Italian renaissance: Iconic brands headed for new glory days
Monday 15th March, 2021 - 10:31am
Top Gear famous dubbed Lancia the greatest car company in history – but the Italian brand has been a shadow of its former self for decades.
Once it produced iconic models like the Stratos, 037 and Integrale, these days Lancia is limited to the Ypsilon city car (basically a rebodied Fiat Punto). But that looks set to change under the new Stellantis merger.
The coming together for French giant PSA Group and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles could result in renewed investment in both Lancia and Alfa Romeo, as part of a premium focus for Stellantis. Just last week the company ditched plans to relaunch Peugeot in the USA, instead putting more effort behind Alfa Romeo’s US hopes.
Alfa Romeo had enjoyed significant investment under FCA, with the all-new Giulia and Stelvio launched in recent years, but slow sales led to scaling back of the brand’s ambitious plans – with the GTV and 8C sports cars axed.
Now Stellantis chairman John Elkann has revealed that both Lancia and Alfa Romeo will enjoy more investment, in partnership with PSA’s luxury Citroen spin-off, DS. The three brands are reportedly set to share a new generation of platforms and engines due to launch by 2024.
Speaking to Italian TV network Rai, Elkann said: “We’ve seen it clearly with some brands like Alfa Romeo and Lancia, on which we could not invest or give resources as much as we wanted in recent years.
“In this new group there will be much greater opportunities than in the past for these two brands, which are based in Turin.”
Exactly what this new investment means remains unclear, although it’s a safe bet the focus will be on SUVs given the market demand. However, given Lancia’s history with rallying and performance cars we can only hope we get a revived Stratos or Delta Integrale hero model to help make the brand something special again.