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Is Lancia set to return to Australia? Iconic Italian brand to revive Delta name and go electric

The ageing Ypsilon will be replaced by an all-new model later this decade.

Lancia will launch three new models as part of the Italian brand’s rebirth, with right-hand drive production on the cards for the United Kingdom and, possibly, Australia.

In an interview with Automotive News Europe, Lancia CEO Luca Napolitano said the once iconic carmaker will expand its model portfolio and market presence into parts of Western Europe in 2024, after selling just one model, the Ypsilon light hatchback, only in Italy for the past four years.

Under the umbrella of the massive Stellantis group, which includes Jeep, Chrysler, Maserati, Peugeot, Citroen and Opel, Lancia has been grouped in with Alfa Romeo and DS in the group’s premium cluster of brands.

The new Lancia models include a replacement for the ageing Ypsilon, which is based on the same underpinnings as the Fiat 500 and Panda. The next-gen Ypsilon will be produced using a Stellantis small car platform, possibly the Common Modular Platform used to underpin the Peugeot 208, new Citroen C4 and Opel Mokka.

It will be available with an internal combustion powertrain with a 48-volt mild hybrid system as well as a battery electric powertrain. Mr Napolitano told the publication that the next Ypsilon would be the last Lancia model with an internal combustion engine, with all future models to be exclusively EVs.

The second model will be a compact crossover, possibly dubbed Aurelia according to Automotive News Europe, that will launch in Europe in 2026, as Lancia’s flagship model.

Following this in 2028 will be a small hatchback that is set to resurrect the famous Delta nameplate.

Mr Napolitano said the Lancia market expansion would start with Austria, Belgium, France, Germany and Spain in 2024, followed by the UK later.

Lancia is looking to its past by bringing back the Delta nameplate for a new hatchback in 2028.

Lancia abandoned the UK market, and right-hand drive production, in 1994, following slow sales. Lancia returned to the UK but under Chrysler branding with the Delta and Ypsilon in 2011 before Chrysler was pulled from that market entirely in 2017.

Lancia last had a presence in the Australian market in the mid-1980s with models like the Beta coupe.

There have been a couple of attempts to resurrect Lancia in Australia since then. In 2006, independent importer Ateco Automotive looked at adding Lancia to its portfolio that also included Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari and Maserati.

Former Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne said in 2010 that Lancia would return to Australian shores, albeit with Chrysler badges. Neither of these plans came to pass.

CarsGuide has reached out to Stellantis Australia for comment about the possibility of the brand returning to the market. 

The third-generation Lancia Delta ended production in 2014.

According to the report, Mr Napolitano said Lancia will deliver “an understated, clean Italian elegance, with soft surfaces and great quality”. Former VP of design for PSA Group, Jean-Pierre Ploue, has been tasked with Lancia’s design.

Mr Napolitano said the target customers for new Lancia will come from brands such as Tesla, Volvo and Mercedes-Benz’s all-electric EQ range.

In Europe at least, Lancia will move to an agency sales model, similar to what Honda and Mercedes-Benz are doing in Australia.

Under the traditional franchise model, the dealer buys the vehicles from the carmaker and then sells them to customers. With an agency model, the manufacturer maintains the inventory until the car is sold by a retail agent.

The original Delta five-door hatchback was produced throughout the 1980s and 90s, achieving success on the international rally circuits with variants like the Delta Integrale 4WD Turbo, before being discontinued.

Lancia released the unusually designed third-generation Delta in 2008, and it was mechanically related to the Fiat Bravo. A cross between a hatchback and a station wagon, the Delta was discontinued in 2014.

Tim Nicholson
Managing Editor
Calling out the make and model of every single car he saw as a toddler might have challenged his parents’ patience, but it was clearly a starting point for Tim Nicholson’s journey into automotive journalism. Tim launched the program, Fender Bender, on community radio station JOY 94.9 during completion of his Master of Arts (Media and Communications). This led to an entry role at industry publication GoAuto, before eventually taking the role of Managing Editor. A stint as RACV’s Motoring Editor – including being an Australia’s Best Cars judge – provided a different perspective to automotive media, before leading him to CarsGuide where he started as a Contributing Journalist in September 2021, and transitioned to Senior Editor in April 2022, before becoming Managing Editor in December 2022.
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