By on January 28, 2011

Via, come these first pictures of Fiat’s Chrysler-cum-Lancias, the Thema (Chrysler 300) and Flavia (Chrysler 200). But are these rebadges worthy of the Lancia name? Hit the jump for the context necessary to answer that question…

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25 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: Lord Love A Lancia Edition...”

  • avatar

    That top pic resembles the ‘prototype’ photos of a new 300C.

  • avatar

    Wasn’t FIAT supposed to bring European models in America, not the other way around?

  • avatar

    Lancia does have a long and glorious history but it’s been almost 20 years since they’ve introduced anything memorable and/or decent selling. I really don’t see how a lightly restyled 300 is going to hurt anything at this stage.

    • 0 avatar

      Lancia really died about 40 years ago. The last Lancia developed by Lancia was the Gamma, and it was a disasterous piece of junk that burned customers like a GM 1st effort. The Beta was a combination of Fiat transverse FWD technology with the Fiat 125(and 124 sport) DOHC engine. IIRC, the only non-Fiat component was a Citroen supplied transmission. The Delta was a rebodied Ritmo/Strada. The rally cars starting with the Stratos were mixtures of Fiat group components assembled by Fiat and Abarth engineers. I don’t have a problem with Lancia badges showing up on random second rate cars. It has been their heritage for my lifetime.

    • 0 avatar

      I agree with both of you. Fact is what are you gonna do with what you have? I mean the Chrysler were deemed (rightly) not sporty enough to merit an Alfa Romeo badge. However, you have this other troubled brand that’s sold mostly well-appointed Fiat’s for 20 years. Remember in the Euro market, these cars have just the right size to warrant a “luxury” image. Somewhat attractive American sheetmetal, with some Euro engines and suspension work. Can it work?

      I think Fiat is trying to maximize profits here. They’ll put out a few of these. If they are hits, this exercise will go on for a while. If they’re not, they’ll go back to the drawing board and try to define what is Chrysler and what is Lancia.

      In other words, this is a sort of hail Mary pass.

      If the ball is dropped, changes are in store (or, in other words, Fiat will really have to do something about their excess brands).

  • avatar

    Lancia is dead. Long live the new Lancia. Wonder how long?

  • avatar

    O tempore, O mores!!!!
    Lancia is the manufacturer that brought us the independent front and rear suspension, sliding pillar shocks, V4 and V6 engines, unibody… The original Flavia was a masterpiece of Dottore Fessia with a brilliant front wheel drive design, the original Thema was less unique, but still gave the real enthusiast a Ferrari engined saloon car aspire to. This cynical marketing exercise is a road to nowhere.
    I will always clamor for a Fulvia HF, Flaminia Sport Zagato or Delta HF Integrale… but please Mr. Marchionne don’t expect me to buy into this hoax of selling the most mediocre American cars under one Italy’s most prestigious name plates.
    The great Vincenzo Lancia will turn around in his grave. Is this it, is it all over? Have we no hope of a Lancia revival? Let the brand die a peaceful death or let it live according to its true values, I will not buy in to a Chysler badged as a Lancia.
    Automobile quarterly wrote in the eighties: “Lancia never built a bad car”… I guess that is no longer true… oh no they didn’t built these cars at all!

    • 0 avatar

      Automobile Quarterly was wrong – ask anyone who bought one of the unreliable and water-soluble Betas or Montecarlos/Scorpions in the 1970s. Nice cars in concept but horrible in execution. The Gamma coupe was beautiful but very rusty and trouble-prone. Outside of the Delta Integrale and the Thema 8.32, Lancia hasn’t made memorable cars in a quarter century.

    • 0 avatar

      Lancia has built some great cars over the years. Re-badging – like the effects of the global economy – is here to stay, best deal with it.
      BTW… re: perceived slagging of Toyota… I bought a new ’84 Camry back in the day, a good car but wasn’t good enough to make me think it a better car than the ’81 Accord hatchback it had replaced. However, my wife and I own an ’01 Highlander – bought new – and 191K miles later, other than a little wear in the leather of the driver’s seat, it drives and looks like a year old car. Oil changes every 5K miles, trans fluid and coolant replacement every 30K, timing belt change at 95K, one brake job, no significant repairs… they’ve made a believer out of me.

  • avatar

    Even if automobile quarterly were being economical with the truth, the 8.32 and the Delta Integrale were and still are two great driving machines … people with a heart for cars deserve better than this, I know a few “successful companies” that haven’t made anything this memorable in the last quarter century… but Lancia has to live up to certain expectations for the Lancisti… these “Chrycias” do not cut the mustard at all.

    • 0 avatar

      Two limited-production and expensive specials aren’t enough to spread greatness across the Lancia marque as a whole. You could cherry-pick such specials from nearly any make. How much does the SHO elevate the bread-and-butter Ford Taurus? Does the Corvette ZR-1 really make Chevrolet more desirable overall. Do the ’90s Supra, MR2, and Lexus LF-A rescue Toyota from overbearing beige-ness? Lancia hasn’t lived up to anything in nearly two decades.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    I don’t know if I should cry or vomit.

  • avatar

    Only time will tell whether the Thesis was a misunderstood luxury masterpiece, whether the Kappa Coupé just a charming folly or even if the humble Ypsilon bicolore hasn’t deserved its place in the automotive pantheon of greatness. I would have never placed Lancia in the same category of Toyota’s overbearing beige-ness (kudos for that phrase though!), not until I saw those pictures of rebadged Chryslers. Even if the brand underperformed in the last years, I guess this has got to be the end, I wonder what the great minds of Fiat-Chrysler have in store for Alfa Romeo?

    • 0 avatar

      Dude, we Americans would be pleased to do nothing more than to sell these Chryslers on their own merits, under the Chrysler name. It’s too bad, really– that all we can do is watch them whored-out to a bunch of tasteless Italians :)

      QUITCHERBITCHIN and realize this is Chrysler and Lancia’s future. We can no more stop this than we can stop the Earth turning.

      Take the frustration you’re feeling and turn it up to 1,000– That’s the way we MOPAR men have felt since 1997. Get used to it.


    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      At least your nameplate still exists.
      A Frustrated Oldsmobile and Pontiac Fan

    • 0 avatar

      Rats, Dan! You mentioned Oldsmobile. I truly wanted a first-gen Aurora – the back end tail light strip reminded me of of the flashing lighted area representing Robbie the Robot’s mouth on one of my favorite movies starring your brilliant avatar: “Forbidden Planet”! Did I mention some time ago how much I drolled over the late ’60’s Cutlasses. Certain mid-70’s and early 80’s models weren’t too shabby, either. Other than that, I have no real comment on this thread, except agreeing with your comment!

    • 0 avatar
      Educator(of teachers)Dan

      The Aurora is the last Oldsmobile my father ever lusted over.  (He’s still alive, only 55 years old, but still, he had been a died in the wool Oldsmobile man.)  I keep thinking I should pick up an Aurora but they’re quickly being “donk-ed out” by young men with more money than brains.

  • avatar

    These two cars will improve what’s left of Lancia’s reputation.  Any continental buyer who will test drive and can afford the new Thema will think he died and went to automotive heaven.  Being  larger car than most Europeans are used to, the new Flavia will also seem luxurious and a good value.

  • avatar

    I really don’t see the problem here.  The 200 and 300 aren’t bad cars, and Lancia have been bad for quite some time.  And the styling direction of the two brands aren’t that far off.  It’s a logical move to merge the brands and rebadge these cars for Europe.
    Whether or not the Europeans will go for it is another matter entirely.

  • avatar

    Virgil Exner would roll in his grave that a Chrysler flagship like the 300 would where the badge of the makers of the last car in that video, so….turnabout’s fair game?

  • avatar

    Gentlemen! They’re only rebadged for the first iteration because Sergio doesn’t have the money to change the sheet metal. Underneath the Thema/300 is a Mercedes platform, and Sergio probably thinks that’s Lancia’s ticket back to respectability.
    The 200/Flavia? well, in order to generate cash for new sheet metal, you have to sell something in the midsize category. Even the 200 is a stopgap, until the  wider, multi-length platform is ready. Sergio is obviously hoping minor tweaks and style will sell well enough short term to pay for the future. He’s also probably hoping the Jeep brand will sell a lot of AWD Fiats around the world.
    The thing you have to realize, though, is that Lancia will be the top of the line with Chrysler a cut or two below, eventually to be squeezed by upgraded Dodge models. Expect the Chrysler nameplate to be gone in a few years, leaving only Dodges and Ram trucks for the American market and Jeep a “world” brand of disguised Fiats.

  • avatar

    Look in my youtube for the test drive of the DODGE CHARGER SE.

  • avatar
    Tommy Boy

    Reminds of the mid-1980’s “Chrysler TC by Maserati” (or was it the other way around)?

  • avatar

    When you call rebadging Chrysler junk improving the reputation of a nameplate, you have to be desperate…

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