This week, Lancia is making its comeback. But the chief complainer of Automobile Propre wonders what is the point of relaunching such a dusty label.
Among the cinema releases this week, a car film, which we can even see in the capital, before a vote perhaps bans it: “Race for glory – Audi vs Lancia”. This feature film depicts the duel between the two brands in rallying during the 1983 season.
Enough to bring back good memories in more than one way. To the oldest who remember this “legendary confrontation” as it is written on the poster. More generally to those who remember this discipline called rallying. Ah, people whisper in my ear that the WRC still exists. First news.
Well then at least it will evoke memories of Audi. What do you mean Audi isn’t dead? But the brand has not presented a real new model for several years. I thought the rings were abandoned to me. Lancia, is he really dead? Not yet ?!
Disappeared for several years here, the label only survives in Italy. Its offering is limited to a very old Ypsilon, initially appearing in 2011. However, even with its canonical age, the car still sells well at home, helped by tight prices. Lancia, on the other hand, seemed doomed once this model reached the end of its run.
But that was before the creation of Stellantis, the big merger between FCA (Fiat-Chrysler) and PSA. This marriage, officially recorded at the start of 2021, gave birth to a mega-group of 14 brands. For Carlos Tavares, who was at the head of PSA and who took control of Stellantis, each logo would have its chance!
An almost surprising decision on the part of a cost-killer who, to break profitability records, asks his teams to streamline as much as possible in order to save money. Sometimes with major hiccups, for example a reorganization of logistics which turned into a fiasco and seriously disrupted the delivery of vehicles.
The temptation could therefore have been strong to eliminate a few almost dead brands to clean up in the face of an overflow of labels, such as Chrysler in the USA and Lancia in Europe. However, it was unthinkable not to have an outcry when the marriage was already raising fears for jobs on both sides of the Alps.
So here is Lancia relaunched. As a car enthusiast, I could be delighted to see a historic label reborn, as was the case for Alpine. But the complaining side takes over here, Lancia, there is no real hype.
If Alpine died the first time with a poor finish with the A610, its comeback was made with an exciting and convincing product. There at Lancia, what is being prepared does not really appeal to me. Because if Lancia has another chance, it will be with Tavares. In short, you have to be profitable quickly, otherwise it’s a broom.
And who says profitability at Stellantis, says savings. Lancia is therefore relaunched with a modest plan, whether in the network or the range. By 2028, only three vehicles are planned. The first arrives this year, it is a new generation of the Ypsilon. This will be revealed in detail in a few days, shortly after the release of “Race for Glory”. Chance ?
Lancia unveils the new Ypsilon, its first electric model
To design its new Ypsilon, Lancia followed the new house rule: we rebody an existing model. The car is therefore a “redressed” 208. A strategy already used by Opel for the Corsa. But here, we are still talking about a brand which is officially placed in the premium pole of Stellantis. If we follow logic, the Ypsilon therefore looks more expensive than an equivalent 208. All this while providing what? A little velvet on the doors and a mini-table on the central console covered in leather?
This is also one of Stellantis’ big concerns. There are many brands that target the same clientele and that are already annoying each other. Added to this is the fact that the same technical base, or even the same silhouette, is used by labels with different positions.
Basically, everyone is offering the same car, with just partially revised looks, at varying prices linked to the value of the logo. An electric Jeep Avenger offers the same thing as a Fiat 600e, but for a few thousand euros more, because Jeep is trendy.
Mind you, this exists in other groups, for example with Skoda/Volkswagen/Audi. But here what is the value of the Lancia logo? It’s still a dusty name, an image of outdated Italian baroque chic. The last glorious era ultimately dates back a long way, those famous rally years until the beginning of the 1990s. Lancia then declined and was completely massacred by having to rebadge Chryslers.
So here he is back, content to review a 208, a model which will be his base and his most annoying competitor. Especially since Peugeot, for its part, has moved upmarket… even if it means hampering Stellantis premiums. Clearly, what Peugeot has become is a real embarrassment for DS, whose sales are struggling to take off, and which is ultimately a bit like our Lancia. At DS, we have the same engines and technologies at Peugeot, everything seems to be based on a discourse of French craftsmanship with “clous de paris” and “leather bracelet”. Lancia will surely play the “Quality craftsmen”. And There you go…
We don’t forget the existence on the Italian side of Alfa Romeo, which is still struggling to convince. Oh certainly, the cloverleaf firm highlights good percentage progressions, but the scores still remain far from the competition…
We therefore wonder whether it was really necessary to relaunch Lancia and not instead concentrate efforts to conquer the premium market on labels which are already moribund.
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