines, which he read when under detention.
The largest success came in 1954 with the Borgward Isabella. The Borgwards met the spirit of the time, the German customers wished for American type styling and rich chrome decoration with European compact dimensions. Borgward participated in detail in the design of all the car models.
Increased competition on the segment of mid-sized cars, and the too broad and uneconomical range of models, as well as wrong financial and tactical choices by the management led the company into crisis at the end of fifties. The new model Borgward Arabella should have eased the difficulties, but it was handicapped by quality problems.
In 1961, Borgward was one of the most spectacular bankrupties of the history of Germany. The company went to the Land of Bremen, which had it liquidated, and part of the factory went to Hanomag.
Carl Borgward died of an infarctus at the age 72 on July 28, 1963.