By on May 23, 2014

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Notably absent from FCA’s 5-year plan was Lancia. The Italian brand known for iconic models like the Aurelia, Fulvia and Delta Integrale will be pared down to one model that will be sold in Italy only.

Lancia currently offers the Ypsilon subcompact, the Delta hatchback, the Thema (based on the Chrysler 300), and the Voyager (based on the Chrysler fans). A report by Bloomberg confirms that after this year, only the Ypsilon will remain. Lack of demand, a weak car market in Europe and intense competition from a record number of brands all conspired to bring about Lancia’s downfall – not to mention an odd, ill-defined lineup that failed to establish a rock solid identity or any semblance of a value proposition.

That identity has so far kept Alfa Romeo from the same fate as Lancia – even though they arguably suffer from the same external forces. But that’s allowed Alfa Romeo to establish a tenuous foothold in global markets, while Lancia’s appeal is confined only to its home country.

 

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39 Comments on “Lancia Languishing On Life Support, Down To One Model...”


  • avatar
    romismak

    This is joke, either kill it or give it a chance, but Lancia with 1 model only in Italy is weird. It won´t work i think, sales will fall even further and they will eventually kill Lancia, which is shame

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Sergio has to keep the Italian factory going, to keep Italian politicians off his back. He’ll have enough trouble with them once FCA incorporates in the Netherlands and he moves most of its management to Auburn Hills – Lee Iacocca’s old chair is very comfy. Fiat’s old Turin headquarters will remain, but be nothing more than a branch office for the European markets. Then the politicians will really be P.O.ed. No use stirring things up before that happens.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    We’ve seen plenty of brand consolidation here in the US, it makes sense that Europe will be seeing some as well.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    It’s just a historical brand, which had a few bright spots in an otherwise blighted and unreliable offering. Not many people will miss it. If I were an American (which I am) and I drove a 300 (which I’d never do), I might see how difficult it would be to Thema-ize it.

    How the Stratos was not mentioned in the iconic models list was an oversight, however! C’mon Derek, I’d argue it’s their most iconic model.

    “I’m going to change gear; this will involve man touching!”

  • avatar
    bobman

    In Italy, Sergio has taken it on the chin for for what he’s done with Lancia. Especially by rebadging Chrysler products. I think that once the current projects are completed, he’ll look it at it again. Lancia name will return once the domestic house is in order.

    This is what many have said about FCA, many great brands on both sides of the pond waiting to be brought back. Future is bright for them.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Bringing back those great models cost money, billion$ per model, and even after the merger, FCA doesn’t have it. Fiat is billion$ in debt and has been treading water financially. With the merger, Sergio hopes to dip into the market for borrowed money even more for his new 5 year plan (the third one in five years). This is a process that won’t end well.

  • avatar

    My memory of Lancia’s is they were rust buckets. Nice looking rust buckets :-)

    • 0 avatar
      bomberpete

      Lancia is redundant. I really don’t know what Lancia has put out of note in the last 30 years except for a Ferrari motor in one of their sedans, which the European motor-noters went nuts over.

      I did love that HPE “shooting brake” when I was a kid, and the Monte Carlo, but they were all just FIAT junk.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      That’s because they were Fiats after 1969. For six decades before that, Lancia was a stylish luxury car with decent engineering chops.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    Any one else notice that the model pictured seems to take its every design cue from the arches it is parked in front of?

    Right down to the rims.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    I don’t see them sticking around. With everything else going on, there’s no resources. Plus, there’s little reason to. There’s nothing that Lancia can do that Fiat, Alfa or Chrysler can’t. It’s the Mercury of FCA.

  • avatar
    Tstag

    In a parallel universe fiat would have bought Rover when BMW jumped ship. Then they could have sold both brands through one network. Lancia making smaller cars and Rover big cars. The 75 could have replaced the crappy Thesis and the smaller Lancias the rest of the Rover range. Fiat could have branded Lancias as Rovers in the UK and Rovers As Lancias everywhere else. With some investment in new Fiat based models Rover would have been able to use it’s big presence at home to boost volume (bear in mind it still had 5 percent market share with dire cars at the end). If it had got back to 14 percent pre BMW Lancia/ Rover could well have made it. They could then have launched sports cars using the MG and Lancia brands.

    Why didn’t Fiat go for it? Bearing in mind they had thought about collaborating even when rover was on its last legs

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    Lancia has been a dead brand for over 35 years. Some people just missed the memo. They haven’t been the same since the FIAT buyout 45 years ago, and they didn’t have a business model that made any money before that. The last Lancia designed car was the Gamma, and it was a lemon with its power steering pump driven off its cam belt. Turn the wheel to full lock and the belt broke, causing valves and pistons to meet. Everything else has been a collection of FIAT parts. The UK was their biggest export market, and they threw it away with quickly rusting Betas in the ’70s. The Italians forgot how to style a car at some point, so there really isn’t a need for multiple bodies on the same FIAT platforms anymore. They’re all regurgitated neo-classics or eyesores anyway.

  • avatar
    PriusV16

    It’s actually a shame that Lancia isn’t given another fair chance.

    It could be the No.1 brand for all those who want elegant Italian style and charm at affordable prices.

    I actually like the Ypsilon very much — not just the current model pictured above, buit also its predecessors.

    Yes, they were / are compact or sub-compact cars, but just look at what Lancia is currently getting out of the Ypsilon style-wise, then imagine what they could in other vehicle segments:

    http://www.lancia.de/de/modell/ypsilon/gold/

    http://www.lancia.de/de/modell/ypsilon/s-by-momodesign/

    This thing looks more upscale and elegant than just about any other car in its class out there.

  • avatar
    TybeeJim

    When in Italy last fall, much to my surprise I saw a number of US Chrysler 300s in Lancia livery!

  • avatar
    Jacob

    This is quite sad. Lancia used to be a much better brand than say Saab. Jeremy Clarkson declared Lancia the best brand ever. It looks Lancia is another victim of the German success and the relentless consolidation of the car brands that has been going on for decades. Realistically, I don’t see why Lancia needs to exist. Three Fiat car brands is just too much. Lancia falls into this weird troublesome “premium, but not quite luxury” segment with Saab, Volvo, Mercury, Buick, Acura, etc, and we know that the market isn’t very kind to it. As soon as Lancia became a brand of rebadged Fiats, we knew this was coming.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      That is incorrect. Clarkson declared Lancia as having made the highest number of “great cars.” That does not make them the greatest car maker ever.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      Oh, well if Jeremy Clarkson said so… He’s an ignorant oaf.

    • 0 avatar

      “Lancia falls into this weird troublesome “premium, but not quite luxury” segment with Saab, Volvo, Mercury, Buick, Acura, etc, and we know that the market isn’t very kind to it.”

      I have a new word for it: “mainstream plus.” Not luxurious enough to roll with the big dogs (Audi, MB, BMW, etc.), but expensive enough that a certified pre-owned Audi, MB or BMW starts making more sense. It’s where nameplates that have lost their relevancy (hello, Lincoln) go to wither away. The literal “horse latitudes” of auto industry.

      Acura’s not “mainstream plus.” It’s premium enough even if it’s half a step below Lexus in that regard.

  • avatar
    redliner

    The Italian Lincoln?

  • avatar
    matador

    Come on! Lancia is the best car manufacturer out there!

    Jeremy Clarkson said so- it must be true!

  • avatar
    tokencyclist

    In the UK there were Betas in the 1970′s, before the rust disaster. Then there were a few Deltas during the rally years. Rallying was big in the UK back then, when the Integrale rocked.

    This heritage is still remembered, any remaining Deltas command respect. The survivors are either rally style, albeit not S4′s, or else they are well appointed inside.

    The current Fiat brands are not really hot-hatchback like the Integrale was. I cannot think of a Fiat (Ferrari excepted) that is synonymous with performance. The Alfa Romeo cars are executive or whatever that Mito thing is supposed to be.

    I think that they should have continued with Lancia, based it on some Fiat flooplan but made it a true hot hatch with a well appointed hatchback variant. Lancia only ever really offered one model that actually sold at a given time so not having a full line up is no big deal.

    With BMW there is MINI and that is essentially a one model brand. The MINI is either fast(ish) or deluxe. Those are the options and it works for them.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Euro-Pontiac.

  • avatar
    djn

    What Sergio did to Lancia is not the true crime. The true crime is what Fiat did after purchasing Lancia was introducing the Beta. Pre-Fiat Lancias were incredibly engineered and beautiful machines. And probably sold each one at a loss.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Your last sentence describes the problem with the brand. They couldn’t sell them for enough to make money, and sold out to Fiat which cheapened the cars until they weren’t worth what they were sold for. If the Lancia family were still in charge in 1969, they would have been smart to just sell the tooling and factory and retired the family name to rest in peace.

  • avatar
    shaker

    That’s a cute little car. FCA should import these as a replacement for the PT Cruiser (which it resembles to me).

  • avatar
    Streetcruiser

    Apart from the legendary Delta Integrale there isn’t much the brand had to offer to me. The new Delta was way to boring to be successful. They should have teamed up with Subaru, take the WRX STI hatch and put a good looking Delta Integrale Retro Design body over it. That might have worked.

    But rebadging Chryslers? If nobody wanted them in Europe as Chryslers why should have anybody wanted them as Lancias?

    • 0 avatar
      LambourneNL

      Chrysler actually did fairly well in Europe, 300′s were all over the place in the first few years.

      In the European mind, an American car is a big, ostentatious sedan with a low price. The 300 (or 300C as it was called here) was exactly that.

      Lancia is known for sleek Italian design at slightly upmarket prices.

      There is a complete disconnect between car and brand image. It’s like cheap Cadillacs or expensive Volkswagens, it does not work out – ever.

  • avatar
    jimboy

    SM has chosen to put his eggs in the Alfa basket, rather than continuing Lancia. I think this is his first big mistake, Lancia still outsells Alfa by more than 2-1 with only the Delta and Ypsilon models. The plan to pair it with Chrysler was a good one as both brands have similar histories. The new 200 would have made a great Lancia and IIRC the Italian Presidential Car is a Thema. They never really gave Lancia a chance at survival, instead spending $7 billion on Alfa, a brand that sold under 100,000 units last year.
    I have argued that with the investment going into Chrysler brand it would be fairly easy to co-develop (new) Lancia’s along side. None of Fiat brands have great reputations for reliability, so single-ing out Lancia for abuse doesn’t wash.
    Of course, many people argue it wouldn’t be a true Lancia, but with the financial realities in today’s auto landscape, which marque can make that claim? Just as North Americans must accept Fiat dna in their new vehicles, so will Europe have to accept Chrysler dna in theirs. That is simply the reality of the modern world. I would rather see a Lancia with some Chrysler than NO Lancia at all, just as I accept that the 200 has as much Alfa dna as Chrysler.

    See: Rolls Royce, Audi, Bentley, Maserati, Jaguar, Porsche, etc.. for their dna.

  • avatar
    Victor

    Sergio did nothing to Lancia. It’s being dead since they offloaded the Lybra into chinese hands. The last Delta was ready long before Sergio came along. He might be a good CEO, but he does not print money, nor as far as I know. IntGSR might have the proper answer to that.

    I’m sure they will bring it back, paired to Chrysler or not. I can see Lancia using Alfa Romeo platforms in more subtle luxury cars. But first they must make Alfa Romeo work. Would anybody choose Lancia over Alfa Romeo? Sadly the Lambda days are long gone, Alfa Romeo is a bigger brand today.

    On a sidenote, the Epsilon pictured above is historically an Autobianchi model, and not a proper Lancia.

  • avatar
    The Heisenberg Cartel

    Maybe they should do to Lancia what they did to Abarth. Make it a luxury trim line like Abarth is the speed trim.


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