Lancia is dead. Long live Lancia.
The European financial crisis has claimed another victim. This time it is not a racing program or production facility, but an entire car brand. Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has announced the shuttering of the storied Italian make as part of a "larger strategic correction" to right Fiat's current financial woes. That kind of dashes any plans for a Stratos comeback.
According to German site Automobilwoche, the move is part of a larger effort that would see Fiat spread product offerings over more vehicle segments, including the premium market. Still, Fiat will continue to present the Panda as the "pillar of the brand, and will be rebadged as a Jeep in the near future.
With news that Fiat could post a 700-million-euro loss for 2012, the killing–off of Lancia starts to come into context. According to Marchionne, the company may not break even again until 2015 or 2016. The hope of shuttering the Lancia brand is to further consolidate underpinnings and cut costs by platform sharing and rebadging of Fiat, Jeep, and Chrysler products, hopefully pulling the Italian automaker out of the red.