Director magazines 1996 article by Matthew Carer, covers the history of BMW and the strengths of their management strategy.
This quote from the article covers the period where key staff joined BMW from Borgward, it highlights just how close to the wall BMW were and how much the Borgward engineers helped the ailing marque. Given the controversial efforts to save BMW and allow Borgward to close (given the relative strengths of each at the time) within a couple of years of each other, it does seem to support some of the conspiracy theories around the demise of Borgward!
The key date in the company’s history is December 9, 1959, the date of the shareholders’ 39th annual meeting. BMW was on the verge of bankruptcy. Within 24 hours it was expected that Mercedes-Benz would take over the ailing firm.
But it didn’t happen. Shareholders vetoed the suggestion and within two months, virtually all members of the supervisory board had resigned. The major shareholder and the man behind the coup was Herbert Quandt, whose family still controls 48 per cent of BMW stock. Under his tenure, BMW started again. Top designers from the by-now defunct Borgward concern created the BMW 1500, a straightforward, even conservative model, and one that provided the perfect building block for the future. Under the long-serving chairman Eberhard von Kuenheim, BMW began its slow climb to success. It was the “02” models that really put BMW on the map, winning on the race track and in the sales chart; the 1602 and 2002 were particularly popular in the US.