Desperate times call for desperate measures, and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne isn't one to let the ship sink because of sentimentality. Fiat-Chrysler is projected to lose $900 million in 2012-2014, so Marchionne decided to cut the Lancia nameplate.
As Lancia has been one of Italy's more legendary marques since 1906, this is a sad day. But really, Lancia's long, slow demise began when Fiat first bought it in 1969. The era of Lambdas and Aurelias - and to some extent even Gammas and Betas - is long gone, with only rebadged Chryslers wearing the name that once graced those fine machines.
Marchionne has his work cut out for him, though. Although he's focusing the Fiat brand on 500s and Pandas, as well as refocusing Alfa Romeo and Maserati into the emerging Asian luxury market and turning Jeep into a global brand, Fiat-Chrysler may not turn a profit until 2015.
We heard Lancia's death rattle a while ago, so its extinction doesn't come as much of a blow. But let's hope the same doesn't happen to Alfa Romeo.
Photo credit: Benjamin Preston