Too close for comfort or exactly what the Pentastar needs, that depends on your point of view. But Chrysler and Lancia – the two pseudo-premium brands under the Fiat-Chrysler partnership – are growing closer by the day.
After Fiat chief Sergio Marchionne took over in Auburn Hills, he placed the Chrysler division under the leadership of Lancia CEO Olivier Francois. More recently, Marchionne said the two brands could be merged within the year. Meanwhile on the product end of things, a report several months ago forecasted that the Lancia Delta – the freshest produce in the company's apple cart – could make it Stateside as a Chrysler, which was followed up by the unveiling of just that at the Detroit Auto Show. Now a new set of rumors suggest the Delta could enjoy some company from the Old Country on this side of the Atlantic.
The current Lancia Ypsilon (pictured above in special Versus edition trim) is the brand's smallest product. It dates back to 2003 and had a minor facelift in 2006, but is in dire need of replacement. A couple of years back, reports of a prospective follow-up positioned the next-gen Ypsilon alongside the Fiat 500 and Alfa MiTo in the Fiat group's three-pronged attack on the Mini brand. Whether that proves accurate or not in the long run, the newest reports indicate that the Ypsilon could, like the Delta, be re-badged as a Chrysler, potentially taking the Java name from the concept car Chrysler showcased at the 1999 Frankfurt Motor Show.