Lancia has been on the decline for decades. But those lingering fans of the marque will be disheartened to learn of what Sergio Marchionne plans to do with it next. Speaking with Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Marchionne indicated that the Lancia brand will be stripped down to one model, and even that will only be sold in Italy itself.
If put into action, the step would be just the latest in the long decline of a storied marque. Founded way back in 1906, Lancia gave us such timeless treasures as the Flavia, Fulvia, Stratos and rally-bred Delta, and stood alongside the likes of Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Ferrari as one of the great Italian auto marques. But it wasn't long after it joined those brands under the Fiat Group umbrella in 1969 before it began struggling to find its place. These days it sells the Ypsilon supermini, the Delta hatchback and a series of rebadged Chrysler models, serving as that brand's proxy in Europe (and even then, not in the UK).
With the current Delta on the market since 2008 – now six years ago, if you can believe it – and sales languishing, the Delta is expected to be axed, leaving the Ypsilon (above) as Lancia's only unique model. And with the Fiat and Chrysler groups merging into one, the Chrysler brand itself could take another stab at the European market. Just how long Lancia will last as a brand for Italy exclusively remains to be seen, but it wouldn't be hard to imagine the Ypsilon living out the remainder of its lifecycle as the last new Lancia ever to roam any road anywhere.