FCA cooks up another unicorn – this one’s Delta-shaped.
A short while ago, Autocar’s Hilton Holloway posited a future for the Lancia brand. His wasn’t the first or even the best – (that honour lies elsewhere) – in fact his suggestions struck me as being lamentably short-termist in scope. Basically, he proposed that FCA revive Lancia with a series of retro-inspired cars based upon past icons. A revived Stratos, spun off the Alfa 4C platform and a Delta Integrale, based on the Giulietta. Low volume, high margin products, aimed at enthusiasts with a view to re-establishing Lancia’s credentials with a marketplace that now only recognises the brand on the basis of their presence in online gaming.
Last week, Holloway posted a story on Autocar’s website suggesting senior FCA officials are agitating for a new Integrale to be built, prior to the marque being shuttered for good. Call it a swansong if you will, the last gasp of a once illustrious marque, now reduced to peddling perambulatory accessories to urban fashionistas. So while the idea of the final Lancia model being some fire-breathing four-wheel drive roadburner has some appeal, it not only seems pointless, but stands as a very one-dimensional send-off.
The Integrale was a fantastic car and nowadays an increasingly valuable one, but it existed far from Lancia’s traditional brand values. It was also something of a parts bin special – being an assortment of Fiat group components brilliantly synthesised into a formidable rally machine. Should any of this matter? Not really, considering the depths to which Lancia has sunk under Fiat’s suffocating hand. But with any new car having to be based upon a modified Alfa Giulietta platform, it’s likely to lose out to its predecessor in just about every parameter that doesn’t include outright speed, safety or toys. So why bother? Just make it as a Giulietta, save yourself a fortune you’ll never recoup and get on with unplugging the life support.
If there is any truth in this story, FCA’s management are even more delusional than I had previously feared and lord knows, that’s saying something. My view is it’s far more likely they’ll eke out the Ypsilon for as long as it’s viable before pulling the plug on the whole sorry business. And frankly, having already gone through the entire Kübler-Ross spectrum, I just wish they’d get on with it.