15 February 2011

FIAT to Display Chrysler 300-based 2012 Lancia Thema in Geneva

2012 Lancia Thema

A number of Chrysler-based Lancias -for sale in Europe- will debut as concepts at the Geneva Motor Show next month, FIAT has announced...

Chrysler's Italian partner, Fiat SpA, will show versions of the Chrysler 200 and 300, as well as the Town & Country minivan. But they will be sold in Europe as the Lancia Flavia midsize sedan and convertible, the Lancia Thema full-size sedan and the Grand Voyager minivan, respectively.

Shortly after the two automakers formed a partnership in 2009, CEO Sergio Marchionne decided to meld future Chrysler and Lancia brand products. They will be sold as Chryslers in North America, and Lancias in most of Europe.

Both brands strive to compete as near-luxury vehicles and have similar styling, making their melding relatively easy for engineers and designers on both sides of the ocean. The goal is economies of scale for savings in developing and manufacturing the vehicles while filling out the portfolios of both brands.

The Thema goes on sale in Europe in October with Chrysler's Pentastar 3.6-liter gas engine with an eight-speed automatic transmission or a 3-liter V-6 turbodiesel from Italy's VM Motori with a five-speed automatic.

The Lancia brand has been without a flagship sedan since the poor-selling Thesis sedan was discontinued in 2009 after seven years on the market.

Moving down a size, the Flavia concept shows what could be done with the Chrysler 200 sedan and convertible.

Fiat could start production of the Flavia for European markets within six months of getting approval to offer the car in Europe.

The Chrysler 200 mid-cycle upgrade on which the Flavia would be based will be replaced by an all-new vehicle in 2013.

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