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Author Topic: Lancia coming back to the UK as Chrysler  (Read 4997 times)
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HF_Dave
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« Reply #30 on: 20 September, 2010, 04:57:48 PM »

But why not drive a left hand drive Lancia ? I've been driving a lhd Integrale for more than three years now with no problems, in fact it's easier in the city as you can see up the inside of busses and cars in traffic and see silly pedesterians stepping off the kerb,  Grin
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« Reply #31 on: 22 September, 2010, 01:28:51 AM »

But why not drive a left hand drive Lancia ? I've been driving a lhd Integrale for more than three years now with no problems, in fact it's easier in the city as you can see up the inside of busses and cars in traffic and see silly pedesterians stepping off the kerb,  Grin

And you get a considerably better view when joining motorways from the run on. Mind, it doesn't do to have a nervous person in the front passenger seat Shocked

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« Reply #32 on: 06 October, 2010, 12:17:38 PM »


In order to make a go of Lancia's potential UK return, we as a club require to get a petition going and re-iterate to Fiat or Chrysler or whoever how much this means to us. If enough UK members (& other RHD market members) would commit to purchasing a new UK spec Lancia (& not a Chrysler or Dodge re-badging exercise) hopefully our votes would mean something and not fall on deaf ears.

There has to be a timescale for this, for members to maybe allow themselves to complete existing agreements (PCP/CH etc) and company car drivers (who have choice) for this to happen, so I  imagine it could not occur before 2012 at the very earliest.

Of course Fiat/Chrysler would have to buy into this and help us out. I suggest by offering guaranteed future values in line with Audi/Mercedes (not BMW anymore as their current popularity??? has affected residuals) and offering super PCP's too would address some concerns. This way they could receive enough initial sales to help with brand awareness as a foothold. They also will require to provide a quality product that competes with the best in class, it will have to be reliable, depenable, efficient with low emissions and after sales requires to be top notch.

The next question is which club members would buy into this assuming the product met the above criteria. Some members believe that Lancia as a marque ceased to exist in 1969, for others it is before even then, how do we encourage them to buy into the new generation of vehicles. Other people live with older cheaper vehicles and would never buy a new car because they simply cannot afford to, all cars are poor investments (unless classic). Some people admire vehicles with flair, however in real situations buy with their heads rather than hearts.

So what will it really take to get club members into new Lancia's? Who would buy a new one?

I would definitely be up for it (if the Delta 3 had arrived in 2009 as original forecast, i'd be driving one now not an Alfa). anyone else?
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« Reply #33 on: 06 October, 2010, 05:51:37 PM »

You raise a very interesting point. Emotionally we would all like to raise our hands and say yes please. However, I think it would be very naive of Fiat to rely on a small car club for its resurrection. Seriously, I see depreciation being its biggest enemy. After all a mid size Lancia will be fighting premium brands for sales and just look how badly Alfa do compared with say Audi, even though they make decent cars. Lancia have a design choice, either they churn out thousands of low end Ypisilon sector cars or they go down the brand leader route, creating a luxury, high performance showcase with maybe an electric motor at each corner.    
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« Reply #34 on: 07 October, 2010, 01:08:06 PM »

[quote  Lancia have a design choice, either they churn out thousands of low end Ypisilon sector cars or they go down the brand leader route, creating a luxury, high performance showcase with maybe an electric motor at each corner.    
quote]

In my opinion Lancia should be marketed by Fiat purely as a luxury brand, just like Infiniti and Lexus are to Nissan and Toyota respectively.

Remember when Lexus arrived here in 1990 with the LS400, it instantly gained respect and a good market share stealing sales from BMW (Audi didn't have competitor then - the 200 was too small), Jaguar & Mercedes beating them at their own game. Nowadays Lexus are at the forefront of hybrid technology (even though the brakes don't work) making top quality vehicles with super reliability, they are durable and green but so so bland and residuals are now only average.

The jury is still out on Infiniti over here (the Yanks love 'em), they are more adventurous than Lexus, but their engines are too big & not too clever with poor emissions and again poor resale values.

Lancia under whoever have to compete in this sector using the latest multi air technology developed by Fiat (cracking engines), plus larger units and the use of hybrid technology, however they require to remain stylish and adventurous plus top quality, dependable with large service intervals and specialist sales/service centres with sales teams & service crews knowing their products inside out, trained to sell and super competent in the repair/servicing department. This is a tall order, but if a comeback is to be on the cards, it cannot be half hearted, everyone involved has to be 100% committed to the cause.

Lancia cannot be poorly represented by nearly cars- think Gamma (fantastic performance/handling but not enough cylinders for the punters & the Sedan was an aquired taste in the looks department/should have had a hatch), Thema (another great car which has aged better than the other Type 4 vehicles but at the time was too alike the Saab 9000 without the perceived quality/reliability/resale), Kappa (Great taxi, but blander than the Thema but with same perceived image) and Thesis (wonderful individual class leading car, however the engines were too small &  the economy/emissions poor). Likewise Zeta's & Phedra's require to be much more than luxury Ulysee/C8/807 clones, they have to give more and beat the top Sharan's, Galaxy's & Espace's as well as giving the R-Class a run for its money.

Alfa Romeo are still competing (albeit at a lower level) with nearly cars the difference being it is an established brand there are more buyers and so they get by, this cannot happen at Lancia,they will have to be top dog.

If Lancia cannot compete in the 20,000 to 60,000 range offering pure luxury performance vehicles , they have not got a chance anywhere else particularly in the UK, they can run side by side with Alfa (Think sports saloons/coupes & spiders- GTA v's Audi S-Line,TT, RS/BMW M3,5,Alpina/Mercedes AMG/Porsche Boxter, Cayman etc ) in this price range each range appealling to different buyers.

There are too many Fiat Group Small Cars out there (500, Panda, Grande Punto, Mito etc) for a new Ypsilon to compete in house alone, the 500 in particular has put a stop to this with its retro chic appeal, likewise in the Focus/Astra/Golf/Giulietta class an entry level Delta will never compete in the UK. Additionally there is much mass market competition under 20,000 from all over Europe & Japan plus more & more threats from Malaysia & Korea too.

Above 60K leave it to Maserati & Ferrari to fight the corner (except one offs & homologation specials - Stratos/8C).

Like I said at the on sett this is only my opinion, how do others in the club see the future of Lancia in general and in the UK if they ever are to return?
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« Reply #35 on: 07 October, 2010, 03:31:20 PM »

I think for Lancia to re-enter the UK market with Lancia badged cars is way too much of a gamble. Unfortunately for the exercise to be successful they would have to sell in more numbers than the Great British public will ever succumb to. The bad reputation is too deeply ingrained.
The only way for it to work is for them to launch a vechicle which will really wow the public and have the likes of Clarkson etc drooling. However, the chances of doing that are so slim. I can't think of any recent model that is so fantastic that it blows all rivals away. Lets face it, most new cars are much of a muchness. All very similar, all do the same job with (small) varying degrees of success in different departments. To do anything else is just way too expensive.
Take Alfa as an example. I've now had a 156, a GT and now drive a 159. In between those I drove a BMW. Apart from the looks, were either of those cars fundamentally different from thier rivals? I would say not. The Alfas were all ok cars but only stirred the blood by looks alone (probably means I'm very shallow and only interested in looks). Similarly to Lancia , Alfa has a reputation/image and so numbers sold are low and this is with a marque that is established! As long as I have a choice and the styling remains good I will continue to buy Alfa but I will be in a minority.
I just can't see Lancia having the ability (whoever owns them) to produce anything that is that good it wipes away all the prejudices. If we get anything it will be Lancia but badged as something more 'palateable'.
Having said that, I would be first in line paying my deposit cheque if I'm wrong!
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Paul Greenway
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« Reply #36 on: 07 October, 2010, 04:10:02 PM »


Your'e right in everything you say Rod, but Fiat or Chrysler in the UK do not have anything between a top end Alfa at 35k and the cheapest Maserati at 75k, yet there is a market there. This requires to be exploited as there are fewer players above 30k than below.

People who by prestige vehicles can and do afford to loose more than less well heeled people, they are willing to take more of a punt on something different than the comfort of the norm. As long as that product besides its individuality measures up in other areas to, it will sell. Just look at re-sales on Jaguars, top BMW's, Range Rover's, Lexus's, Audi's and Mercs, Maserati's, Aston's, Bentley's & Ferrari's, they all loose a fortune after the initial demand, yet they still sell well.

The lower end of the market has to deliver more to the potential buyer, because they generally listen to the media more and use their heads rather than their hearts.

Whether that 35 - 75 K gap is filled by Lancia, Alfa or lesser Maserati's who knows but it is currently an opportunity missed.
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« Reply #37 on: 07 October, 2010, 04:58:52 PM »

I can see that arguement and I think you're right, its the only chance that Lancia would have. Still think though it would be a challenge, can't see the average Alfa garage offering the right level of service for example (my opinion based on just a few garages, just in case anybody out there works in a Alfa garage). Quite an exciting prospect. I really wish it would happen.
Does it mean that if Lancia become to be percieved as a premium brand that our collections will double in value overnight?
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« Reply #38 on: 07 October, 2010, 09:18:31 PM »

Or sell Lancias as Chryslers and sell decent cars in the mass market using an established brand?  As a business case it stacks up much more readily, which is probably why that appears to be the plan.
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Chris Owen
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« Reply #39 on: 07 October, 2010, 09:29:09 PM »

It'd be interesting to know which badge Lancias will wear in other RHD markets. I believe Chrysler has a strong presence in Australia but what about South Africa, New Zealand, Japan and other Asian markets?
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Kevin MacBride
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« Reply #40 on: 07 October, 2010, 09:47:09 PM »

As someone who has spent most of my working life in Fiat Dealerships, I think the problem is with Fiat...The perception the Fiat brand has to many ranges from obsessive to a loathing bordering on the hysterical. It also follows that anything associated with Fiat has the same reaction. Chances are most people these days will refer to an Alfa or Lancia as no more than a posh Fiat.
The only 'foreign' car I've ever owned was a 1967 Volvo Amazon, everything else has either been Fiat, Alfa or Lancia. Part our our Dealership sells BMW, Mercedes and Mitsubishi. The levels these companies go to to promote thier brand is exceptional, regardless of any questionable reliability they may have. I was in Mitsubishi head office once, and I casually remarked that I could never see myself owning a Mitsubishi. Withen seconds I was being told of the virtues of the marque, its rally success etc..when I replied that they had a long way to go to top Lancias record, the perplexed look staring back at me said it all...Lancia...whats a Lancia ?
Fiat has a great track record in making small cars for the masses, and thats about it. They've slowly eroded Lancias reputation to the point of extinction, and now they seem to be trying thier best with Alfa.
At least with a Fiat, your getting a Fiat...a Lancia badged Chrysler...I think I'd prefer an EVO with a rally heritage.
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« Reply #41 on: 08 October, 2010, 07:24:59 AM »

Kevin,

Yes the problem is Fiat, they are good at selling small cars to the masses full stop. They should stick to that, Lancia (and AR) should be distanced miles away, its the only way to prevent extinction of both brands. Yes they have tried a little to move AR up market by ridding the mass market Reg Vardy, Caledonian and Arnold Clark (no disrespect to any) dealerships, restyled the showrooms with fancy coffee machines and trained the sales staff, but as Rodney comments the after sales are still in the main below average and cars continue to return for repeat visits to fix simple problems. Mud sticks.

Is there light though? the proposed merger with Chrysler ought to be positive, but Chryslers recent reputation in my eyes is not ground breaking, it only has average products which get buy on being good value for money, its interior quality is below par on all its vehicles, never the less it sells Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep ranges in mid to premium markets which is a better basis than Fiat. I do not recall Chrysler having any relability issues or after sales issues, however like Italian brands resales are poor and PCH's/PCP's because of this cannot match class best.

These concerns require addressing before any potential commitment to RHD markets. Whatever happens, it has to be right.

People in the norm do not recognise Lancia, of course  there are always the ones who remember them for the wrong reasons, so what? that's in the past, they can be re-invented, look at Infiniti (mentioned in previous post), they are an emerging force with terrible current engines (a new diesel is helping) however they are selling adequately because they are being marketed right. Further down market look at the likes of Hyundai & Kia brands who have become a force to be reckoned with (& are still expanding their ranges) in the last 10 years or so.

 Perhaps a new range of Chrysler badged Lancia's with the emphasis on luxury & quality based on forthcoming 300C's , Grand Voyager's & Grand Cherokee's with great green power sold alongside Maserati's (keep Ferrari seperate) as the natural step up from Alfa's in specialist sales/servicing centres (like Infiniti/Lexus) would work???
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« Reply #42 on: 08 October, 2010, 01:01:41 PM »

Lancia's current product range (discounting the expected rebadged Chrysler models at the upper end) is in the smaller end of the market.  Moreover, it has been very successful there, actually making money for the parent group.  So they are not going to exit that market, even if they try to extend upwards.  Moreover, every analyst of the car markets across Europe will tell you that larger cars are in long term decline and smaller cars are the future, as people downsize in response to higher fuel costs (only in China are larger cars really in - even North America is downsizing, albeit from a high base).

The canny firm adds value to smaller models, as Fiat has done, by moving the Ypsi, Musa and Delta upmarket from the cars with which they share their platforms.  It makes greater use of the developmental investment on those platforms, and sells cars at a higher margin to customers who would not buy a Fiat because it is too downmarket.  Even Fiat has managed to do this internally by turning the cheap and cheerful (though still rather good) Panda into the chic 500, which shares much of its platform.  So Chrysler/Lancia will continue to sell small and medium cars, pushed slightly upmarket into the premium/semi-premium arena.  The big problem for Fiat is not that strategy, but the extent to which there is still 'fight' between the Lancia and Alfa brands and ranges - Mito or Ypsi, Giulietta or Delta - these are genuine either/or choices for some customers in mainland Europe.  The trick is to minimise the overlap, and its a trick that has not, so far, been achieved successfully.
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« Reply #43 on: 08 October, 2010, 04:20:13 PM »


If what you are stating is factual, & I hope it is though I cannot believe it unless the home market buys more Ypsilon, Delta & Musa than the rest of Europe put together, then fine there is obviously a market for luxury versions of small cars.

 If Lancia in this market does work, then it would work in the UK too, however city cars traditionally is not what Lancia stands for, I'm sure Vincenzo would be turning in his grave, but Fiat PR know best as they have for the last 40 years. Where is the innovation, where is the adventure, when does heritage mean anything anymore, the answer is it doesn't, take Alfa's centenary for example, Fiat & AR did not even turn up, it was left to RIAR to sort it out because they owed AR a favour and consequently it turned out to be a laughing stock.

Lancia needs a change of scenery and quick or else it will disappear forever.

I hear what you say about people down sizing, but come on is the owner of a Range Rover, Cayenne, Jag, 7-series, A8, S Class, LS460, Quattroporte, Phaeton & the like really going to move down as far as the Delta class. I still believe between 30,000 & 60,000 there is a market to be exploited whichever marque takes it.
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« Reply #44 on: 08 October, 2010, 06:55:08 PM »

Lancia does have a long and fine history in small, upmarket cars - Ardea, Appia, Fulvia, Delta I - all in that market.  But I take your point, there will also be a market in the 30k to 60k range, and these customers won't downsize to a 20k family car, you are quite right.  That's where the Chrysler connection comes in, to provide big saloons and SUVs on Chrysler platforms, rebadged as Lancias in markets where the latter is strong.  And Lancia can do a lot to input to styling, interior finish, engine technology (imagine Multiair on a big US V6, for example) etc to address some of Chrysler's long standing weak points, whilst exploiting its established expertise in big car platforms.  That's where the two brands really do fit together and complement each other - and its where the merger really begins to make commercial and engineering sense.  And then you might just get the big grand tourer coupe based on a Chrysler 300C platform, which is about as near as Lancia will get now to building a successor to something like the Flaminia Pininfarina.

Yes, the home market does sell more Ypsi, Musa and Delta than the rest of Europe put together - that's Lancia's real weakness - its dependence upon its home market, and its relatively weak export reach.  Again, why the Chrysler connection makes sense...!
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Chris Owen
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