Talk of Lancia being reduced to a single model (Ypsilon) and a single market (Italy) is not new, but it appears that the Italian carmaker is heading very quickly in this direction.
According to a report from Bloomberg, within two years Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne will reduce Lancia to a single model marque that will be sold only in Italy. Since Lancia has little appeal outside its home market (according to officials, that is), analysts view this move as rational. FCA is focusing on revamping brands with global potential like Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Jeep.
Lancia’s European sales tumbled 20 percent last year, despite (or because of) rebadging Chrysler models as Lancia. Consequently, by 2016, Lancia will only sell the Ypsilon, the report said, citing a person familiar with the plan. Lancia will stop making the Delta compact this year, with the Voyager to be axed next year, as Chrysler stops rebadging models for the brand. The source also said Lancia will restyle the Ypsilon next year.
The Lancia brand is now grouped with Chrysler in Europe, with Fiat expecting them to sell 80,000 vehicles combined in 2018. That compares to about 75,000 deliveries for Lancia last year. The modest target is a slap in the face for Marchionne, who in 2010 said Lancia would sell 300,000 vehicles in 2014.
So why doesn’t Fiat shut down Lancia completely? According to analysts, in doing so, Fiat keeps its options open until other models hit the market to fill the gap. “Marchionne may wait for Alfa Romeo’s strategy to yield its first results before killing the brand,” said Ian Fletcher, an analyst with IHS Automotive.
By Dan Mihalascu