Not content with having laid out their stall for the next five years, FCA has further surprises in store.
Lancia is back! Driven to Write can reveal FCA’s secret plans to return the revered car brand to European and Chinese markets with five new models set to beat the established luxury elite at their own game.
While the mainstream press focused upon the Alfa Romeo and Jeep portions of FCA’s highly anticipated presentation last week, anonymous sources within the carmaker have revealed to us FCA’s bold plans for Lancia, encompassing as many as five new models to be introduced between now and 2022.
In a move that will bring cheer to innumerable fans of the heritage nameplate, Lancia’s endlessly delayed revival has finally been given the green light, CEO, Sergio Marchionne having confidentially revealed his plans to investors, telling them that it will be his “parting gift” as he steps down in roughly a year’s time.
The FCA source, speaking under conditions of anonymity revealed that Marchionne has been stung by repeated accusations that he’s responsible for starving the much-loved marque of investment and is said to be keen to show he’s not simply a slash and burn technocrat. “Mr. Marchionne doesn’t wish to go down in history as the man who killed Lancia”, our source said before adding, “he’s determined this will become his legacy.”
FCA’s ambitious plan will not only return the historic brand to a full product line up for the first time in decades and mark Lancia’s revival from Italy-only exile back into the heart of the European car market, but also spearhead its crucial push into China. Sources with knowledge of the matter are suggesting that each of the forthcoming Lancia range will bear a name taken from the marque’s storied past.
These are believed to include a minicar, (Atrocia), a C-segment CUV, (Apathia) a C/D segment crossover coupe/saloon (Implausia), a mid-engined supercar, (Futilia) and one other car, as yet unconfirmed, but believed to be the near-mythical Infamia. This still-secret model is rumoured to be a hybrid-only LWB luxury saloon, aimed specifically at the Chinese market. Details for now remain sketchy, but the well-placed FCA source confirmed that all models will employ a re-engineered variant of the carmaker’s SCCS scalable ‘small’ FWD platform.
Powertrains remain an unknown quantity, but one possible scenario could mark a return of Lancia’s ‘iconic’ boxer four from the much-respected Gamma model line to power the flagship Infamia saloon. Our FCA source did stress however that all available powertrains will be “class-leading”.
With five new models competing with established prestige brands across Europe and in China, where demand for luxury cars remains insatiable, our FCA source told us volumes of over 400,000 Lancia cars a year will be “the minimum we can expect.”
With FCA’s planners and engineers putting the finishing touches to the new Lancias, we canvassed leading auto industry analyst, Christian Knees for the market perspective who observed, “FCA’s strategy presentation last Friday was hugely entertaining, but this marks a whole new level.” Wiping away tears of hilarity, Knees added, “We really do enjoy Sergio Marchionne’s sense of humour. We’ll miss him when he goes.”
FCA’s press office was unavailable for comment.