Open mic

Open mic: What do you think should happen to Lancia?

Last year, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne announced plans to euthanize the 108-year old Lancia brand. Speaking at a press conference, the executive announced that Lancia will become an Italy-only brand that will exclusively sell the Ypsilon city car. That means the Delta, the Thema and the Voyager will not be replaced – we can already hear some of you say “good riddance.”

Lancia’s downsizing is already in progress. The Thema is no longer listed on the company’s consumer website and dealers all across Europe are starting to receive letters that officially announce the end of the brand.

The automaker’s booth at this year’s Geneva Motor Show was downright depressing because the only cars on display were a handful of Ypsilons. One of them was a limited-edition model built to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Panda-based Y10, but Lancia couldn’t even be bothered to pull an early model out of storage to commemorate the occasion.

lancia-2015-geneva-motor-show-1

(Similarly, we couldn’t be bothered with getting our SLR camera out to get a pic of the stand, so this low-quality cell phone pics will have to suffice.)

We’re certainly not economists here but we think it’s fair to point out that we predicted Lancia’s demise all the way back in 2008 when the the current-gen Delta was introduced. It’s unfortunate to see the company go but it could be worse, frankly we’d rather see Lancia get deep-sixed for good than follow Rover’s deplorable path.

What do you think Fiat should do with Lancia? Kill it, sell it, invest in it? The third option sounds lovely but Marchionne has a point: How do you differentiate Lancia from Alfa? Both are supposed to be higher-end premium companies whose cars fight head-to-head against Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW. You can’t really position Lancia above Alfa (or vice versa) without stepping on Maserati’s toes.

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7 thoughts on “Open mic: What do you think should happen to Lancia?

  1. Hmmm, good question. Sergio has his hands full reviving Alfa. It’s also shocking what he did putting the Lancia shield on the noses of some of old Chrysler’s worst output. I suggest he should either spin it off to some Chinese new money with a guarantee that they’ll look after the brand as Geely seem to be doing with Volvo, or, more interestingly, sell it to Ford who (despite their woeful misuse of Ghia and Vignale) did a good job with JLR and Aston Martin before they panicked and had a fire sale. VW is already stuffed with brands but – er how about Renault or PSA, two companies woefully lacking a premium brand…? Desperate times, desperate measures.

    • I don’t see Ford wanting an upscale brand. They don’t know how to use Lincoln as it is.
      Renault is managing as it is. PSA has the DS line so they don’t need a boutique brand. My solution is outlined below.

  2. Heart says save head says give it the bullet. Its been years since Lancia did anything with flair other than putting oddball – the unkind could say ugly – faces on FIAT run of the mill models. Long gone are the innovative narrow angle V4’s or the styling advances of say the Beta or the excitement of the astonishing Thema 8.32

    Lancia died some time ago and like Richard the 3rd today its remains are being properly interred as a mark pf respect.

  3. Pingback: Post-production: The week in review | Ran When Parked

  4. Answer: run them parallel with no bodystyle overlap at any price point. At the same time make Alfas that nod at their design heritage but use sporting suspension and make Lancia very modern but with suspension tuned for comfort. That way customers avoid the young/old man’s car problem. Off the top of my head the range begins with an Alfa 5-door in the Golf class, a Lancia saloon (like a Jetta), Alfa Spider, Lancia shooting brake, Alfa 4-door saloon (3-series competitor) Lancia coupe (to match Mercedes C-class coupe), Alfa 167 (5-series car and Lancia estate car on the same platform. How about that?

  5. Note: BMW and Mercedes aren’t monolithic. Some of their cars are real sportscars and some a quite soft and comfy. Alfa can’t attack both strands but Alfa and Lancia could if Lancia was a modern/comfort car and Alfa was a classic/sporty car.

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