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.
7 thoughts on “That Ain’t No Way to Say Goodbye”
This is so illogical, I can almost believe it. A lose/lose situation. Option 1, The Nuovo Integrale is made and no-one wants it, because it means nothing to people who aren’t fixated on the original, and those who are view it as the lacklustre thing it probably will be and they close Lancia down. Option 2, The Nuovo Integrale is a fantastic car, a critical success, FSA make as many as they can, which is not enough and, having finally restored credibility to the Lancia name …. they close Lancia down.
As you point out Eoin, both the Integrale and the Stratos are really oddballs in the Lancia catalogue. They have no basis in Lanca’s engineering heritage. But they are the cars that many people under the age of 50 regard as quintessential Lancias. So really all the faffing about with dainty hatchbacks the past 20 years or so has probably been entirely the wrong course.
This proposal, if real, gives me deja-vu of MG Rover’s determination to waste precious cash developing the RWD, MG ZT V8, and that ridiculous hairy-chested sports coupe that started life as something else. That is, silly, ego-stimulated, vain sideshows whilst the rest of the company’s range ages into decrepitude and oblivion.
Someone please stop them.
‘…that ridiculous hairy-chested sports coupe that started life as something else.’
That would be the MG Xpower SV. According to Wikipidia:
“The MG XPower SV (Sport Veloce) is a sports car which was produced by MG Rover. Manufactured in Modena, Italy and finished at Longbridge, UK, it was based on the platform of the Qvale Mangusta, formerly the De Tomaso Biguà.”
The Rover XPower has the headlamps of the Fiat Punto – maybe the rear mirrirs are from the CX – so it was a real fine example of british craftmanship.
That’s the one! Total white elephant (in mango orange).
SV. Did you have to remind us of that bunch of avaricious, rank amateurs who finally did for poor old Rover? I feel another ‘lets’s kick the Phoenix Four’ post coming on. Where are they now? On the beach or at the golf club I guess.
Holloway´s virtual kite-flying doesn´t really go over at all. The only path for Lancia apart from shuttering is expensive and slow. It would demand a serious understanding of Lancia´s values which is highly unlikely. Eoin and I discussed that at another place and I still think a formula of cars paralleling Alfa Romeo would be the answer. For those of you unfamiliar with that brilliant plan, it meant each Alfa having a sister car at near the same price but offering a variant on the body shell format. For the Giulieta-sized car, there would be a Lancia saloon. For the Alfa Giulia there would be an estate or HPE and Lancia would have the honour of a full-size coupe majoring on comfort and overt modernity. All the Lancias would be bravely modern coupled with ride-biased suspension while Alfa would remain sport-biased and retro in style. That way there would be useful commonality and no cannibalisation of sales. That way FCA would get the most out of the two brands without costly re-engineering.
It´ll never happen but my offer to FCA for cheap consultancy still stands.