Brand building and limited supply make launching the brand a tightrope
With a small population and lots of carmakers – 50, to be precise – Australia is a tough place to launch a new car brand, even when that brand is a German icon with more than five decades of experience.
Since officially launching locally two years ago, the team behind Alpina has sought to spread the word without creating an un-fulfillable rush.
Speaking with media at an event in Melbourne, Phil Jeffery, Alpina Australia sales manager, says establishing the brand locally is a balancing act.
"We're talking about a product that is incredibly bespoke," Jeffery said, sitting at a table with Andreas Bovensiepen, Alpina CEO, and Thomas Cormu, product manager.
There are no orders for the just-launched B5 at the moment, priced from $210,000 before on-road costs. That places it between the 'regular' BMW M5 and the recently-launched M5 Competition Package, although those cars are a distinctly different proposition to the loping B5 pictured below.
"The production numbers are limited, they're limited for a reason. We certainly have no illusions that we're going to knock the doors down, but we're going to do very well," Jeffery continued, adding every dealer that carries Alpina is actually selling cars.
"We are, and have been since day one, trying to build the brand awareness, and that is a big campaign for us" Jeffery later added, when prodded on how the company plans to grow locally.
"You've got to remember again, we've got such small supply, we don't want to be in a situation where we all of a sudden have this backlash of then customers we can't deliver and can't supply to."
"It's a real happy balance. We need to grow the brand and we need to secure more clientele, but we can't get out there and just give it everything in one go, because then all of a sudden we'll be in a situation where we can't supply," he added.
Owners who take the plunge on an Alpina can expect to wait between four and five months for their car to arrive. Along with transport time, the brand's more bespoke nature means patience is required.