Franco-Italian-American powerhouse Stellantis will attempt to revive Italy’s Lancia, one of the vital shamefully uncared for automotive manufacturers on the earth, by parachuting in its personal chief design officer.
The maker of a number of the world’s most legendary vehicles, Lancia drifted past mediocrity and into palliative care underneath the stewardship of Fiat Chrysler Cars, however Stellantis is decided to offer it one final shot.
“Lancia’s renaissance is a very thrilling problem,” new design head Jean-Pierre Ploué, Stellantis stated.
“Lancia is an iconic model, which will likely be restored to its central historic place in Europe, leveraging on its large potential.’’
Ploué will handle Lancia’s design staff from the Torino Centro Stile operation in northern Italy, whereas sustaining his place as the general head of Stellantis design.
The transfer is a part of Stellantis boss Carlos Tavares’ plan to offer every of the troubled Italian manufacturers one final 10-year likelihood to change into related.
Maserati, Alfa Romeo and Lancia have all struggled to succeed in their targets within the final 30 years, although all have been hampered by an absence of sources from FCA.
The transfer additionally suggests there will likely be multiple mannequin for Lancia, and the educated guess entails electrical powertrains and a minimum of one crossover.
That’s how Ploué revived Citroen when he took over in 1999, and he was in command of PSA from 2009 till the Stellantis merger earlier this 12 months.
Ploué additionally designed the ultra-cute Renault Twingo and has had stints at Volkswagen and Ford design studios as effectively.
“I need to welcome Jean-Pierre Ploué,” Lancia CEO Luca Napolitano stated.
“I’m very honored we are able to leverage on such a various staff of pros to work collectively for the success of Lancia.”
Such has been Lancia’s fall from grace that it now sells only one mannequin (the Fiat Bravo-based Ypsilon hatchback) in a single nation (Italy) to at least one demographic (girls).
Its gross sales fell from 300,000 in 1990 to lower than 100,000 in 2010 and simply 48,555 in 2018.
It’s a steep fall from the times when Lancia’s Stratos, Fulvia, 037 Rallye, Delta S4 and Delta Integrale fashions dominated the World Rally Championship.
Its 037 Rallye was the final rear-drive automotive to win the WRC (in 1983) and it delivered drivers’ titles to a few of historical past’s best rally drivers, corresponding to Juha Kankkunen, Miki Biasion, whereas taking 73 WRC wins by way of drivers like Sandro Munari, Didier Auriol, Walter Rohrl and Henri Toivonen and Markku Alen.
Lancia claimed 10 producer’s championships with the Stratos, the 037 and the Delta, giving it probably the most titles in WRC historical past, though it hasn’t competed for the reason that early Nineteen Nineties.
It additionally has a powerful historical past in sportscar racing, the place it matched the pace of the legendary Porsche 962, claiming 13 pole positions within the World and European Endurance championships, and successful the world championship in 1980 and 1981.
Its D50 Method One automotive was so good that it delivered 5 Grand Prix wins after it was offered to Ferrari, taking Juan Manuel Fangio to the World Championship in 1956.
Its highway vehicles had been equally revolutionary, with the Lancia Lambda delivering the world’s first manufacturing unitary physique in 1922 and the Ardea carrying the primary five-speed gearbox in 1948.
It has delivered a number of the world’s best and most stunning vehicles however, sadly, hardly ever pieced them collectively effectively sufficient to compete with the Germans.
There was the Gamma Coupe, the Fulvia Coupe, the Flaminia, the Aprilia, the Montecarlo, the Beta Coupe, the Ferrari-engined Thema 8.32 and the Delta Integrale.