Lancia is coming back

Time 12:55 pm, November 8, 2008

IN the second half of next year, Lancia will return to the UK and Ireland.

The launch car will be the posh Focus-rivalling Delta, with a new Ypsilon supermini coming in 2010.

So Lancia’s European markets director, Eric Laforge, told us – confirming to Car Dealer that relaunch plans remain afoot.

What’s more, Lancia will be sold through sister company Alfa Romeo’s dealerships. Not all of the 35-strong network at first, he explained. ‘We haven’t decided how many.’

‘But we’re starting to contact them and, in the next month, will start to show cars. We’ll invite candidates over, with a view to, in the first part of 2009, preparing the network.’

This was confirmed by an Alfa spokeswoman, who added that boss Christopher Nichol would determine the criteria for the Alfa-Lancia collaboration.

‘We need to maintain our corporate identity,’ she said. ‘Lancia needs a fully professional sales environment – and has to be the right partner for the Alfa dealer. They have to sit comfortably alongside one another.’

So, what do interested dealers need to do? Reflect the corporate image, said Laforge. ‘We don’t want corners of dealerships – we need space to display 1-2 cars, display the corporate ID. Investment is needed.’ The look is based on black and white, high-gloss surfaces and chrome detailing. It’s particularly luxurious.

Communication will start in the middle of next year. Interestingly, Laforge said that collaboration with the Lancia Car Club would play a big part in relaunching the brand. ‘We will work with them, use them to find ex-Lancia people. It’s a ready-made database.’

In Italy, Lancia’s core are the Ypsilon and Muso mini-MPV. They take half of all sales – indeed, the Musa has been totally rejuvenated recently, thanks to French President Sarkozy’s wife appearing in the ads! Neither, though, are pencilled in for right-hand-drive in their current for,

The UK-launch Delta, a C-segment-sized car, with D-segment space inside, will be. It will be pitched high-end, with prices expected to come in around £17,000. What’s more, fleet is vital to its success. ’40 per cent of Delta will be to fleets.’

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