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My answer is: “I don’t know”. But as the owners obviously can’t themselves Lancia might be better off with the Chinese anyway. 

Actually I shouldn’t bother. It’s just that Lancia is my favourite automobile marque of them all*. And they can’t possibly be any worse off than now, as rumours are again circulating that the owners FCA might sell off Lancia.

The first new Lancia after the FIAT takeover i 1969 was the Beta: The Coupé in particular was a very pretty car, showing that a degree of component sharing could indeed work.

FCA who? Well, they were once better known as Fiat and Chrysler respectively, but even that they’ve chosen to loose in their perversely abstract new name.

Having originally started my working life as a consultant with a calculator myself, I should know one when I see one, and the current boss of FCA rings all the bells: Sergio Marchionne tosses around with the marques given to him like a child with an ADHD diagnosis. Not even three years have passed since his talks of reviving Lancia, shortly thereafter followed by talk of selling off.

The HPE-version of the Beta remains one of my favourite Lancias of newer times.

Then in late 2017 he surprised observers with hints of a new Lancia (a “crossover”, so I wouldn’t have bothered anyway) and now again those rumours of selling. Either time for selling seems too late to me anyway: Unless it was for a symbolic Italian Lire, that is. With the once great marque now a mere shadow of its former self, it seems questionable why anyone should want to buy the practically defunct marque, unless of course they’ve just woken up to find the head of a horse in their bed.

OK, OK, I’ll buy Lancia of you, Marchionne!!!!” (Stillphoto from “The Godfather”)

I’ve stopped worrying years ago, but now I’ve come to think of the Chinese as an actual possibility for Lancia. On one hand because it can’t get any worse. On the other hand because it could actually work: Aren’t Jaguar and Volvo actually doing quite well under some far flung exotic ownership? And didn’t the last few Lancias look like Chinese cars anyway?

“Lancia, oh, Lancia – where are thou”? Not in this piazza, it seems.

In reality I am more worried about who will take care of the Lancia Heritage, as that’s where the value of Lancia now lies anyway. Unfortunately it seems as if any average Chinese would have more luck with this than Marchionne.

Chinese Geely may sound like an oldschool hair product, but they are actually very ambitious on the car market and want to join the big league. Unfortunately their cars look like Lancias.

May I suggest a comitee of the Chinese People ruling Lancia?

Below is a gallery representing the current state of Lancia:

*Besides Maserati

8 Responses

  1. Tony Wawryk

    The decline of Lancia since the rusting Beta saga is nothing less than a motoring tragedy. Like you, Claus, I’m also a fan, particularly of their 60s and 70s cars, up to and including the Beta Coupe – the Fulvia was on my short list before I decided on my 02. What has since been sold bearing the Lancia badge dishonours the marque, and Fiat/Chrysler/FCA should hang their heads in shame. Sadly, I think Lancia’s days are numbered, and doubt the Chinese are the answer, though what/who is? What a legacy though – I have a feeling that preserving and maintaining it will be left to owners clubs and specialists.

    Reply
  2. Dave Leadbetter

    A revived Chinese Lancia would be taxidermy at best. The pulse has long since ceased…

    Even if it happened, there are only two ways I could see it going. Either it would become a sub prime brand for cheap badge engineered runabouts perhaps to compete with the likes of Dacia in Europe or the domestic Chinese brands. Or, they may run with the heritage idea and build “high end” sports cars beyond the reach of mere mortals but with a badge now tainted with impure provenance.

    Either way, I’d fail to see the point and the prospect of a full range of interesting cars providing a real alternative to the mainstream seem less than zero. I don’t think you can stitch a new head on this particular horse.

    Reply
  3. Anders Bilidt

    So here’s a controversial opinion for you: Seeing as I genuinely don’t care at all for any car currently produced, I also don’t really care what happens to Lancia at present. If current BMWs, Porsches, Maseratis, Alfa Romeos and Jaguars do nothing for me, I don’t see how a current Lancia should excite me regardless of who owns the proud old marque. So kill the brand, continue to torture it, or sell it off to a group of Chinese, whatever… I’m indifferent.

    What I do know, is that I desperately want to park either an early Flavia Coupé, a Fulvia Rallye or a Montecarlo in my garage! Or even better, how about all three of them together. Now that’s something which I am NOT indifferent about…

    Reply
  4. Tom

    What matters is the classics, they speak a thousand words. I think I am the only Lancia fan that believes it would be better to let the marque go – it cannot be truly revived by anyone other than the Italians. Would you still feel loyal to the marque if it was Chinese/German/US owned? #savelancia is pointless unless Fiat lifts their game

    Reply
  5. Claus Ebberfeld

    It’s a difficult thing, @tom : I think Jaguar is a very good example of how it can actually work. Although a lot of people worried since the Tata-involvement out of India the company has actually prospered since.

    But I agree on a personal level: To ME it’s about the classics as well.

    Reply

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