The Fiat Group’s plan to reintroduce its premium brand Lancia to the UK market next year has been postponed indefinitely.
“Given the current global economic crisis, Fiat Auto has taken the decision to delay the reintroduction of the Lancia brand in right-hand-drive markets beyond 2009,” said Fiat in a statement.
A Fiat UK company insider told Autocar there was no new schedule in place for a later UK roll-out either.
“Right now it would be ill-advised to commit to a date on any relaunch of Lancia in Britain.”
Our source went on to suggest that the new £20k-plus Delta was simply the wrong car for the moment, and that relaunching the Lancia brand with it now “just wouldn’t make sense.”
He insisted that work would continue behind the scenes to bring more UK dealers onboard for a potential reintroduction. “Our work to prepare the ground for Lancia to come back won’t be wasted. We simply have to wait for things to get better.”
When asked if the UK roll-out would now be timed to coincide with the arrival of the new Ypsilon supermini, which could begin right-hand drive production in early 2010, the insider told Autocar that “all things are possible.”
The source wasn’t aware whether any Lancia deposits had been taken by dealers for UK deliveries of the new Delta in 2009, but insisted that any that had woud be returned.