As fast as Fiat released its results for 2012 and plans for coming years, a rumor became that big that anyone could tell that Marchionne himself confirmed it during the conference call. Specialized press and a lot of Italians were saying that Lancia was finally dead. What really happened in that presentation regarding Lancia must be closely analized because the truth is that the brand will continue to exist with a different approach. Yes, in Europe’s plans for coming years, Lancia was the only brand to have one all-new model, while the other brands of the group were plenty of them. Even Maserati is expected to have more new cars in the next 3 years. Lancia plans to introduce one new model in 2013 and then in 2015. Nowadays its range is composed by one Italian made car, the Delta, one coming from Poland, the Ypsilon, and 3 Americans: Thema, Voyager and Flavia. In 2013 the Delta will die along with the Bravo, and its successor is expected to come from USA and will soon presented in Detroit as the Chrysler 100 (January 2013). Then, in this scenario Lancia will not produce anymore its cars in Italy, at least for the next 3 years. And that’s why so many people say the brand is dead. Lancia is 100% Italian but soon will not offer any 100% Italian product, so the ‘made in Italy’ feature will not be part of the brand anymore. Certainly is not what all Lancistas want as they still think of rallye times in which Lancia was more known for its victories in the race than for its sales registrations. Times have changed and European scenario has forced a lot of car makers to change also if they want to survive. That’s the case of Lancia as part of Fiat Group.
By the time Fiat bought the majority of Chrysler, Lancia and Alfa Romeo were struggling to survive with their battle against Germans and French. They still need a lot of effort to become profitable. Alfa Romeo has already big plans as it will be focused on American market, but Lancia is more local and has lost a big market share in the last decade. Those brands thinking local will disappear and Lancia is a high valuable brand to let that happen. It is why its future is merged to another great brand so they both can survive. Lancia’s future is Chrysler’s future, and they will both join their forces to create a unique company with two names and two markets. Some people would say that the original Lancia is dead. But personally I think Lancia has finally become global and important in terms of volume. It may not have the spirit it used to have 50 years ago, but its future does not depend anymore on Italian clients. It has found a big partner to develop its products and gain more market share in Europe. With Chrysler both brands will jointly create and develop new cars not only for America (as it happens now with the Lancia Thema, which is a 100% Chrysler) but thinking also of European requirements. Of course, an Italian brand with no products made in Italy is not the best thing, but in the globalized world, the origin of the products is not as important as it was before. For example, Lamborghini is an Italian brand owned by Germans, and I think it makes it more German than Italian. What really matters is the way the cars are created and of course Italians will continue to own the company and it means it will have at the end the Italian touch. Long life to Lancia.
The Lamborghini comparison is not really valid: while owned by VW, and having access to VW technology (similar to Fiat and Ferrari), Lamborghini designs and develops its own cars, in Italy, and produces them in its own factory, in Italy.
Lancias will be designed, developed and manufactured by Chrysler in US, Canada and Mexico, with just a Lancia badge applied at the end of the assembly line.
I would not say all Lancia will be entirely developed by Chrysler. Yes, they may be born in America but they will consider European needs for creating a global car that fits both, American and European markets. It will not be as they did with Chrysler 300/Lancia Thema. Coming products will develop taking into account both brands and their markets.
Yes, if we’re lucky, it’ll be a designed as a world car rather than one designed only for the US market. But still all of that will be done in North America; Lancia will be just a badge.
I agree. Now Lancia are Chrysler badge engineered, also the styling of small Y wich is not sold in North America, is clearly derived from Chrysler (horizontal front grille, front hood similar to that of old PT Cruiser).
Lancia is no more, welcome to Chrysler!
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Whether the Lancia-Chrysler merger will be successful is one giant wait-and-see. Thus far, the Chryslers rebadged as Lancias were not originally designed with Lancia in mind, and have hardly been successful in the marketplace – in fact, one may argue that they have even further tarnished the Lancia brand, as they do not represent what Lancia is and should be.
It remains to be seen whether new Chryslers designed with Lancia in mind from the start will fare better. Chrysler’s Ralph Gilles has briefly talked about the new Lancia design that will be introduced with the Chrysler 200, and said “Wait until you see the new [Chrysler] 200, your faith in Lancia will be restored”. Let’s hope he’s right.
But personally, I think that the most plausible scenario is that eventually the Lancia-Chrysler union will be dissolved, and that the decision to have Chrysler vehicles wear the Lancia badge will be reversed and the Chrysler brand name brought back.
In any case, only time will tell. To be honest, I care more about the fate of Alfa Romeo (especially because of the German threat to its survival), although I do appreciate Lancia as well and want it to thrive.
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That’s a sharp way of thinikng about it.