As Stellantis prepares for the relaunch of Lancia, let’s remember how the brand literally sank ten years ago by offering models completely foreign to the Turin brand’s philosophy.
There is no question of leaving Lancia. Now that the Turin manufacturer is included in the Stellantis Group’s large catalog, the PSA and FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) mergers, leaders want to breathe new life into this prestigious brand, which has lost all its luster over the past two years. . In a situation of almost clinical death, Lancia currently sells its Ypsilon city car only in Italy and nowhere else (with some success in our Transalpine neighbors). But how did Lancia come to the dilapidation that all its competitors in Europe dreamed of until the late 1980s?
The strategy decided by the FCA at the beginning of 2010 is undoubtedly much related to this. At the time, Sergio Marchionne focused on relaunching Alfa Romeo and Maserati, but decided not to complicate life too much with the Lancia brand, which was already in desperate need with an aging range and declining sales. His idea? Change the designation of American Chrysler models to integrate them into the Lancia range and market them in Europe. Since 2011, visitors to the Geneva Motor Show have been frightened when they discover the new Lancia Voyager, a large minivan we previously knew under the coat of arms of an American manufacturer. In the same year, the Chrysler 300 became the Lancia Thema with a barely redesigned front end and a development adapted to the hustle and bustle. And in 2012, Europeans discovered the Lancia Flavia, which was none other than a Chrysler 200 Cabriolet with a different name. Theme, Flavia: two almost legendary names in the history of Lancia, which are so stuck to large American cars very far from the DNA brand. No wonder no one wants that.
Since 2014, Lancia has withdrawn these three models from its European catalog and has decided to withdraw to the only Italian market where Ypsilon continues to attract. In addition to commercial failure, these engine models, which do not meet the needs of the old continent, are also hampered by new certification standards and the advent of car penalty systems, which are too greedy in most countries. And even today, encountering the Chrysler Voyager street with the Lancia badge is still just as unusual …