Fiat has confirmed its plan to bring Chrysler-badged Lancias to the UK from next year - starting with a version of the Delta and including the next generation of Ypsilon city cars.
The Delta is due on sale in June; it will receive almost no modifications to become a Chrysler - just a front grille and a badge. Five engines will be offered (the line-up should include a twin-turbodiesel and 1.4-litre Multijet petrols) and sat-nav will be part of a high standard specification. Chrysler sources say the car’s pricing will be “very competitive” in the Focus/Golf sector.
The next-gen Ypsilon will arrive in the final quarter of 2011 - although the car will be officially revealed (as a Lancia) at the Geneva show in March. Chrysler UK expects to sell no more than 1800 examples of the car next year, but it believes the Ypsilon has “significant sales potential” in the longer term.
Existing Chrysler products - a facelifted 300C and the Grand Voyager - will continue to be offered alongside the Lancias.
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.”
Jeep will also revise its line-up; the new Grand Cherokee will be joined by the revised Patriot and Compass, which will be offered with front-drive for the first time outside the US. The firm will also launch a baby SUV in 2014; the car will be based on a Fiat platform and will be built in Italy.
There’s no return for Dodge, though; its name now disappears from Europe, although its Journey MPV/SUV crossover will continue to be sold there, as a Fiat. Humberstone said that the firm’s UK division could not make a business case for a right-hand-drive version of the car, though, so it won’t reach British dealers.