BMW bought Alpina outright. If you thought this had already happened, you’d be forgiven, as the German tuners lineup consists exclusively of BMW cars and the models are even assembled in BMW factories. Although the two companies have always had a close relationship, it is now official: Alpina joins Mini and Rolls-Royce in BMW’s portfolio of brands.
While neither company disclosed the financial details, they cited the rapidly changing automotive landscape as the impetus for the deal. “The automotive industry is in the midst of a major transformation towards sustainable mobility, which is why existing business models need to be regularly reviewed,” said Pieter Nota of BMW, who oversees Customer, Brands and Sales on the Board of Directors.
In a release, BMW cited the fact that strict emissions regulations and increasingly complex safety features, especially in the area of driver assistance, have made it increasingly difficult for specialist, small manufacturers – such as Alpina – to go it alone.
Alpina was originally a typewriter manufacturer, but in the 1960s they began modifying BMW cars with larger carburetors and more aggressive camshafts. That set the company on a path of increasingly ambitious offerings, from hand-built engines to more luxurious interiors. Today Alpina, like Ruf, is recognized by the German government as a manufacturer. Some models have engines built by Alpina and then shipped to BMW factories for fitting on BMW lines. After some assembly, these cars are then returned to Alpina for fine-tuning.
BMW and Alpina had their contracts extended at the end of 2020, and that contract will expire in 2025. If so, we will see the “termination of the current Alpina vehicle program,” BMW said in a statement. If that happens, BMW says it will help Alpina employees find work within the BMW Group or with suppliers. Parts, sales and after-sales service will continue at Alpina’s Buchloe site, just outside Munich.
BMW gave no indication of what it plans to do with the Alpina brand. In total, the company sold just 2,000 cars last year. While BMW’s M brand focuses on all-out performance and racing, Alpina focuses more on grand touring, opting on some models for engines with more low-end torque than high-end horsepower compared to their BMW M counterparts. , for instance .
“We have deliberately chosen not to sell Alpina to just any manufacturer, because BMW and Alpina have been working together and trust each other for decades,” says Andreas Bovensiepen, co-director of Alpina and descendant of founder Burkard Bovensiepen. “It is therefore strategically the right decision for the ALPINA brand to be managed by the BMW Group in the future.”