At Autocar, as with all good consumer magazines, we report to you the reader, not the industry we work with.
But, as car enthusiasts, it stands to reason that we, like you, want to see the best in a car.
Try as I might, though, I’m struggling to work up too much enthusiasm for the new Lancia models - the re-branded Chryslers - displayed at the Geneva show.
The new Thema is a 300C – a car we don’t mind – while the Chrysler Voyager becomes, well, the Lancia Voyager. There’s the Flavia too, based on the 200, a car I haven’t driven but one I’m reliably informed is not exactly the soundest basis for a brand that once was a byword for the pinnacle of Italian style and luxury. I’ve had a poke around the interiors of all three and I can confirm that the pinnacle of Italian style and luxury they are not.
The deal is this, though: if these cars really were good enough, they’d sell even if they were Chryslers. If they’re not good enough, badging them as Lancias is not going to help either company a great deal.
But don’t take my word for it. Last night I spoke to a senior executive from a successful carmaker who’s lucky enough not to have to make decisions like re-badging a car with an inappropriate name. He had nothing to gain by giving his opinion, which was that “this is not going to work. By no means. It’s insulting to the intelligence of the people they think will buy these cars.”
When a bloke that ensconced in the business is prepared to say that, rather than just smile and wish them well, you know they’re onto a loser. Which is a shame on a lot of levels.