16 October 2009

Chrysler, Lancia to Share Products?

It is now rumored that Italy's Lancia brand -an upscale car that is luxury/sport, as opposed to Alfa Romeo's sport/luxury- might be sharing models/platforms with a Chrysler brand that parent company FIAT clearly has big plans for.

Lancia has had a turbulent past -like Alfa, Maserati, and other Italian marques- but has made a comeback of sorts in recent years. Americans might best know the brand for it's 7 World Rally Championships... and subsequent appearance in Sega Rally video games with the 1990's Delta Integrale. The Lancia brand -owned by FIAT since 1969- was also sold in the United States until 1983.
I myself had a mid-engined 1977 Lancia Scorpion -pictured below- for over ten years... coolest car I've ever had. Marketed in Europe as the Monte Carlo, the car is a rare sight Stateside- with only a little over 600 examples of my 1977 model imported:

This niche brand may become a far more significant player if FIAT does indeed integrate Lancia with Chrysler's European and American market lines. The appointment of Lancia CEO Olivier Francois as the new head of the Chrysler division is a clear indication that the two brands will become more closely entwined. In fact, several reports are claiming that Chrysler and Lancia will share products across their respective ranges, including everything from small hatchbacks to full-sizesedans.
Lancia is expected to get its own version of the Chrysler 300 sedan as a replacement for its outgoing Thesis flagship sedan, and in return Chrysler would get its own version of the Ypsilon minicar to sell in Europe.
The move is part of Fiat’s plan to bolster Chrysler’s sales in Europe, especially since there are claims that the Dodge brand could be withdrawn from the European market altogether.
The story doesn’t end there, however. While the Lancia brand will most likely be sold in Europe only, there’s a chance that one model, the Delta, could eventually be sold in the U.S. wearing a Chrysler badge.

h/t- Autocar UK

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