14 January 2014

Lancia being phased out

Fiat have decided to pull the plug on Lancia in Europe, but will remain in Italy.

THIS could be seen as a controversial move made by Sergio Marchionne and Fiat bosses on axing the Lancia name outside of Europe. In the near future, they've confirmed the only car to be sold with a Lancia badge will be the Ypsilon - only in Italy. 

Ypsilon selling well. Other cars in Lancia's line up are not.

For years, Lancia have been on the decline. One of the main reasons behind it has been parent company Fiat, under investing, neglecting and not knowing what to do with Lancia. That will have contributed to the Italian brand's downfall. 

With their recent cars, the Ypsilon (pictured left) was the best seller in Lancia’s line up. But the majority of sales were in Italy, and was also the third-best selling car in that country last year.

Outside of its domestic market, Lancia have sold nowhere near as many. To add insult to injury, the rest of the cars in Lancia’s line up have been slow sellers – even in Italy. Last year, Lancia only managed to sell 57,000 cars.

Another problem is that Lancia have been too reliant on the Italian market, of which is where it accounts for the majority of cars they sell. The sales of new cars in Italy have dropped by around 50 percent since 2007 according to Government statistics. This is largely due to the fact that Italy is also facing an economic meltdown. That itself will do Lancia no favours at all. Outside of Italy, no one really buys them.

There is a pattern of history repeating itself for Lancia and/or the Fiat Group. It's not the first time Lancia have pulled out of markets. The last time they did, was pulling out of the right hand drive markets such as Britain and Ireland back in 1994 due to poor sales. They'll be pulling out of Europe and that is - you got that right - down to poor sales.

Where Lancia will be in the near future, is in a similar position to where Autobianchi was in the late 1980s. At that time, Fiat relegated the Autobianchi name only to the Italian market, and they only had a single model in their line-up with a re-badged Lancia Y10 (pictured right).

What will happen to Lancia in future, is that they will only sell the Ypsilon within the Italian borders. Sergio Marchionne has not yet set in stone of when it will take place, but it's likely to be within the next year or two.

It's a sad state of affairs for Lancia. Formerly a once-proud Italian marque, that made beautiful and interesting cars. That were innovative, refined, well engineered, and had sporting pedigree in the best possible taste. Lancia made some great cars like the: Aurelia, Flavia, Flaminia, Fulvia, Gamma, Stratos, 037, Montecarlo, Delta Integrale and the Thema 8.32. They were also a manufacturer that took the world by storm in motorsport - but they'll always be known for their success in rallying.

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