Decapitated Lancia sells more than proud Alfa Romeo
The Italian car brand, Lancia, has only one model left to sell, the Ypsilon. It only sells in Italy, and nevertheless, it sold more cars in the first half of the year than its sister brand, Alfa Romeo.
In June 2014, Italian car manufacturer Fiat announced that it withdrew its iconic brand, Lancia, from all markets except the Italian. It was the end of an agonizing struggle for the once proud and famous brand founded by Vincenzo Lancia at the beginning of the 20th century.
29% sales increase
Now, five years later, with one model left to sell, the small and aging Ypsilon, Lancia outsells its sister brand, Alfa Romeo. In the first half of this year, a total of 35.000 Ypsilons were sold in Italy, 29% more than the same period last year.
This contrasts sharply with Alfa Romeo, which sold just under 30.000 cars (different models) in the same period in the whole of Europe, a staggering 42% less than last year.
Five years ago, when the hatch fell for Lancia, Fiat Chrysler Automobile announced it would invest heavily in the remaining premium brand Alfa Romeo. According to the company, Alfa had better credentials, a nicer history, and a much better image than Lancia.
In these five years, two new Alfa Romeo models saw the light, the Giulia sedan, and the Stelvio SUV. Alfa Romeo executives talked of up to eight new models to (re)launch the brand, not only in Europe but also in the rest of the world.
The demise of the once-famous Lancia brand has been contested by many fans throughout the world. They talked of sabotage. But already for decades, it wasn’t clear anymore what FCA wanted to do with it. The models became less attractive, and, in the end, some of them were just clones of Chrysler models.
A reasonably large protest movement of Lancia adepts tried everything to save the brand and assure its presence on the market, at least in Europe. But the FCA top management wouldn’t listen to them and preferred to preserve and revive Alfa Romeo. A task that isn’t achieved yet.
At the same time, the fusion rumors between Renault and FCA are still ongoing. Despite the problems Renault encountered within the Alliance (with Renault and Mitsubishi) it is again lending a kind ear to the FCA proposal.
Maybe the French should pay more attention to the fact that the Italian group is leaning heavily on its American arm to survive. But perhaps that’s what the Renault executives want — being able to manage the European market better and having a large bridgehead across the Atlantic.