Amongst the various news this year for Italian cars, one item that was uncomfortable reading was FCA’s decision to withdraw Lancia from Europe, making the carmaker now a one model only brand, available only in it’s homeland of Italy.
Many see this as the end of Lancia, to disappear before our very eyes, from a zero brand to hero brand in the 70’s and 80’s thanks to the beautiful Stratos, the awesome Delta Integrale, it quickly gained legendary status and then it all went crushingly wrong, a serious of badly built cars, coupled with poor management decisions saw the hero back to zero as quickly as it had risen, only this time there was to be no phoenix from the ashes story to be told.
Whilst we all love the current model’s from sister Italian carmaker Alfa Romeo with the Giulia, Giulietta, MiTo and new Stelvio, many Alfa fans can remember it not being that long ago when this famous brand itself was feared heading towards the exit door. Albeit it Alfa has never withdrawn from Europe like FCA have done so with Lancia, Alfa Romeo did seriously struggle, itself a one model only brand at one point, so could a similar turn around be possible for the hero rally brand.
I personally have said for a while, one option is to look at what VW have done with Skoda, this met with a fair share of criticism, which is fine, but Skoda was pretty much a dead carmaker, poorly built, nobody wanted them blah blah. It is feasible FCA could recreate Lancia in a similar mold, as they have pushed Alfa Romeo more upmarket to now compete comfortably with BMW, Mercedes and so on, is there now not a gap ready to be filled?
It would not be an overnight turnaround, neither was it for VW with Skoda, it took time and good marketing but it worked. We can only hope somebody at FCA can see the light and maybe in a few years we can have the headline – ‘2022 the Year of Lancia’…