Chrysler models to be re-badged Lancia in Europe
The new alliance between European giant, Fiat, and, struggling Detroit automaker, Chrysler will now mean that all Chrysler models will be re-badged. In Europe, the automakers products will now be called Lancia.
The new platform-sharing is part of a plan by Fiat to consolidate and shrink its Lancia and Chrysler dealer network in Europe. The plan is to shrink their current 1,200 dealerships by 300. As part of the new deal, Fiat owns all distribution rights of Chrysler products in Europe.
"Our plan is to have in place by May 2011 a Lancia/Chrysler integrated network comprising about 800 dealers and over 1,000 dealerships," said Olivier Francois, CEO for Chrysler and Lancia, in an e-mail interview with Automotive News Europe.
Currently, Lancia has around 595 dealers and 785 showrooms in continental Europe. The brand has stopped selling cars in the United Kingdom and Ireland in 1991. Chrysler has 556 dealers and 750 showrooms.
Chrysler models that will be sold in Europe and re-badged as Lancia include a new compact sedan, a mid-sized sedan that will replace the disappointingly bad PT Cruiser, and Sebring models, the 300C, and a new Voyager van.
Fiat hopes to bring some life back to Lancia. The company has a five-year plan to sell 300,000 Lancia-Chrysler models per year in Europe by 2014. Lancia, a once great name in the automotive world, went down hill quickly after the Beta’s poor build quality. Poor might be the wrong word, as the cars just fell apart. Nonetheless, one bad egg in a basket of interesting cars isn’t too terrible.
Currently, Fiat sells around 132,500 Lancias in Europe and mostly to the Italians. The name change will take place by 2011.
Source: Automotive News