Lancia is a brand many in the United States haven’t heard much about. Lancias were sold here from 1975 to 1982, and they never fared too well. Lancia came into the spotlight again when Chrysler and Fiat commenced their partnership.
In the new corporate alignment, Lancia and Chrysler are paired together as they both have a very similar market positioning. The pairing will result in new products that are co-developed and shared between the two. Some Chryslers will become Lancias and vice versa. One car that has been shown off with a Chrysler badge is the Delta compact. In Italy Lancia recently announced the Thema, a Chrysler 300-based flagship. This disappointed many purists who wanted a “real” Lancia flagship to replace the Thesis, which was very much a unique Lancia product.
To offer a look at what the next-generation Thesis replacement could have been like, independent designer David Cardoso has created the Imperiale design study.
It looks nothing like a Chrysler – which is how the purists like it. Instead of traditionally American proportions like the 300, the Imperiale expounds on the Delta’s look. The result is uniquely Lancia, with an aggressive, angular front end and fastback design. The Imperiale does two-tone, and differently than most cars; there is a black hood, roof and rear decklid. Very cool looking. Some say that two-tone cars are a design trend that could be coming back in. Regardless of whether it does come back in or not, we like this implementation.
For Lancia, the business case doesn’t work out well to have a totally unique, dedicated flagship. Especially when its sales are so low. Alfa Romeo is the chosen lineup for most of the investment that Fiat will be doing in the luxury sector. We do think there is room for a more differentiated Lancia full-size car in the future; platform sharing underneath is fine by us. They just need to bring the Delta over here as a Chrysler though and we’ll be happy.