Obituaries are probably premature, but has Lancia’s traditional Geneva presence been bulldozed in the Giulia frenzy?
Lancia was not on the Geneva exhibitors list, but I fully expected a few Ypsilons to show their fresh new face on a small, but rather stylish, stand in some enclave of Sergio’s Palexpo empire. It happened at Frankfurt, but not in Geneva – the traditional Lancia space was occupied by Abarth instead, with a rather jolly display of 124 Spiders and a 695 Biposto.
Billions of Euros are being invested in Alfa Romeo, Lancia’s demise at end of the current Ypsilon’s model cycle has been widely predicted, but the numbers, courtesy of Left-Lane, go some way to explaining the venerable Torinese marque’s durability:
Lancia European sales 2015: 61,652 (0.44%)
Alfa Romeo European sales 2015: 56,688 (0.40%)
FCA say that they expect worldwide Alfa Romeo sales for 2015 to be around 65,000. So around 8000 cars – expensively developed MiTos, Giuliettas, and 4Cs were sold outside Europe.
I rather like the Ypsilon; it’s a latter-day Ardea to the Delta’s Aprilia. True Lancisti will already be baying for my blood, but let’s not forget that before the Chrysler adventure, Lancia’s revival was Sergio’s big pet project, and the Tipo 844 Delta its embodiment. That car should have done far better, but the grand-chick of the White Hen, shaped in the Delta’s image, and built on a stretched Panda platform, has largely redressed the balance.
Delta production ended in 2014, the numbers are clouded by rebadged Chryslers, which no longer pollute the brand, but the last three years’ sales numbers offer encouragement, as does the Ypsilon’s second place in the Italian top ten in January 2016:
Will Lancia be allowed to wither and die? Anyone’s guess given Sergio’s capricious approach to product planning, but the numbers suggest that he needs to look again at what Lancia is doing right, and what it can do for FCA.