Lancia to target MINI with all-new 2009 Ypsilon

We're a peace-lovin' bunch here at Autoblog, but truth be told, we love it when the British and the Italians fight. Conflict between these two automaking nations has produced such rivalries as Ferrari vs. McLaren, Aston Martin vs. Maserati and Alfa Romeo vs. Jaguar. Lately the duel has been downsized considerably, but got ever more ferocious when the Fiat Group decided that it wouldn't let the MINI have the retro-hatch niche all to itself anymore. And so we got the Fiat 500, followed by the recently-released Alfa Mi.To. But lest you think the Italians would sit back and watch their newest style-mobiles eat away at the MINI, they are, in fact, preparing yet another one: the new Lancia Ypsilon.

The upcoming Ypsilon will follow the new Delta – unveiled in Geneva just a few weeks ago – in Lancia's ambitious rejuvenation campaign. It is tipped to be based on the same mechanicals as the Alfa Mi.To – that is, a modified Fiat Grande Punto platform with a range of gasoline and diesel fours – but with distinct styling, including the iconic Lancia grille flanked by slanted LED headlights and two-tone paint schemes. You can bet that Frank Stephenson – the man responsible for designing the MINI, the 500 and, as head of Alfa's centro stile, the new Mi.To – will have plenty of input in the upcoming Lancia's design, as well. The new Ypsilon is anticipated to make its debut next year at one of the major shows (Geneva '09 would be a good bet) and go in sale in Europe shortly thereafter.

[Source: Auto Express]

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