Fiat, in an attempt to make its purchase of Chrysler more profitable, has been marketing rebadged Dodge and Chrysler models in Europe with mixed results.

Europeans apparently love the Fiat Freemont, known as a Dodge Journey here in the States. Fiat sold almost 6,500 of the crossovers over there in the first quarter and hopes to move 30,000 by year's end. Sales were helped by Fiat's large European dealer network as well as an MSRP lower than the model it replaced. Since the Journey is built in Mexico, it can be imported into Europe tariff-free, which helps keep the sticker price lower.

On the other hand, sales of the Lancia Voyager (Dodge Grand Caravan) are not doing so well due to several factors. One is the limited reach of the Lancia brand outside Italy. Then there's the 10 percent import tariff since they're both built in Canada, a yearly 500 euro luxury tax (about $630 USD) on the Thema, and a limited advertising budget for the two cars.

Only 1,342 Voyagers were sold in Europe in the first quarter of this year, which means the 11,000 unit goal for the year will probably be missed. Lancia sold only 480 Themas during the same period, well short of the 2,500 Fiat had hoped to sell.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 20 Comments
      aatbloke1967
      • 2 Years Ago
      The reason for the failure of these cars as Lancias in continental Europe is essentially down to the fact that Europeans knew both products as Chryslers before their respective facelifts. Lancia buyers are a world apart from Chrysler buyers, who, in the case of the 300C, wanted a slice of Americana to be different, while the Voyager was a good value way of shifting a bunch of people. In resurrecting the Thema nameplate, Fiat should have offered new Thema buyers something a bit more special, at the very least something to hark back memories of the glorious 8.32. The Journey was Dodge's best seller when the brand was offered in Europe, and combined with a CRD unit it makes the most sense as a family car. It's little surprise it does well as a Fiat - for the same reasons.
      Classic Bob
      • 2 Years Ago
      This is exactly what i feared. Removing the Chrysler brand from europe just alienated american car enthusiasts here, and rebadging Chryslers as Lancias is considered sacrilege by most Lancia enthusiasts. To quote Sergio “people aren’t stupid” (referring to badged engineered cars in US showrooms). Well europeans aren’t stupid either, especially premium automobile buyers, and they recognize a rebadged Chrysler when they see one.. I know blood runs thicker than water, and Fiat figured they could resuscitate their own Lancia using Chrysler models. But they figured way wrong, and now both brands need to be resuscitated. The only way they will rescue these brands is to separate them again. Let Chryslers be Chryslers, and Lancias be Lancias. Sell them in the same showrooms if you like.. it would have increased volumes much more than trying to re-brand Chryslers as Lancias on a shoestring marketing budget... Lancia has almost no positive brand recognition north of Italy, not since they dropped the Lancia Delta Integrale some 20 years ago. Chrysler has a lot more recognition outside of Italy, so i bet they would have done somewhat better rebadging Lancias as Chryslers...
      Bill Burke
      • 2 Years Ago
      Just got back from London and Paris and I was pleased by the number of various years and models of "Chrysler" products on the roads in Europe. I can't argue with the figures in the article, but considering the economic situation in Europe, there are a representative presence of newer Chryslers everywhere. I did see a few Lancia Themas in Paris and they really mix well with the Mercedes luxo cruisers that dominate the trendy Champs-Elysees. Three factors are hurting Lancia sales, the physical size of the 300 and especially the Town and Country, the lack of exposure of the Lancia brand and the aformentioned bad economy in Europe. Fiat 500s and Jeeps of all kinds and older minivans though seem to have done well and there acceptance should allow new Lancia sales to improve, once the economy itself improves. Those Themas really stand out in the Mercedes crowd and do attract attention.
      David Thompson
      • 2 Years Ago
      To be fair, Lancia, as a brand, isn't sold in the UK and some Lancia models not available in the US are sold as Chrysler in the UK. The UK Chrysler totals should be included in the Lancia Europe totals.
      SpikedLemon
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Caravan should have been badged a Fiat. It's more mass-market - more fitting to Fiat's image.
      Myself
      • 2 Years Ago
      Actually, I'd rather have a Chrysler based Fiat/Lancia than Fiat/Lancia based anything... But the problem is I couldn't live the Fiat/Lancia badge. As a Chrysler, the 300 is a great car, a perfect America for a European motorist in a need of affordable exotica. But as a Thema... it loses all appeal, it becomes a Fiat, never mind the Lancia brand that stopped being relevant with the demise of Delta. If you say you have a Chrysler, you're an individualist in Europe. Fiat/Lancia ownership means you're rather dull if your Lancia is not a collectible from the 80s and earlier. Disclaimer: I'm a European.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Myself
        [blocked]
        quuppa70
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Myself
        Lancia is so rare brand in Europe that is much more individualist in Europe than Chrysler. I would take Delta anyday instead of Chrysler 200.
      jbm0866
      • 2 Years Ago
      I couldn't care less what Fiat decides to recycle and slap their badge on.....but Lancia doesn't really deserve such a fate.
        k_m94
        • 2 Years Ago
        @jbm0866
        It's too late. Lancia hasn't been Lancia for decades now I think. At this point I dont care if they sell the brand to the Chinese, but not the Chryslers themselves.
      Kai F. Lahmann
      • 2 Years Ago
      I think, the two Chrysler models are only there to hold the place for real Lancias in the future and the Chrysler brand is what will mostly (maybe not as a nameplate) disappear in the not so far future.
      1spam4you
      • 2 Years Ago
      lancia thema with 2.0 turbo engine (300 hp) > pentastar
      Lastchance
      • 2 Years Ago
      The problem is Chrysler vehicles do not have much of a name in Europe. On top of that American vehicles are considered to be vastly inferior to most European brands including Fiat. People are not going to line up to buy Chrysler vehicles no matter the name plate is slapped onto them. FIAT would be better off discontinuing the American designed cars and rebadge FIAT products as Chrysler.
      Lavell Riddle
      • 2 Years Ago
      Think its a classic case of the dealer network and branding vs. product reception, of course the high cost due to taxes don't help.
      ulisses
      • 2 Years Ago
      Fiat does that in Brazil and the Freemont sells five times more than the Dodge Journey. Main differences: engine (2.4 I4 / 3.6 V6), transmission (4-speed AT / 6-speed AT) and the price - R$89.900 vs. R$119.000.
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