Lancia is to become an Italy-only brand, the chiefs of parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have confirmed, and the long-term future for the legendary Turin brand remains unclear.
Lancia was conspicuous by its near-absence from the presentation of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ plans for its individual brands over the next five years. One of the few mentions of Lancia came in a presentation made by Alfredo Altavilla, Chief Operating Officer for the Europe, Africa and Middle East (EMEA).
Referring to FCA’s dealer network across the region, Altavilla said the plan was to “reorganise the network coherently with Lancia becoming an Italy-driven brand”. This reaffirms the relatively insignificant position the Lancia brand occupies in the new-look Fiat-Chrysler organisation, a topic touched upon by Sergio Marchionne at the Geneva motor show back in March.
When Fiat and Chrysler first got together, Marchionne saw close synergies between Lancia and Chrysler, and launched a glut of badge-engineered Chryslers as Lancias in Europe. In the UK, the reverse happened, with Chrysler models joined by badge-engineered versions of the Ypsilon and Delta.
The plan has not been a success, with Fiat chief Sergio Marchionne confirming earlier this year that all the Lancia-badged Chryslers were to be axed, along with the Delta, meaning Lancia would have just one model, the Ypsilon, which will only be sold in Italy.
At the Geneva show Marchionne said: “We have curtailed our ambitions for Lancia. The market has moved on and not every opportunity can be realised.”
FCA’s sales expectations for the EMEA region for 2018 has the Lancia, Chrysler, Dodge and Ram brands contributing 80,000 sales towards the group’s total volume of 1.5m vehicles. But while key FCA companies such as Jeep, Alfa Romeo and Fiat are expected to make significant sales rises as part of the five-year plan, Lancia’s sales are predicted to remain stagnant.
By 2018 the current Ypsilon would be coming to the end of its model life, which could seem a natural point at which to phase out the Lancia brand entirely.
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