Automotive News [sub] reports that the promotion of Lancia CEO Olivier Francois to Chrysler brand boss heralds a closer alignment of the two brands in the European market. According to AN’s Fiat source, Chrysler and Lancia will share products and distribution going forward, not mention a luxury mandate that has yet to convince the wider market. The association might lend a certain amount of panache to the Chrysler brand, which its former CEO Peter Fong has said should aspire to “a notch above Cadillac.” If nothing else, Chrysler will probably get a version of the next Lancia Ypsilon city car. And Lancia? A new Thesis flagship based on Chrysler’s LX platform, and “a car derived from the Sebring’s successor,” according to AN. In other words, a Fiat. Nothing about these product-sharing plans sound particularly exciting, considering they hardly get Chrysler and Lancia away from their traditions of peddling upscale versions of pedestrian grocery-getters. But Messr. Francois has kept Lancia from going the way of Oldsmobile through his Gallic brand of sultry marketing, like the Carla Bruni spot above (by the way, is that a Chrysler limo?). The hope is that the Francois panache can similarly rescue Chrysler’s efforts, but that’s a tall order for a brand with basically no competitive product. Meanwhile, does Europe need another brand of luxe Fiats?