Of all the detailed plans to emerge from the Fiat and Chrysler press conference in Detroit last night, the one that really struck a chord with me was the merging of Chrysler and Lancia.It makes sense, when you think about it. Both are brands with pretensions of grandeur and both have very little impact outside of their home territories.

Yet both could easily capitalise by producing cars that have a clear differentiation from the norm.

The could focus on design, comfort and democratising luxury, rather than trying to beat everyone else on the same terms (not trying to be German, in other words).

It isn’t going to be easy, though. Chrysler and Lancia are tarnished brands and you get the impression that both could easily go under if Fiat’s plans don’t work.

Neither is it going to be easy to produce top-quality cars based on a Chrysler 300C platform, albeit a polished one with new engines.

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