Fiat Chrysler Automobiles chief executive Sergio Marchionne has decided to build and market only a single model for the Lancia nameplate within two years. Fiat Chrysler plans to sell Lancia’s sole model – the Ypsilon -- only in Italy. Lancia, which allure has slowly faded in time -- became expendable in Fiat Chrysler’s quest to gain global recognition and volume.
Gianluca Spina, dean of Milan Polytechnic's business school, told Bloomberg that Marchionne’s decision to downsize Lancia is a rational decision for a global carmaker since the brand has no appeal outside Italy.
The Fiat Chrysler CEO is instead focusing on expanding its upscale Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands and on introducing Jeep vehicles around the world as he bids to end the carmaker’s financial bleeding in Europe and increase its global profits.
Fiat Chrysler has earmarked EUR55 billion ($75 billion) in investments in its five-year business plan, but Lancia is nowhere part of that overhaul because it lacks name recognition outside Europe.
Lancia once built popular curvy roadsters like the Aurelia Spider, and now has seen its present lineup trimmed to basic hatchbacks. Fiat had tried to revive demand for the brand by placing the badge on Chrysler models, but efforts failed with sales dropping 20 percent in 2013.
A person privy with the Fiat Chrysler’s business plan disclosed that by 2016, only the Ypsilon subcompact will remain in Lancia’s line-up. The carmaker will phase out sales of the Lancia Delta this year and the Voyager minivan in 2015, as Chrysler halts re-badging of models for the brand.
Fiat Chrysler plans next year to redesign the Ypsilon, which has been of its top-selling models in Italy in the past decade. [source: automotive news - sub. required]