While driving to work I saw a Lancia today. Except, it wasn’t really a Lancia.
If you follow the automotive news, you will have read or heard about Fiat taking a majority share in US carmaker Chrysler. Fiat big boss Sergio Marchionne isn’t a dumb guy or he must have great intuition. In any case, now that he’s got control over Chrysler he’s making a profit on at least one side of the big pond.
But there are two other benefits, and these are even more important to the Italians. Firstly, there’s the advantage of being able to share platforms and technologies between the different brands contained within the union – among others Ferrari, Maserati, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler and Dodge. Secondly, Chrysler gives Fiat a window into the US market. The Fiat 500 is hugely popular in the US and the upcoming Dodge Dart isn’t really anything else then a restyled Alfa Romeo Giulietta.
And it works in the other direction too. The new Lancia Flavia is really just a Chrysler 200 and the Lancia Thema is a rebadged Chrysler 300. Of course there was only one way to make the latter more ‘Mafia’ and that was by making it Italian, which they’ve now done. The Lancia I saw this morning, however, was a ‘Lancia Voyager’. Seriously, they didn’t even bother to call it Viaggiatore or something!
The Voyager is nothing else than a Chrysler (Grand) Voyager with a Lancia sticker on it. What a way to introduce a new car! Take an old one, on its last legs, put a new sticker on it and sell it as brand new. Marchionne may be smart, but he must not reckon European consumers very clever!
Well, at least you Brits don’t get the Lancia Voyager, as Lancia’s haven’t been sold in the UK for ages. Nope, you guys are just stuck with the same old Chrysler Voyager. Not sure if that’s better.