By on December 20, 2010

There’s a strange rumor afoot, which traces back to, and it goes a little something like this:

Fiat plans to introduce a European version of the Chrysler 200. But the model will be sold by Lancia, with the Fiat logo on the front grille.

It looks like Fiat is not sticking to their initial plans, saying they will sell the Chrysler models under the name of Lancia. Unofficial sources say that the New Chrysler 200C will be sold on the Old Continent under the Fiat logo and not Lancia, as was anticipated. The reason is relatively simple, but a fair one: the American brand is not able to match the quality and luxury level of Lancia, a brand seen by many as a premium competitor.

We’re not yet completely convinced by this rumor, which flies in the face of Fiat’s plans for a Lancia-Chrysler co-branding experiment. Still, if the facelifted Sebring, pardon, 200 isn’t “premium” enough to be a Lancia, is the 300 up to the task? To help you formulate an answer we present Chrysler’s latest dump of high-resolution pictures of the new Chrysler flagship.

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27 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: Good Enough For Lancia? Edition...”

  • avatar

    And yet when it comes to selling actual Lancias in the UK, the Chrysler brand apparently has the greater cachet:

    “Andrew Humberstone, Fiat Group UK’s managing director, said the decision to badge Lancias as Chryslers – instead of bringing the Italian marque back to dealers in its own right – had been taken on the basis of brand recognition. “We found that Chrysler was better known,” he said, “and had a more positive reputation than Lancia.””
    Quoted from

    I nearly collapsed when I read that yesterday. I’d take just about any Lancia over just about any Dodge any day of the year.

    • 0 avatar

      You obviously never experience the unparalleled horror of owning a Lancia when they were last sold in Britain. Cars which broken down repeatedly from the moment you drove them out of the showroom and which were more water soluble than dissolvable aspririn. Within 5 years most of them resembled a clattering pile of iron ore.

  • avatar

    Lancia has been stumbling along like a palsied drunkard for nearly 20 years now. Its last attempt at a premium car, the Thesis, was a major flop with a poor reputation. While I’m not too sure about the Sebring/200, I can’t see how using a 300 as a basis for a Lancia can make things worse.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Well if Sergio isn’t going to introduce any new brands to the US, and if Dodge and Chrysler aren’t going to be present in Europe, than this makes perfect sense.
    But please only give us the best of each others stuff.  Only the best Chryslers and Dodges for Europe and only the best Fiats and Lancias and Alfa Romeos for us.

    • 0 avatar

      “Best Lancia” is already a concept I am struggling with. Alfa is not too far behind, 25-30K miles timing belt changes, temperamental electrics, etc., etc., But at least Alfa looks beautiful, even on a flatbed.
      A few years back I thought about buying an Alfa, a 156 Station Wagon. It is as achingly beautiful, as a pain in the ass to upkeep. Even having a few old SAABs on CV, I was scared with the facts supplied by some die-hard “alfisti”.

  • avatar
    Brian E

    I still can’t look at that car and not imagine how much better it’d look with a hood ornament. No car has wanted one more since they went out of style.

    • 0 avatar

      They didn’t so much go out of style as they were dropped to make the hood more “pedestrian friendly”.  Mercedes tried the deflectable ornament, only to find that made them easier to steal. The hood ornament on the first Chryslers, a leaping ram, was fixed to the hood and would have been especially painful to a pedestrian rolling over the hood, plus it seems to have become a truck emblem.

    • 0 avatar
      Brian E

      Mercedes still does use hood ornaments on many of their cars, as does Rolls, so obviously it can be done. They just don’t seem to be in vogue anymore.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree a hood ornament would look great on this car.
      I seem to recall that hood ornaments today are not rigidly attached, they are held on by a spring-loaded cable and are designed to flop back in the event of a pedestrian impact. I think this has been true for decades. I’m guessing they are out of favor due to expense and perceived aeroynbamics.

  • avatar

    Here in Brazil it makes sense, too. Chrysler doesn’t have much of a reputation, as the 2 times they tried to set up shop down here, they used the Dodge brand. And, in the last few years, as an import, they haven’t gained much mind-space.

    Meanwhile, Fiat, as the market-leader, has loads of cachet. A Fiat branded 200 or 300 would probably immeadiately enter the public’s radar. Unfortunately Lancia is also an unknown down here.

  • avatar

    As the proud curator of a car desktop background collection over 7500 images long I will conclude with some authority that that is some nice photography. The overcast and the black add to the car.

    Too bad the front end is so round.

    The Germans take better let’s-pose-it-by-the-artsy-fartsy-architecture photographs.

    (Not downloading it)

  • avatar

    You know, the more pictures I see of the new 300, the more I’m liking the new sheetmetal. It’s kind of growing on me. It’s a handsome car. With the demise of the Panther, and Chrysler’s committment to improving interiors, this could be a big seller.

    Even though the original is an iconic design, the new styling is a bit tamer, which should appeal to a lot of people who want the 300, but don’t want to be seen as the neighbourhood douchebag/drugdealer/lowrider/roller.

  • avatar

    Looks like an Audi A8 with ugly after-market wheels.

  • avatar

    Well, you could call a Rottweiler a standard Poodle, but why would you?  All of these automotive neologisms make very little sense to me unless they are needed for accounting or import duty purposes.  I have no doubt there are plenty of Americans who will think that a rebadged Lancia Delta was built at Sterling Heights, but what Italian would think the 200 or the 300 were whelped in Turin?  Just call them Chryslers, and let it go at that.  That might actually add to their cache.

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    What they call it doesn’t matter.

    Chrysler seems to have done a good job of dressing up an elderly design. It’s problem has rarely been the look of its cars. Abysmal quality and customer care killed it. Chrysler cannot succeed until the reliability and durability issues are resolved.

  • avatar

    What’s wrong with that picture is that that car is never going to make it into MoMA. The front end is Japanese generic (perhaps with a bit of generic German influence), the semi-peanut headlights are execrable, and the rest of the car just doesn’t quite cut it. Anything with the name Lancia on it should be a work of art.

  • avatar

    Any Lancia or any italian premium sedan should be designed by Pininfarina. Period.

  • avatar
    White Elephants

  • avatar

    If Sergio Marchionne has a real strategy to save Chrysler (and Fiat?), then it seems to change with the prevailing wind!
    He may be credited with saving Fiat (primarily with one model only – the (Grande) Punto), but he has singularly failed to do anything for Alfa Romeo (<130k in 2010) or Lancia (<100k in 2010). 
    In fact Fiat remains somewhat of a “one-trick” (small car) show (Punto =25%, Panda =20% & 500 = 16%), rather like VW was for a long time with the Beetle followed by the Golf.
    The “largest” Fiat, the Croma (max. 36k in 2007, <12k in 2010), their Mid-Size Car offering, has never represented more than a blip-on-the-screen even in Europe (<2% of the segment).
    Recently Sergio threatened Alfa Romeo with closure if their sales did not improve, and then changed his mind and made additional investment in them.  When Ferdinand Piech of VW talked about buying Alfa, Sergio said that they were not for sale!
    He spoke of transferring Fiat 500 production from Poland to Italy, but then told the Italian unions that they were uncompetitive!!
    He said that Chrysler production costs in North America were lower than Fiat factories in Italy, then announced a Fiat/Chrysler (60/40) JV invest in the Mirafiori factory in Italy (to build Jeeps as well as Fiats)!!!
    He originally talked of moving Chrysler up-market as more of a competitor to Cadillac, and then restyled the Sebring as the “new” 200!!!!
    And finally he has flip-flopped about “badging” Chryslers as Lancias or vice versa!!!!!  Are there many other brands that have such completely different “brand values” and/or target customers (at least in theory)?
    As far as I am aware no car company has ever “badge engineered” a solution to solve a poor product offering?!



    • 0 avatar

      I like Fiats so I would love to see Marchionne succeed but Fiat hasn’t had a Euro hit since the 500 (Uno is not sold over here). Now when they also uglified the Punto beyond recognition and Panda is very old no wonder their Euro sales are falling like a rock. While they now do some great engineering, just look at the twinair and multiair engines, it seems like they concentrated everything on saving Chrysler, I wonder would Fiat, Lancia and Alfa would be worth saving after the things are settled in America.

  • avatar

    Shouldn’t this be Wild Ass Rumor of the Day? And if it’s about the 200, why is there a 300 in the picture? Oh, maybe that’s what’s wrong with this picture – it’s not a 200.

  • avatar

    I dunno – I see nothing wrong with this picture, either. Black always looks good in photos, but I’ll never own a black car. Gardiner Westbound nailed it, though, regarding their reliability and servicing. That’s what makes a car truly desirable. Just ask (older) Toyota and Honda owners!

    The last Chrysler I owned (1999 Stratus) was excellent, including the dealer I bought it from. Earlier ones, excluding our 1990 Acclaim (owned 10½ years), not so much.

  • avatar

    I would say this photo is the most flattering. It has the illusion of a long hood and short deck. I think the design would be a knockout if they could add an extra 6-12 inches to the hood.

  • avatar

    This is a hot car.  Does anyone have one and are they durable?

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