Sunday, February 27, 2011

Lancia Could Sell the Ypsilon and Delta in the U.S., Has No Plans to Revive HF Integrale or Fulvia

When announcing the new Ypsilon’s key role in Lancia’s turnaround strategy at a press event Carscoop attended in Turin, Italy, earlier this week, company officials told us that the small car could be sold in the States under the Chrysler brand if American buyers will show enough interest towards the recently launched U.S.-spec Fiat 500. Furthermore, the same could happen with the Delta.

On the other hand, Lancia's people told us the company has no plans to revive famous nameplates such as the HF Integrale and Fulvia, simply stating that there’s no market for Lancia sports cars.

Although in its current state, the new Ypsilon doesn’t comply with U.S. standards, Lancia Product Manager Claudio Nervi told us that it could be “easily federalized” and that logistically “it's not a problem, as the Ypsilon could be produced at the [Fiat Group’s] Mexican plant”. However, Nervi also pointed out the decision depends “on the performance of the Fiat 500 in the US”.

Should a Chrysler variant of the Ypsilon get the green light, the styling will not be altered. "Changes will be mostly technical, regarding especially the electrics of the car”, Nervi told Carscoop.

The Chrysler version of the Delta hatchback, which was shown at the 2010 Detroit Motor Show, could also join the Ypsilon in the U.S. According to Claudio Nervi, the show car was well received by the American public, but a final decision has not yet been made.

As far as sports cars are concerned, the news isn't good for Lancia fans. “Lancia stands for comfort, craftsmanship and luxury. We want to grow based on these values”, said Nervi adding that Lancia isn’t “trying to deny it’s past, but it needs volume first”, which cannot be provided by a revived HF Integrale or Fulvia.

Lancia Communications Director Rino Drogo also pointed out that “customer preference has shifted over the years and clients aren’t looking for sporty Lancias anymore”.

“Let’s leave the sports cars for our cousin Alfa Romeo, who has sportiness in its DNA”, Nervi concluded.

By Csaba Daradics




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