Fiat Auto celebrated the recent shotgun wedding made in heaven by adorning its Chrysler/Lancia display entirely with puzzle pieces, suggesting the perfect and unique fit that these two storied brands represent. It was pointed out that both Vincenzo Lancia and Walter P. Chrysler were risk-taking inventors, credited with the first steel monocoque and pioneering aerodynamics respectively, and that both strive for elegance and sophistication in their complementary vehicle lines (B, C, and compact MPV classes at Lancia, D, E, and large MPVs at Chrysler). By way of warming European crowds to the notion of the Chrysler 300 becoming the replacement for the large Lancia Thesis (expected next year), two 300s adorned the stand. The black one’s interior was “reinterpreted” by the Lancia Style Centre with cashmere carpet and mats, off-white Poltrona Frau leather with red stitching, and upscale material covering the center stack and console. The white one, dubbed “Ecostyle” was designed by Christina Aguilera with features a water-based Vanilla, cactus-colored seat-inserts and bamboo applique placed on the door trim and center console (all sustainable materials). The car is to be auctioned to benefit relief efforts in Haiti.
Over the next few years we expect a lot of co-branding development between Chrysler and Lancia, allowing each marque to become more competitive with a larger lineup than either could have afforded alone. Replacement of the large Lancia Phedra minivan with a version of the Town & Country is a no-brainer, and if we’re all REALLY lucky, maybe a version of the planned Alfa 4C sportscar could underpin a Lancia Flaminia and a Crossfire replacement in 2013 or 2014. Oh, and that Delta that turned up in Detroit badged “Chrysler Concept”? It won’t get a Chrysler badge as is, but it’s due for replacement in 2013 or ’14 on a global C-segment platform that will get Dodge/Chrysler variants.
The presenter concluded his remarks stating that bringing these two brands together will allow the American dream to meet its European heritage and vice versa. Here’s hoping it goes that smoothly.