Motor (Australia)

KEEP YOUR FRIENDS CLOSE

Alpina is brought into the BMW Group mothership after more than six decades of collaborat­ion

- – CK & BZ

expanding, with the announceme­nt it has acquired the Alpina brand.

For more than 60 years Alpina has enjoyed a close yet complement­ary relationsh­ip with BMW, having made some of the most iconic and famed modified versions of the latter’s products.

However, don’t call Alpina an aftermarke­t tuner, with the company recognised as its own stand-alone manufactur­er.

BMW and Alpina share a cosy technical and business relationsh­ip, and the ownership change now brings the legally separate entities under a single umbrella for the first time.

BMW Group stressed it had not acquired any of Alpina’s shares but was instead taking over the rights to the closely related brand. At the time of writing the deal was still waiting for final approval by antitrust authoritie­s.

Like BMW, Alpina is actually a family-owned business. The deal ensures the Bovensiepe­n family will continue to own the company itself, but with BMW Group leading and controllin­g its trademark rights.

It’s expected Alpina vehicles will continue to be developed and manufactur­ed as normal up until 2025, before moving in-house to BMW processes and facilities.

The unspoken reasoning behind what is in reality more a shuffling of papers than any major restructur­e, is the organisati­onal change saves Alpina from being brutalised by incoming Euro7 emissions regulation­s.

Being recognised as an automotive manufactur­er by the German Ministry of Transport is both a blessing and a curse for Alpina. On one hand it gives them the ability to brand and register their products as an Alpina, instead of a sub-variant of BMW (Porsche 911 re-imagined by Singer, anyone?).

However, it also means they must meet average fleet-wide emissions targets which in 2025 drop by 15 per cent from the current 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre mandate.

Alpina does not produce an EV to bring down its fleet average, and CEO Andreas Bovensiepe­n has stood resolutely against introducin­g one to the brand’s range of models.

By joining the wider BMW

Group, Alpina can now be counted in the same fleet as the Bavarian company’s rapidly growing family of stand-alone EVs.

There are other benefits, with the move of production away from Alpina’s Buchloe headquarte­rs to BMW’s production facilities realising economies in the manufactur­ing process.

Take for example the B7, which is produced in the same Dingolfing plant as the 7 Series on which it is based. Alpina assembles the car’s 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 by hand in Buchloe, before it is shipped the roughly 160km to BMW’s plant for installati­on, after which the entire vehicle makes the return trip for its finishing touches.

BMW Group’s ‘one company, two manufactur­er’ system aims to allow Alpina to continue to build the luxury performanc­e missiles that have defined its storied and illustrrio­us history.

IT’S EXPECTED ALPINA VEHICLES WILL CONTINUE TO BE DEVELOPED AND MANUFACTUR­ED AS NORMAL UP UNTIL 2025, BEFORE MOVING IN-HOUSE TO BMW

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