Lancia returns with 10-year restoration plan

Lancia returns with 10-year restoration plan

Stellantis has been talking about the prospect of reviving the Lancia brand for months, hinting that the returning Delta is even part of the deal. While still technically active, the historic Italian company has transitioned into a line of revamped Chrysler products and now produces the Ypsilon (based on the Fiat 500) as its unique offering in Europe.

However, some die-hard fans of the nameplate took offense after it was revealed that the Delta would be an all-electric vehicle by October 2021. As time went on, the manufacturer vowed that the model would be a worthy successor to performance models such as the HF Integrale. But continued to push for electrification as a vital part of Lancia’s revival and… formally launched its overarching plan for the brand

According to Stellantis, a strategic 10-year plan has been drawn up to deliver a new Lancia every few years. However, as the first vehicle won’t arrive until 2024, that means just three vehicles – which should still provide sufficient coverage of the European market, according to the manufacturer.

Apparently there may still be room for combustion-based energy. The plan outlines “100” [percent] electric vehicles” after 2026, indicating that the first models can be supplied with an optional hybridized powertrain. Although the variant would have a rather short lifespan, as Lancia’s current strategy requires the brand to stop selling anything but pure electric vehicles by 2028. In addition, the company said it wouldn’t even bother offering non-EVs after 2026 to comply with regional emissions laws. More realistically, the company will likely just stick around the current combustion-dependent Ypsilon as it starts offering BEVs.

From Stellantis:

Lancia’s ten-year plan will start in 2024 with the new Lancia Ypsilon, which will be about 4 meters long, belonging to the B segment and will be launched with a 100 [percent] electric powertrain. In 2026, the new flagship, 4.6 meters long, will allow the brand to enter the largest segment in Europe. 2028 will be the year of the new 4.4 meter long
Delta”, a sculpted and muscular car, with geometric lines, which will attract car enthusiasts all over Europe.

These three new models will be 50 . cover [percent] of the market and will have an obligation to contribute to improving Stellantis’ performance in its premium and luxury cluster, as outlined in Stellantis’ “Dare Forward 2030” strategic plan.

A ten-year plan with a clear electrification strategy, from 2026 the brand will only have 100 . launch [percent] electric models and from 2028 they will only sell 100 [percent] electric models. Much attention to the electrification process, but not only. In addition, wide use of innovative materials from Lancia will make the Stellantis brand with the highest percentage of recycled content, with 50 [percent] of touchable surfaces made from environmentally friendly materials to contribute to a better world for future generations.

The company stated that the vehicles’ interiors would offer “a quintessentially Italian elegance” inspired by the “exclusive materials of its earlier iconic vehicles”. It named the Gamma, Thema and Flavia, adding that next-generation Lancia products would provide a comfortable environment with simple, easy-to-use technology. That means minimalist interiors where you are completely dependent on the central touchscreen or any electronic help for rudimentary tasks.

As an American, my nostalgia for Lancia is largely secondhand and steeped in a golden era that ended around the time I was born. Reading the relevant forums taught me that this is not what some fans expected. Some even seem genuinely offended that Stellantis would tarnish the Lancia name by building minimalist EVs. But from my point of view, basic transportation is about all the brand seems to have stood for in modern times. All of his best racers have been shut down for decades and the rest of his cars have been forgotten with all the grace of General Motors’ L platform.

That said, it’s hard to see this strategy working in the long term unless electric vehicle ownership is normalized across Europe within a handful of years. Stellantis also talks about selling these vehicles as premium luxury products with minimalist interiors with lots of recycled materials. While we shouldn’t be overbearing, that can translate into spartan and decidedly non-luxurious cabins full of low-quality soft furnishings. I suppose it all comes down to how much these vehicles cost and what they look like behind the wheel.

Anyway, we probably won’t see them in North America. Stellantis has admitted that the Lancia brand is laser-focused on the European market for now, and it’s hard to imagine the Ypsilon 2024 going to be a big hit here anyway. The company also wants to emphasize online sales where possible, which could cause legal problems in the United States. Lancia hopes to relaunch in a few years with a network of dealers occupying 60 major cities in Europe, with online sales representing 50 percent of its annual volume.

“Today is an important day,” said Luca Napolitano, CEO of Lancia, “Lancia is now ready for Europe, taking a first step towards becoming a credible and respected brand in the premium segment. Our 10-year plan, approved last September , is now taking shape step by step. We are the Italian brand Elegance and this is our Renaissance. Innovation and timeless Design have always been our core values ​​and we want to add sustainability, customer focus and responsibility, because we look to the future with great ambition .”

Leadership certainly seems excited. But, as Napolitano said, this is only the first step towards restoring Lancia’s mojo.

[Image: Stellantis]

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