The downfall became all the more apparent after Fiat Chrysler Automobiles decided to sell Chryslers under the blue shield logo, a move that’s been widely criticized by European customers. The final nail in the coffin was the discontinuation of the Bravo-based Delta, leaving the Panda-based Ypsilon alone in the lineup. Adding insult to injury, the premium-oriented city car that feels like a 2000s econobox inside is sold exclusively in Italy.
Under the Stellantis cross-border merger between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Groupe PSA, the storied automaker has been given a 10-year grace period to become relevant again. Head honcho Carlos Tavares gave this helping hand to Chrysler and Alfa Romeo as well, but only time will tell if those in charge of these brands will see the plan come to fruition.
As far as Lancia is concerned, there is no mistaking that a brand-new Delta is duly needed. Imagined by pixel artist Kleber Silva with a full-width light bar up front and a full-width light bar connecting the rear clusters, the design study before your eyes further boasts a high-tech cockpit with a minimalist design for the center console, dashboard, air vents, and interior door panels.
Obviously based on the L-generation Opel Astra – itself based on the Peugeot 308 – the speculative rendering is “vanilla” from the standpoint of exterior styling. More to the point, I would mistake this car for a lowly Opel instead of a really-bred hatch if I were to see one while commuting to work. Non-car people wouldn’t even pay attention to these details, which makes the commercial viability of the Opel Astra-based Delta even more delicate.
According to fresh reports from Italy, the lance-badged automaker is allegedly developing a trio of models that will be unveiled between 2024 and 2027. These may be an urban dweller, a compact hatchback, and a compact crossover, and their designs will be handles by Jean-Pierre Ploué.
Although the crossover utility vehicle has the most chances of bringing the Italian marque back to profitability, I have to admit that Ploué is the right man for the job. Why, you might ask? As it happens, he’s the guy responsible for the quirky-but-pretty Citroen C6 as well as the DS3. His portfolio also includes the first-gen Renault Twingo, second-gen Clio, and first Megane.