By on January 20, 2010

Are you ready for the Chry-Delts?

“In Europe, Lancia is an undersized, underdeveloped brand, with nothing bigger than the Delta. Chrysler, which has a true global reach, has nothing smaller. Put them together and you have a full line-up,” is the short version of Sergio Marchionne’s plans for the Chrysler and Lancia brands. The surprising bit [via Autocar]: “we could see the two converge as early as the end of the year.” For Americans this means that some of the holes in Chrysler’s lineup could be plugged up by rebadged Lancias along the lines of the Delta shown at the Chrysler stand at the Detroit Auto Show. And hey, who are we to say no to all-new Chrysler products? Goodness knows the brand needs something new besides special edition lipstick on the same old pigs. There’s only one hitch…

Rebadged imports are almost always colossal sales flops. Starting with the Saturn Astra and working backwards, it’s almost impossible to find a rebadged import that sold well in the states. And on even cursory inspection, Lancia doesn’t seem to be the brand to break the trend. Hell, Lancias don’t even sell particularly well in Europe.

But there’s a bigger problem too, one that’s played hell with many an import rebadge scheme in the past: price point. If Chrysler is going to start offering models like the Detroit Auto Show Delta in the US by the end of this year, it will be flying into the teeth of same tough economics that made the Astra such a resounding flop.

As this German Lancia price list shows [apologies for the lack of an English version... blame the Brits for voting Lancia off the island back in 1994], the options aren’t great. The only version of the Delta made with an automatic transmission (sadly a must for the US market) is the 1.8 Di T-Jet 16v, which starts at €27,900 or a whopping $39,428 at current exchange rates. Want the Platino top trim level? $42,678 per favore. For a 200hp hatchback. Before shipping it across the Atlantic (US production of Fiat-based Chryslers is a ways off, according to Automotive News [sub].

Granted, the 200hp Volkswagen GTI retails for almost the exact same price in Germany, but sells for $24,000 in the US. Even at that price though, the Delta will face an uphill battle in the US, as it lacks the decades of brand equity the GTI has accumulated in this market. We don’t expect the Chryslerfied Delta to retail at the astronomical prices, but considering that the Delta doesn’t crack the German market’s top 25 best-selling models (which includes such luxe models as the Audi A5 and Merc GLK) we also don’t expect it to sell well in the US even at half what it commands in Europe.

Incidentally, were you aware that Fiat canceled the planned 2009 re-launch of Lancia in the British market ? According to What Car? Fiat’s reason was that “given the current global economic crisis, Fiat Auto has taken the decision to delay the reintroduction of the Lancia brand in right-hand-drive markets beyond 2009.” If Lancia isn’t going to work in the UK, why would it work in America rebadged as the weakest brand in the market? Short answer: it won’t.

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62 Comments on “Lancia-Chrysler Rebadging Imminent, Stand By For Sticker Shock...”


  • avatar
    Steven02

    European pricing never translates to US pricing.  US pricing is always far less expensive.  Not that I am saying this will be successful, but you can never compare European and US pricing on cars.

  • avatar
    educatordan

    The price isn’t as important IF the cars have gorgeous interiors, fit and finish that match the best in class, and reliability that matches the Japanese and Korean competition.  I am willing to give the new Chrysler a chance after sitting back for a few years to see how the build quality/price/dealership experience shakes up.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      If enough people sit back a few to see how it works out, the new Chrysler will fail.

      Chrysler needs some buzz now, a hit soon, and a bit of volume now soon please, if there is to be a chance.

    • 0 avatar
      Dave Skinner

      While I haven’t sat in one, I’ve read from several sources that the Chrysler Pacific had world class interiors along with quality fit and finish. Reliability is a separate discussion, but Chrylser did base it on the Chrysler Minivan, one of the more reliable products out of Detroit.

      Of course, the Pacifica also had a top-line price to match its features.

      How did that work out? 

    • 0 avatar
      educatordan

      And Chrysler swiftly de-contented and discounted the heck out of the Pacifica (which BTW I would definitely test drive on the used market, AWD please).  De-contenting was the bigger sin in my opinion.
       
      @Robert Walter: Can I roll the dice on Chrysler with your money instead of mine?  Then I’ll be an early adopter.  If Chrysler would try the lifetime power-train warranty again, I’d give them a chance early on.

    • 0 avatar
      mpresley

      And IF your aunt were a man she’d be your uncle.   No one is going to spend that kind of money for a Chrysler.

  • avatar
    seanx37

    US pricing is lower, as the companies make it lower. They accept less profit. And the taxes in the US are far lower on cars. But there is nothing Fiat/Chrysler can do to make that car profitable in the US. That car will need to sell at $14-19000. Tops. They will lose a lot of our money selling those here. With the US Treasury paying the tab, why do they care?

  • avatar
    tced2

    Pricing aside, is the Lancia a good car?

  • avatar
    marauder_pilot

    No kidding. Quick comparo for the Chrysler 300 (Picked because it was the first car I could think of built both in NA and Europe. Neither is built in the same country as the website I picked either, so shipping is still factored for both):
    Chrysler USA: $28,101 starting
    Chrysler UK: $39,056 starting
    That’s a hell of a markup just for the privilege of selling in Europe.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      This is a poor comparison.  You fail to take into account that the volumes for LHD and RHD are vastly different and this has a tremendous effect on pricing for 2 reasons:

      1.  With an RHD version of a LHD based car, one needs to remember all the EDT (Engineering, Development & Test), Tools, sometimes unique suppliers, always smaller volumes, and recertification all add costs which, if not cross-subsidized by the LHD variant, must be borne on the shoulders of the RHD variant.  These costs are not for trivial parts, they include things like IP, centre HVAC stack, stampings, steering gear and linkages, headlamps w different beam pattern, etc.

      2.  Also one needs to take into account, that the British, are more or less unique among the major population nations in the western hemisphere, pay a RHD-premium in the purchase price of their new car for the continued right to drive on the wrong side of the road (Funny, it is usually the French who are so defiant in their desire to remain unique.)

      For a decent comparo, forget the confounding variable of RHD in a overpriced market, and look to a market with similar LHD architecture and a favourable opinion of, and decent sales volumes for, the 300 (I would guess Germany or Switzerland.)

    • 0 avatar
      Ingvar

      It’s not a European markup. It’s an American markdown. In effect, the rest of the world subsidizes lower prices in the US with higher prices just about everywhere else.

    • 0 avatar
      dadude53

      Correct. And now image that the UK model was build in Europe!

  • avatar

    I’d kill all of you to have a Lancia Stratos.
    For a Fulvia Sport Zagato I’d kick all of your shins.
    If Fiat sullies this brand by slapping on the nose of Sebrings then it is Marchionne that should be killed.

    After we all kick his shins.

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    FWIW, any new model in a Chrysler showroom would help to drive traffic, and whether many re-badged Lancias actually move wouldn’t be the point. Dealers can’t sell anything until buyers walk thru the door. Hopefully, any overhead spent on the re-badging would be made up in an overall bump in sales of all models, and it’s better than sitting on their heels waiting for new NA designed models to arrive.

  • avatar
    mjz

    The Chrysler/Lancia Delta is a dead ringer for the new 2012 Focus Hatchback. The rooflines are very, very similiar. If Chrysler can build it in Mexico with the Fiat 500 and price it low to mid $20’s, they might have moderate success. At $40,000, it will bomb bigtime. However, I think Sergio is looking more toward rebadging the Delta and other Lancia models in Europe and other countries with the Chrysler nameplate. Since as he put it, Chrysler has more “global reach” than Lancia. I think you will find that outside of Italy, all Lancia models will start to carry the Chrysler badge. I don’t think they are expecting the Delta to be a huge seller here in North America, but outside the United States, the Delta could have more success as a Chrysler than a Lancia.

  • avatar
    AccAzda

    Id like to offer a edit..

    The Astra wasnt a failure because its a bad car. I think it was more of a failure because of the larger vehicles overshadowing it. It could have been its price point. It could have been the fact that the interior wasnt changed to suit American “tastes”. It could be that it wasnt advertised, or it could have just been the stupid fact that when someone mentions a hatch for a vehicle.. everyone gets a cold.. and avoids it. But then again, its going to Buick, along with either the 9-3 or the 9-5 (makes Saab feel real special now.. nothing more than a rebadge.)

    This debate about American cars for rebadging can also stretch into the 1st or so gen of the Mondeo aka Contour / Mistique. I have HEARD that they were horrible cars, along with issues about how Ford couldnt get the size issue right. (At the time, Escort, Contour then Taurus…)

    And Steven02,
    I think you are completely right about pricing. Ford pushes the Focus for the Europe with a nice convertible.. probably pushing 30g, while they sell the stripper (4cycl 2ltr sedan, BARELY up against Cobalier and NEON / Caliber) version in the U.S for 15. Then Ford complains abut why people wont spend good money on the size they want.. (but thats another whole discussion.)

    P.S
    Id just like to know..
    What kind of pain would I feel from the B&B if I actually SAID I liked this car. Its kind of like the Pacificia, only in 50% increments.

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      Given that the Pacifica was, barr none, the worst rental car I ever drove (so bad, in fact, that I returned it one day into the two week rental period)…you’d catch a ton of hell for even mentioning the Pacifica…

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Whether executed well or not, the Pacifica was, arguably, the first of the full-size CUV’s and it was pretty (esp the taillights), much more so than the R-class.

    • 0 avatar
      Deorew

      Who says the Contour and Mystique were bad cars???
      NOT TRUE.
      My ’95 Mystique has 298,500 miles, and has been ultra-reliable.  One clutch, both ball joints and both rear struts in 15 years.  That’s it other than routine wear-out parts like brakes and tires and an oxygen sensor.  I’d say that’s pretty damn good.  Started traveling 106 miles a day round-trip commute with this car at 175,000 miles 4 years ago.
      Unless minimal rear-seat legroom is your only criteria for a car, there is no way this is a horrible car.  Great car.  I’d buy another in a heartbeat. 

    • 0 avatar
      littlehulkster

      The Ford Contour was an ok car, but the SVT version is one of the best Ford has ever made. It was capable of competing on even terms, and even beating, the best Germany had to offer. It’s one of the most under appreciated cars ever made, it’s a true gem, just like the rest of the SVT lineup.
      Due to factors like size, price and different tastes, however, Ford sold somewhere in the neighborhood of 13 of them. Americans aren’t too interested in the premium small car unless it either has a good brand cache or it hits a niche with it’s styling. Other than that, they’ve all failed.
       

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      Coutour a bad car?  And what have you been smoking?  I’ve been living around my sister-in-law’s for twelve years now, love driving the car, and have always considered it one of the better four cylinder/five speed econoboxes out there.  Yeah, it was too small for American tastes – which made it perfect for mine.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      CDW27, the platform from which spawned the Mondeo, Contour and Mystique was sized to slot between the European Escort and Scorpio … the decision to bring the car over to the US, put it in a size that was incrementally larger than the Tempo, and incrementally smaller than the Taurus … product business plan called for the Contour to be used to bring the Ford brand upwards in the market (and to address japanese vehicles head-on) and thus the car carried premium production cost … the main problem was the product overlap between the Contour and the Taurus … cross-canibalization … customers saw the price of the Contour as being nearly equal to that of the Taurus yet offering lousy RR seat legroom … when such customers voted for Taurus, incentives and decontenting of the Contour followed … the dreams of a premium product vanished … and so did the profits…  had there been a ‘stretch Contour’ to replace the Taurus, the story might have been different …

      Incidentially, since the Contour was intended to be a “premium” in its segment it drove away the former buyers of the Tempo (which was really a ‘stretch Escort’ platform) who were interested in Value over Premium…

      Today’s Mondeo no longer competes with the Scorpio (which was an Epic Fail after its ca. 1999 redesign, good car but ugly, caused it to be pulled from the market), and, therefore, as the Senior Ford in the european market is larger than the Contour of old.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      Many moons ago I worked at Ford when the Contour/Mystique twins were launched. One of the biggest problems at launch was an immediate recall/stop sell (heck the dealers couldn’t even demo it) due to an issue with the fuel filler neck that could cause a spark/fire/explosion. Parts were slow in coming, and by then the initial advertising launch budget had been blown and no new funds were allocated to “re-launch” the car.

      Ford was aiming these cars at “import intenders” and they suceeded – our data at the time showed that spurned would-be buyers who came to see the car and test drive it (but were turned away thanks to aforementioned recall) ended up buying mostly the (newly launched) Nissan Altima or a Toyota Corolla. 

      The real sad part of the whole Contour/Mystique debacle was the incessant need in Dearborn (and at our crosstown rivals too) to “Americanize” the car….why on earth would you “Americanize” a car targeted specifically to appeal to import buyers? The original Mondeo was a much more attractive car than the pucker-faced Contour ever could have hoped to be. At least they left the basic interior layout/design alone (on the Contour, anyway) which was excellent, even if we Americans got cheaper plastics and materials than our friends across the pond. 

    • 0 avatar
      AccAzda

      Robert Walker:
      If I remember.. correctly..
      The R-Class was a and IS a GIANT failure for MB. Here ya have a car thats begging to be taller, slower.. yet its powered by a monster V8 and is pegged by MB as some.. people carrier when infact a E wagon could do a much better job.

      In short..
      Its a confused vehicle, selling for 50g with very few takers and somehow.. I read that its being re-introed into the US market.

      Id also like to know.. where the term fullsize CUV comes from. Only one I know of are the Lambdas.. which are nothing but 3/4 sized Tahoe / Burbans.. in 3 varities. But in short, the Pacificia sold poorly mostly because of their price tag. I believe it started at about 34 for it, around the time of the Celine Dion ads. The vehicle had horrible greenhouse issues, along with an awd system and I also remember it feeling small on the interior. I also believe the vehicle had engine / tranny problems.. all trying to be sold on the then current Minivan frame.

      Deorew
      As for as the Contour/Mistique goes..
      I remember those cars being so confused. Ya had them up against similar sized vehicles.. with a really poor interior.

      They arent being sold cause they were such poor vehicles.

      Robert Walker:
      I also do appreciate so kindly the backstory on those cars.
      I always knew something was going on. It felt way to confused for the Tempo and the Contour and the Escort to be sold.. right with the Taurus. Id never compare Taurus v Contour. Not when I remember the Taurus interior being such a joy to sit in.

      And wheeljack
      The problem with the differences in the interior, how the car is sold and marketed, ntm contented has been their biggest problem.. for coming on 20yrs now. Ford and GM keep talking about how they cant sell cars from Europe in the U.S. Its failures like these.. that are THE THEIR failures at producing a decent car to BE SOLD in the U.S rather than peoples desire to buy the damn thing.

      And Americanize it is what “almost” sent Focus packing.
      Id just like to know.. why this didnt happen sooner.

  • avatar

    Well it might work but it certainly wouldn’t have been my first move in Marchionne’s shoes. Instead of trying to prop up one struggling brand with another why not build on the group’s strengths to exploit emerging gaps in the US market? Perhaps a swift testosterone injected restyle of the neat little Fiorino/Qubo to sell as a Dodge branded competitor for the Ford Transit Connect?

    I hope FIAT/Chrysler has some better tricks in the pipeline

  • avatar
    holydonut

    Isn’t the US Spec TSX a Euro Spec Honda Accord?  Or is that not really brand engineering more than badge swapping?  And the current North American Focus made its first debut outside of the USA as a Global-designed car with quite a bit of Euro-flavour.
     
    But for pure brand engineering I guess the Merkur XR4Ti was the most successful swap out of Europe… so I guess these Lancia things are going to be a pretty big disaster.

    • 0 avatar
      AccAzda

      There really isnt a PUREity to Brand engineering.

      Honda just somehow.. thinks they can sell an upmarket brand version of an Accord.
      Which makes ya wonder.. just how BAD / sloppy is the US version.. against the TSX.

      Put the First gen TSX against the Accord to find out.
      Id LOVE the TSX anyday. NTM, Honda puts out a obese US sedan.. with a hatch glued and stapled on.. while the rest of the world gets what is really a TSX wagon, only to finally get it.. and a price premium…what a PIA!

      As for badge engineering..
      The Pilot / MDX is the way it SHOULD be done.

      The Lambdas and the Saturn Relay and cousins.. are the way it shouldnt be done.

  • avatar

    Can’t wait for someone to tell me they’re buying one of these to “buy American.”

    John

  • avatar
    Roundel

    If this is going to be a replacement…. it would only be imported for a small amount of time… maybe 2012-2013.  If its successul, Fiat would certainly bring the tooling and plans to be built in North America.

  • avatar

    The Astra was a failure because it cost substantially more than the car it replaced which was the ION.  Though the Astra was a better car and probably worth the money it would be hard to sell a former ION or Saturn customer used to very low pricing on a much more expensive car.  The post has a point on that and the history of captive imports sold under American brands by American companies bears that out. Lets not forget that Ford is doing the same thing with the Fiesta and upcoming Focus, both of which Euro model. The original Focus and Contour both bombed basically and were full of problems yet Ford is doing it all over again. It will probably go differently this time I think.

    Whether or not Chrysler has this issue with this Lancia or whatever else they end up selling remains to be seen.  The brand is in a similar position as Mercury, Buick or Lincoln and can fetch more money than Saturn can for a vehicle, that’s for sure.  That might be the difference here.  Saturn and Pontiac were mainstream brands that sold mostly cheap cars.  Though Chrysler sells a lot of cheap cars they also sell a few more expensive vehicles that people actually shell good money out for like the Town and Country, Aspen and 300C.  I’m sure it’s not a big deal to change up the options mix on this car  for US sale if they decide to go through with it. 

    The Delta looks fine as a Chrysler IMO and the interior seems impressive.  If it’s Pacifica-sized then perhaps they can tack that name onto it.  If it’s smaller just sell it as the Delta.  What exactly is a Delta anyway?  Is it a hatchback, MPV/crossover or a fullsize five door like the Pacifica was?  Anyone know?

    • 0 avatar
      thalter

      It looks Pacifica sized in the pictures, but in reality it is more the size of a Focus.

      Anyways, I thought the plan was to take Chrysler upmarket, not selling VW Golf competitors.

    • 0 avatar
      littlehulkster

      The original Focus didn’t bomb. It had teething issues, but it ended up being a strong seller for Ford, and it was a good car to boot. I’d take a Focus over a Corolla or Civic.
       
      That said, Americans want to have their cake and eat it too. If we want better cars, we’ll have to pay for better cars. GM was especially bad about this, at least Ford tried some imports, and most of them were actually quite good cars.

    • 0 avatar

      So were GM’s imports. 

      Let me clarify my bombed comment, it sold, but it garnered a very bad reputation right out of the gate that persists to this day.

      The upcoming Focus will probably go a long way to remedy that provided it launches with no serious issues.

      Judging by how Ford priced the Fiesta the new Focus won’t exactly be cheap either. It will be interesting to see if Americans are ready to pay higher prices for American branded compact cars.

    • 0 avatar
      littlehulkster

      Yeah, the Focus’ repuration is a shame, too, as the first and second generation were head and shoulders above the Japanese in driving dynamics, while being cheaper, just as reliable and getting equivalent economy.
      It had both hatchback AND wagon forms, too, so it was even more practical. I wish I could find an SVT Focus. That would be a nice little daily driver. Plenty of space, respectable power, excellent handling.

    • 0 avatar
      AccAzda

      TRISHEILD:
      Edit..

      Id like to see people buy the FOCUS over larger Ford vehicles.. because of its content. I dont think people have a problem buying a Ford compact. (I look at it this way: If ya dont buy “Japanese” that leaves out M, H, T and N. If ya hate GM.. and if Chrysler blows, thats all ya got.) I think people buy it as a default.. not cause they want to, (why else would people buy Aveos or Cobaliers).

      Id love to see Ford content the vehicle properly.. and get real money for it.

  • avatar
    getacargetacheck

    Chrysler’s plan for a C-class sedan as laid out in its November presentation is 2012.  Federalizing this car by the end of the year seems tough especially considering the profit will be squeezed by high prices/low volume.  Unless, Chrysler is willing to price it right (PT Cruiser range) and take a loss on it simply as a placeholder until American production can begin a la Buick Regal (production in Germany for first year, Canada after that).  Might be worth it to gain mindshare momentum sooner in a very tough market???  BTW, I kind of like the idea of melding Chrysler and Lancia.  Perhaps the Chrysler D-class vehicles and smaller will all take on Lancia’s traditional Greek alphabet naming scheme???

  • avatar
    Mr Carpenter

    I’m sure it’ll work out about as well as this did.

    http://www.automotivehistoryonline.com/packard1957.htm

    Or the “Mercur”.  Or the Eagle Medallion. 

    (“sniff, sniff”)  Anyone else smell desperation, cynical rebadging and that odd aroma …. what is it? 

    Oh yeah, “bodging and dodging, run what ya brung-ism”.  That’s it. 

    Here’s a nickel’s worth of free advice to Chrysler.  Why not kind of do a “ford” and use one letter to name all of the Chrysler badged cars?  With real names.

    Historically, the Plymouth Valiant was a very big and steady seller. 

    Chrysler Valiant.  

    Anyone else remember cold-war history about British V-bombers?  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V_bomber

    Valiant (ties right in), Victor (sounds “strong”) and Vulcan (could always get the new “young” Spock actor to shill for you….)

    Hey, any better ideas, anyone? 

  • avatar
    mjz

    Mr Carpenter:

    “Valiant” was used for a Plymouth economy car. Chrysler is going upscale. That would be equivalent to Cadillac calling the CTS the Nova.

    • 0 avatar
      Mr Carpenter

      Only us car-guys and gals would actually even remember the Valiant. 

      Besides which, since when does any American regard any small car as “premium”? 

      Since when does any American regard the Chrysler name as “premium”?  May as well call them DeSoto, Dodge, Ram or Plymouth.  Chrysler isn’t an aspirational brand to Americans and hasn’t really been since the 1960’s, to be honest. 

      Besides which, since when do Americans willingly pay premium prices to buy HATCHBACKS?  Hatchbacks are regarded as “economy cars”.

      Besides, I was more or less jesting with my name suggestions, anyway.  Call it black humor. 

      I honestly think that we in the B&B here at TTAC could have done a better job of keeping Chrysler afloat than the bingo-the-clowns in suits known as Daimler and then Cerberus did. 

      At least we’d have had fun trying to keep it afloat, and I bet we’d have all worked for less money than they did, too. 

  • avatar
    mjz

    Two problems with Chrysler/Lancia Delta as shown in Detroit: 1) It was featured in the dullest grey/purple/taupe color imaginable, which did not highlight its interesting contrasting roof color (black) to the proper degree. 2) The wheel/tire combo appeared undersized, at least for a “concept”. They should have shown it in a pearl white metallic body/black roof combo with some blingy 18″ or 19″ chrome wheels.

  • avatar
    Seth L

    The thought of a USD Lancia Ypsilon is making my bizarre car sense tingle.

  • avatar
    getacargetacheck

    One other problem: the Delta only comes as a hatchback.  A Chrysler Delta hatchback especially at European import prices will linger on dealer lots like the Astra.  Despite what the Mazda3/GTI fanboy crowd spouts, hatchbacks are not liked by the vast majority of American carbuyers because they are exactly NOT what they are promoted to be: practical.  Not as roomy as wagons, and they often have less trunk space than a conventional sedan.  No reason to believe the Italians are any less arrogant than the Germans when it comes to knowing what’s best for the American market.  Case in point see: Dodge Caliber or Dodge Magnum.

  • avatar
    mjz

    bmoredlj:

    Yeah, I thought the new logo was pretty underwhelming as well.

  • avatar
    gslippy

    If these rebadges are too pricey, Chrysler will die sooner rather than later.

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    How about Chrysler Newport for a name?  Although Chrysler Delta might work. Actually, I have to admit I kind of like this car.  It’s clear Marchionne is trying to get new product into Chryslers showrooms pronto.  The (hopefully) long-term solutions should begin arriving in 2012.

    It’s hard to predict success or failure for a car like this.  I think if it’s priced and marketed correctly, it might work.  Many of us tend to look to the past in making our predictions about the future.  Example:  It’s a hatchback… so no deal.  And it’s true, Americans have been hatchback-adverse for a while.  But they did embrace the style for a while in the 1970s – a time not unlike today.  Ford is also now taking a gamble on hatches. 

    So the question is, are times changing?  Is there a new paradigm for the auto market?  Are Americans willing to accept the concept of “premium” small cars?  Or are they stuck in the old “bigger is better” mold?  I’m not making any predictions.  But I’m not sure we can point to the past for reliable indications of what’ll work over the next decade or two. 

    Meanwhile… this conversation has caused me to Muse a bit.  Am I the only one who misses those great Chrysler full-sized two-door coupes fr m the 50s, 60s and early 70s?  Even the downmarket versions – like the Plymouth Furies – were pretty cool.  I wish there was a modern version of something like this available – albeit with better fuel mileage.  But that’s just dreaming.

  • avatar
    lawmonkey

    Just in case anyone is curious – http://www.lancianewdelta.com/index_com.jsp
     

  • avatar
    thalter

    I may not run a car company, but I’m even more important – I buy cars. 

    I’ve bought a dozen or so new cars in my life, including one Chrysler (ironically, a Pacifica).  I was sweating bullets trying to get rid of it before the warranty expired (or the company, for that matter), for fear of something major going wrong with it (I had major mechanical problems, and it was only two years old).

    I for one will never buy another Chrysler.  I am not in the risk taking business. Without people like me, Chrysler is sunk.

  • avatar
    Mr Carpenter

    How about really doing a really retro car, Steve? 

    Do a modern frame-body 1957 DeSoto Adventurer hardtop and convertible 2 door car, and 4 door hardtop (with center pillar).  Tone down the interior chrome to brushed stainless to eliminate glare (modern drivers are unaccustomed to chrome glare), add the safety equipment required by law, use the current new 345 Hemi (coincidentally the same displacement as the real 1957 DeSoto Firedome “hemi” engine), put a five speed automatic in it, disc brakes all ’round, obviously modern tires, and cylinder deactivation.  Make the bolt-on exterior body panels (front fenders, doors, hood, trunk lid) of aluminum, add the production alongside the Ram pickups (since the car would be frame-body construction), use chassis components from the light duty Ram (to save costs) and price that puppy at $23,000 to $25,000. 

    Don’t forget the 1959 style swivelling front bucket seats. 

    A truly American styled car might actually sell, especially if the engineers could get 20 mpg out of it in the city and 28 on the highway. 

    The real 1957 DeSoto Adventurer hardtop 2 door weighed in 8080 pounds. 

    I jest, I jest.  We only imagine that these 1950’s cars weighed that much.  The actual weight is listed at 4040 pounds, or about what a Hyundai Santa Fe weighs, or maybe a Toyota Avalon. 

    The DeSoto Adventurer could be sold by any mopar dealers and could turn Crapster a profit, especially if they built it with few options – just choose your color.

    Black, white, cranberry, bright red, dark blue, medium blue or green with the two-tone section in any opposing color, or perhaps 1950’s look “coral”.  (pink-ish)

    Nitpickers be aware; I know DeSoto never built a 1957 Adventurer 4 door.  But they could have. 

  • avatar

    Technically Chrysler has already failed.  What we’re talking about is if cars like the Lancia Delta here will have any hope of making Chrysler a success again. 

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    “Rebadged imports are almost always colossal sales flops.”
    Whoa. In the past, TTAC has said that good European models fail in the US because they are changed to “suit” the US market. Now, you say that they fail because they are brought over with all their goodness intact. Which is it?
     
    A rebadged Lancia will fail if it is over priced and/or unreliable. The latter is a serious concern given Fiat’s reputation from the last time it tried to compete in the US market.

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    “I jest, I jest.  We only imagine that these 1950’s cars weighed that much.  The actual weight is listed at 4040 pounds, or about what a Hyundai Santa Fe weighs, or maybe a Toyota Avalon. ”

    That’s a tick lighter than a brand-new Dodge Challenger… which, ironically, is about the closest thing now available to the kind of car you’re talking about, especially if one orders the plainest version of the Hemi-equipped model one can – without all the garish stripes. 

  • avatar

    Us Brits did,nt just vote Lancia out in 1994 it was because the Lancia Beta was a rust bucket time bomb that was dropping its front engine subframe withins months of purchase due to corrosion. Lancia had to buy them back, they will will need to get us to succumb to mass brain washing before we buy them again.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Many people don’t know that the first mega-volume sub-frame vehicles for GM and Ford, the GM-10 and the DN5, or Grand Prix (etc.) and Taurus (etc.) respectively, also suffered mega recalls due to the RR subframe mounts separating from the BIW (recalls were limited to salt-lovin states …)

  • avatar
    philipD

    Firstly, I own a Lancia, bought new in 2000 and with currently 222,000kms (about 130,000miles) I have never had anything immobilise the car and the only corrections were of a very minor nature; to my, this is as good as a Toyota…and nothing has ever been done on it due to a recall, unlike Toyotas galore recently…

    in terms of pricing, these new Deltas are extremely well equipped compared to equivalent German makes, so unless one compares options prices etc, just looking at advertised retail prices will give you the wrong picture. Furthermore, German VAT is over 19% whereas tax on cars in the USA is much lower. It is true though, that car prices in the USA are far lower than in Europe even if different tax regimes are ignored.

    Chrysler could never sell the Delta for $40,000 against a BMW 320 or Audi A4…in any case, these cars are much more expensive than the Delta in Europe – here one can compare it in pricing to a BMW 1 series or an Audi A3 (which are much smaller); in fact the Delta well equipped is similar in price to a rather plain 1 series…so there could be room to offer it in the USA at a decent price depending on how Fiat chooses to market it…in any case, if they can increase production to meet US demand, unit prices would drop…and with a little marginal cost pricing logic applied, significantly lower prices could potentially still be profitable…

    I have driven the 1.8 Turbo with 200hp (automatic) and its a very, very impressive car! It would be perfect for America, as it is also very, very roomy on the back seat and a decent trunk…the rear bench can be pushed forward to increase luggage space or back to have more leg room…

    The car could give Chrysler the opportunity to move their image a little upward, but will enough people be brave enough to plonk their money down on one? And how would the other Chrysler products in the pipeline compare to it quality-wise? ALL of them would have to be as good, otherwise forget it…

    You can read something on the car in English here:
    http://www.carmagazine.co.uk/Drives/Search-Results/First-drives/Lancia-Delta-CAR-review/

    Fiat in the end never launched the brand in the UK due to the crisis, but the test gives you a good insight into the car’s qualities…and the new 200hp one with the sequential automatic gearbox is much better still!

    We here in Europe are dreading what Chryslers will eventually be rebadged as Lancias…let’s wait and see on what platforms these will be built on and which engines they’ll have…

  • avatar
    ascaritim

    The Fact is Lancia was a strong brand in Europe once and they have made some superb cars in the past – Do a search on cars such as the Flavia, Aurelia and Integrale Rally Car not to mention the infamous (in a good way) Stratos – Forget Audi Quatro and Subaru Imprezza rather look at the Lancia Delta Integrale that won so many competions in Europe and was world rally car, your see lancia were once very good.
    From over in Europe Lancia suffered after the early 90’s and was under utilised by its parent company Fiat – Lancia was a Luxury maker in the 30’s and 40’s very similiar to Buick & Cadillac.
    Alfa Romeo another Fiat company since 1986 has taken over the ground of Lancia offering upmarket sporty cars that make a pleasnt alternative to the Tuetonic brands of Germania – Alfa’s are loved by many as is the Nuovo Fiat 500 – Lancia did leave the shores of Grande Britannia in 1994 but the brand is still popular among enthusiats who would love to see a right hand drive Delta again. Chrysler just aint that popular in the Uk the only ones that sell are the Jeeps and some of the larger Sedans but we want Diesel or small over here for them to do any good – What you Yanks have to realise is listen to Fiat they invented the Common Rail Diesel Engine and are doing OK in these credit crunch times but they Need Chryler as much as Fiat need them and they make some great Euro Size Cars !


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