Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne is said to be seriously considering dumping the Lancia brand. This is sad news those petrol-heads who drooled over iconic models such as the mighty Lancia Stratos and the boy racers dream car, the gorgeous Lancia Delta HF Integrale.
The Lancia name has been around for well over 100 years, since November 1906, in fact. Unfortunately, many 1970s and 1980s Lancia models were dogged with reports of unreliability and rust problems.
Despite these issues, Lancia has never been without fans. Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear fame, a man known for never pulling his punches where cars are concerned, had this to say about Lancia:
I firmly believe that in the past hundred years Lancia has made more truly great cars than any other brand.
High praise indeed. Clarkson is fully aware of Lancias various faults, but owing to how great the cars looked and how well they went, he’s prepared to give the marque plenty of positive leeway.
An old family friend in the UK, a real car buff too, was a Lancia fan. He had at least two Lancia Betas, one of which I, or he, famously shot with an errant arrow. The arrow left quite a dent in the rear of the car, I seem to remember. Oops! Anyway, I digress.
The point is that Lancia is an Italian marque which really should be saved and developed. Perhaps it could become the European version of the Tesla and produce innovative sporty electric cars? Just a thought, even if Lancia purists will consider it heretical, I’m sure.
I wonder whether Fiat/Chrysler boss Marchionne might consider licencing the brand to another manufacturer. A term of the licensing agreement could be to keep design, manufacture or assembly in Italy, thus creating a few jobs. It is, after all, Italian creativity which led to Lancia making more truly great cars than any other brand, so keeping Lancia in Italy would be no bad thing.
What say you? Save Lancia, or just let this iconic Italian marque rust silently away?
Feature photo by Stahlkocher
Lancia Stratos photo by Tennen-Gas
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