BMW: Alpina joins Munich portfolio

The automotive group, based in Munich, buys the Alpina label, an almost official preparer with which it has a historic partnership. Between the existence of the Motorsport department, the forthcoming transition to the Euro 7 standard and the challenges of electrification, will we see what this takeover will lead to by 2025?

For car enthusiasts from the start, and more particularly those of the brand with the propeller, Alpina is no longer presented. A renowned tuner, this group, founded in 1965 in Buchloe (Bavaria) by the Bovensiepen family, is to BMW what AMG is to Mercedes: an official tuner! As a result, and following the example of the brand with the star in 1999, the Munich automobile firm ended up buying Alpina after decades of close collaboration, but also several months of negotiations.

Indeed, and since the end of 2020, the day after the extension until 2025 of the agreement which linked it to BMW, the company Alpina Burkard Bovensiepen GmbH was in talks with the firm with the propeller. The purpose of this cooperation is always the same: to authorize Alpina, which has full manufacturer status, to produce cars based on BMW models.

The discussions recently led to the pure and simple takeover of Alpina, which thus adds to the other brands of the Bavarian group, namely Mini, Rolls-Royce and Motorrad. At BMW Group, we welcome this great acquisition. For Pieter Nota, member of the board of directors and responsible for customers, brands and sales within the group: “Alpina has been a prestigious brand for more than 50 years”.

And to add: “We are delighted to welcome the Alpina brand to the BMW family.” The same goes for Alpina, as Andreas Bovensiepen, son of founder Gurkard Bovensiepen and co-director of the brand (with his brother Florian), pointed out: “We have chosen not to sell Alpina to any which manufacturer, because BMW and Alpina have worked together and trusted each other for decades. It is therefore the right strategic decision to entrust the management of the Alpina brand to the BMW Group in the future.” For Alpina, the time is even rather for relief.

And for good reason, the company was faced with several challenges and deadlines. Among them, the forthcoming entry into force of the Euro 7 standard poses a problem in the sense that the company does not have the resources of a major manufacturer (such as BMW) to develop its engines in terms of pollution control to comply with Euro 7 and win the approval sesame for its models.

Moreover, 2025 is a deadline by which a major part of the global automotive industry will have passed the milestone of massive electrification of ranges. Hence the words of Andreas Bovensiepen who confessed: “We have long recognized the challenges facing the automotive industry, and we are now doing what is necessary to prepare Alpina and our family business for them.”

In the same vein, Peter Nota underlined that “The automotive industry is undergoing a transformation towards sustainable mobility. For this reason, existing business models need to be reviewed regularly. For more than fifty years, Buchloe has demonstrated how to deliver superior automotive cachet through meticulous attention to detail.

The BMW Group is also driven by this same passion for cars that capture the imagination. That is why today we are starting a new chapter in our long-standing partnership.” For 57 years, Alpina has been producing small series of BMW models, prepared by its engineers and pre-assembled on the Munich manufacturer’s production lines, before being sent to the Buchloe plant (70 km west of Munich), where their mechanical components, chassis and other aspects of presentation are reviewed in depth and with great attention to detail.

Beyond Euro 7, electrification, human resources management and other challenges to overcome by the deadline mentioned (2025), there will however remain the major question of the duplication that Alpina could represent in the face of the (heavy) Motorsport department. Similarity of the mission, cannibalization, absorption of one by the other… so many risks that exist and around which big questions arise.

Jalil Bennani / ECO AUTOMOTIVE Inspirations

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