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Friday, July 10, 2015

How Jaguar Almost Bought A Crucial BMW Tuner


Jaguar F-Type Alpina

Burkard Bovensiepen is a man with a singular focus, and that focus is BMW. Bovensiepen is the founder of Alpina, and the company is currently celebrating 50 years in business. As such, Alpina has been throwing parties to help celebrate the anniversary. It also has released a new book detailing the company’s often unique past. One interesting anecdote was how Jaguar attempted to woo Bovensiepen to develop their own line of performance cars.
In 1999, Wolfgang Reitzle, BMWs number two, left the company and went to work for Ford as the head of the brand’s new Premier Automotive Group. There, he oversaw the development and production of Ford’s more high-end brands such as Volvo, Jaguar, and Land Rover. When Reitzle took over, these three companies were at their respective lowest levels of market share. Ford needed someone to come in and turn these companies around to make them profitable once again. Reitzle seemed like the man for the job, and he had a plan.

Alpina B4

After taking the job at Ford, the executive reached out to Alpina and Bovensiepen. He arranged a meeting where he offered Alpina’s founder 200 million Deutschmarks (over $400 million dollars at the time) to buy the company and turn it into a Jaguar-based, in-house tuner. The company would stay in the same business of tuning, much like Alpina was to BMW and AMG is for Mercedes-Benz.


However, Bovensiepen declined the generous offer. It was a smart move, since Reitzle only lasted for a grand total of two years at Ford. Who knows what would have happened to Alpina if Bovensiepen had agreed to the deal.

 That said, it has us wondering what Alpina could have done for the Jaguars coming out in that time period. Imagine an Alpina XK coupe, or an Alpina XJ sedan. They could have been great. Though, this was also the time of the Jaguar X-Type, which was just a modified Ford Mondeo. Maybe we shouldn’t wonder.