Nobody said it would be easy to sell a rebadged American large car in America, but with the recent economic hammering that Italy and other countries have endured, the market for the Lancia Thema, a rebadged Chrysler 300, is suffering in Italy and the rest of Europe.
Italy enacted a luxury tax on January 1st that will be slapped on vehicles making 252 horsepower or more. Buyers of the Thema would have to pay 500 euro per year due to its 285 horsepower rating. Even though a tax-exempt diesel version is offered, the Thema is faring poorly, along with the rest of the large car market, which is down 75 percent compared to 2011. The Thema is selling 25 percent of what was expected
Two other Lancia vehicles that began life as Chryslers are seeing mixed results. The Lancia Voyager, a rebadged Chrysler Town & Country, is suffering because its traditional client base, like hotel operators, are holding off due to economic uncertainty. The Fiat Fremont, a rebadged Dodge Journey, is doing fairly well, due to a bigger marketing presence, a sticker price 20 percent cheaper than its predecessor and available all-wheel drive. The Fremont should hit its sales targets this year if sales can be sustained at current pace.