Lancia still exists, but you’d be forgiven for thinking that it doesn’t, given that, for an automaker which such an illustrious racing history, it has shriveled to the point of almost irrelevance. It has just one car on the market and just one market, which is Italy. Lancia now says, however, that it has plans to get more ambitious.
That would mean selling cars in the rest of Europe, for one thing, if not overseas. An all-electric version of the car that Lancia sells now — a small city car called the Ypsilon — will be part of those plans, along with a compact crossover in 2026 that may or may not be called the Aurelia. Also, a new small hatchback in 2028 that will resurrect the mighty Delta name.
That is what I learned, in any case, reading a new Automotive News interview with Lancia CEO Luca Napolitano, who is apparently intent on making a car company straight from the dreams of small-car enthusiasts.
“Lancia will deliver an understated, clean Italian elegance, with soft surfaces and great quality,” Napolitano said.
Napolitano wants to attract a different kind of buyer for Lancia. Currently, two thirds of buyers are women, with an average age of 45 and with no children in their household. He sees future models as drawing buyers with an average age of 55, but with at least one child still at home, and evenly split between male and female.
“ ‘Progressive cultural influencer’ is how we define Lancia’s future customer,” Napolitano said.
This urban customer is ahead of the pack, does not accept the status quo and wants to drive change, so is naturally attracted by electric vehicles and internet sales, Napolitano said.
The playbook here is much like Tesla’s, in that Lancia also doesn’t want to do traditional dealerships, and instead wants to do small stores in Europe where you order a car from a sales agent but the inventory is kept with Lancia. Which is fine, I’m mostly just happy that Lancia is still around, even in its diminished capacity. I’m also happy that there is an automaker, non-kei-car-division, that aspires to make attractive city cars.
One of these days in the U.S. we might be so lucky.