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Chrysler, Lancia to integrate by year’s end?

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Chrysler, Lancia to integrate by year’s end?

01/20/2010, 11:23 AMBY DREW JOHNSON

It’s no secret that Fiat plans to eventually meld the Chrysler and Lancia brands, but the speed of that global integration might come as a shock to some. According to Chrysler/Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne, Chrysler and Lancia could essentially become globally integrated by the end of 2010.

Chrysler is well versed in the production of large cars while Lancia specializes in smaller vehicleofferings. Marchionne envisions the combination of those two varying lineups, thereby creating a more full-line automaker.

“In Europe, Lancia is an undersized, underdeveloped brand, with nothing bigger than the Delta,” Marchionne told Autocar. “Chrysler, which has a true global reach, has nothing smaller. Put them together and you have a full line-up.”

Marchionne says the two brands could “converge as early as the end of the year”, aided by the fact that Fiat doesn’t sell the Lancia brand in the United States. Lancia showed a Chrysler-badged Delta model at the Detroit Auto Show, but neither company has announced plans for U.S. availability.



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There isn't much in Lancia's current lineup that Chrysler needs at the moment.

The Ypsilon and Musa are dated looking and hopelessly unattractive.

The Delta could work as a low volume replacement for the PT Cruiser if it was significantly modified (which I don't believe Fiat/Chrysler is willing to do). I would redo the hood, grille, and front fascia so that the front end would more closely resemble the beautiful 200C EV Concept. I would also eliminate the 2 tone look of the car; the roof, sideview mirror caps, and lower sections of the car would be altered to match the body color. Even with these revisions, I don't believe the Delta would do a lot to improve Chrysler's sales performance. The brand needs a sharp looking sedan in the compact segment much worse than it needs another 5-door hatchback to take over for the dated PT Cruiser.

Right now, Chrysler (the brand) needs to focus on the launch of the new 300 as well as nailing the proposed major revisions to the Sebring and Town & Country. I think that would do more to elevate the brand's perception and market performance than stuffing somewhat inappropriate small Lancia products into the brand's lineup.

I don't think an alignment of the Chrysler and Lancia brands is a bad idea, but a common design language needs to be developed that the 2 brands can share with minimal modifications. Bodystyles also need to be selected based on the preferences of a particular market.

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