News - Alpina
Alpina grows slowly in Australia
Brand awareness to grow through campaign managed by Alpina’s dealer network
17 May 2018
ALPINA Automobiles Australia executives say they are working hard to build brand awareness over the coming years, but rapid sales growth is unlikely thanks in part to small global production numbers.
The local arm of the high-performance BMW manufacturer launched Down Under in 2016 through The In Motion Group before being bought out by dealership group, Autosports Group Ltd, in April 2017.
While Alpina executives declined to discuss Australian sales targets for any of its models, Alpina CEO and son of the company’s founder, Andreas Bovensiepen, told journalists at last year’s Frankfurt motor show that he was initially hoping for about 20-25 cars per year before ramping up to 30-40 annual sales.
Speaking to journalists at this week’s B5 Bi-turbo launch in Melbourne, Alpina Automobiles Australia sales manager Phil Jeffery said the company was in the process of building brand awareness in Australia through its dealer network.
“That’s what we are going through right now and have been since day one – trying to build the brand awareness and that is a big campaign for us,” he said. “It is done purely through our dealer network and how they want to promote those opportunities within. Certainly the databases of each dealer network is the big one for us, that is the key driver.
“We have had some incredible (press) through Evo Australia magazine, which has generated a number of interests. We run website campaigns, we have a dedicated website, we have car configurators. It is a very low-key approach to a big market.”
Mr Jeffery said the challenge was to grow the brand in Australia while factoring in the relatively small production numbers globally.
“You’ve got to remember, we have got such small supply. We don’t want to be in a situation where, all of a sudden we have this backlash of customers we can’t deliver and can’t supply to. So it is a really happy balance. We need to grow the brand and we need to secure more clientele, but we can’t just go out there and give it everything in one go, because we will be in a situation where we can’t supply.”
Alpina sticks to a production run of about 1500-1700 vehicles a year and its biggest markets are Germany, the United States and Japan.
In Australia, Alpina is represented by five dealerships in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.
Mr Jeffery said while Alpina models are based on BMWs and the two brands share showroom space, buyers tend to favour one brand over the other, depending on their preferences.
“We look at the Alpina product as a complementary brand to that of BMW. A customer walking into a showroom is walking into a BMW showroom and we happen to be able to offer them an exceptional brand known as Alpina. Certainly we would expect that a genuine M buyer wouldn’t buy an Alpina. And a genuine Alpina buyer most likely wouldn’t buy an M car. They are very different products.
“The majority of the customers that we are seeing that are converting to Alpina product at the moment are people coming out of top-end BMWs that have had, not just a BMW brand, but many other exclusive premium brands across their journey, and quite high-performance brands.
“And they would consider a high-performance car without the aggression or the complications that an M brand will bring to it. So that edgy, everyday feel. They are after super, super luxury but with real performance stature. And that is the client that is lapping up Alpina, which is pretty much the Alpina brief.”
Mr Jeffery said some buyers have conducted test drives with an Alpina model and the equivalent BMW M model, for example an Alpina B3 against a BMW M3.
“We have customers that have driven both cars back to back, no doubt. And the Alpina has won out with the clients that are looking for that high-performance, soft, everyday drive, and the M has won out for those clients looking for a high-performance, edgy, emotional car with racing seats and more racing tech throughout it.”
When asked what Alpina’s direct rivals were, Mr Bovensiepen said the brand competes with a number of high-end manufacturers, depending on the model and market.
“It depends on the models,” he said. “Our main competitor is AMG, especially in America with S-Class and CLS. But in Europe, if you look at touring segment, with B3 Touring, B5 Touring, now it is very clearly Audi RS models.
“And of course we have customers who are looking for exclusivity and they are maybe looking at a B6 instead of an Aston Martin or Bentley. These customers have Ferraris and Maseratis and have an Alpina in their portfolio as well. Often customers are looking for exclusive cars which you cannot find on every corner.
“Recently I spoke to a Porsche owner and he said ‘Oh no Porsche is on every corner so I have to think about Alpina, because Porsche is everywhere’.”
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