BMW has acquired tuning outfit Alpina, 60 years after the Buchloe-based brand produced its first uprated component for a production BMW model.
The two firms have been closely linked since 1964, when BMW started applying factory warranties to cars equipped with Alpina components, but Alpina has remained an independent entity until now.
BMW's acquisition of the company gives it the rights to Alpina's branding and is said to bring "even greater diversity to its own luxury car range", suggesting Alpina's models could eventually sit alongside their BMW counterparts in showrooms.
The two firms already have an official cooperation agreement in place, but this will expire on 31 December 2025.
Until then, Alpina will continue to operate largely as it does now, acquiring base-model BMW cars from the factory and modifying them mechanically and cosmetically at its workshops in Buchloe.
The acquisition – still subject to "various suspensive conditions" – is also said to "secure the long-term future of Alpina", because it will not need to make unfeasible investment in order to keep pace with BMW's technological and mechanical upgrades in the coming years.
No financial terms of the deal have been disclosed, but BMW has confirmed it will not take any shares in Alpina. BMW acknowledges that the discontinuation of Alpina's stand-alone operations "will have implications for existing jobs at the Buchloe site" and has pledged to find affected employees another role within the BMW Group – or at a supplier or development partner firm – before the end of 2025.
There are currently around 300 people working at the Buchloe site.
BMW sales boss Pieter Nota said: "The automotive industry is in the midst of a far-reaching transformation towards sustainable mobility. For that reason, existing business models need to be re-examined on a regular basis. For over 50 years, the Buchloe firm has demonstrated how to deliver top-quality car 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 we are now embarking on a new chapter in our long-standing partnership. Acquiring the trademark rights will allow us to shape the long-term course of this brand steeped in tradition."
Alpina models have traditionally sat halfway between standard BMW cars and their full-fat M performance counterparts, in terms of power and pace. Last year, it recorded its strongest sales figures on record, producing 2000 cars for customers in Europe, Japan, the US and the Middle East.