Lancia's New Chrysler-Based Cars

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Lord Blackadder, Feb 15, 2011.

  1. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #1
    We continue to see the fruits of the Chrysler-Fiat union. The New Fiat 500 should be in US dealerships in just a few weeks. Meanwhile, Lancia has rolled out it's new lineup of rebadged Chryslers for sale in Italy.

    Italians get the Lancia Flavia (Chrysler 200), Grand Voyager (Chrysler Town & Country), and Thema (Chrysler 300).

    [​IMG]

    Points of interest: the Hemi V8 option has been deleted from the 300, so the biggest engine you can get in the Thema is the Pentastar V6, though they do get two turbodiesels. The Thema looks a subtley different than the 300, but the Flavia and Grand Voyager look identical to their Chrysler originals apart from the badge. In fact, Jalopnik suggests that the Lancia press photos are simply photoshopped Chrysler promotional photos! Oops!

    So, what do we think? Will Italians be interested in these Chryslers, or will American cars continue to flop in Europe? I can see the Thema possibly making some inroads with a certain customer set due to its big-car presence, but it was always best with the V8, and the V6 versions will look lame next to the big German cars. The 200 doesn't strike me as being interesting, and the minivan is more of a niche vehicle in Europe, where the smaller MPVs are popular.

    Lancia is the carmaker the brought us the gorgeous Aurelia, Fulvia and the sporty (1st generation) Delta series...and now the Chrysler 200?
     
  2. northy124 macrumors 68020

    northy124

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    #2
    :eek: the certain set are now eco-friendly... they love their little 500's :p
     
  3. Lord Blackadder thread starter macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #3
    To me, the 300 is a car that people might consider buying instead of a used Mercedes, BMW or Audi - similarly large and powerful (at least in terms of base engines), but cheaper to buy and run. The loss of the V8 dulls that somewhat though.
     
  4. JoeG4, Feb 15, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2011

    JoeG4 macrumors 68030

    JoeG4

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    #4
    The only difference between the 2011 Thema and the 2011 300 is the badge. I'm still not exactly sure what kinda crack Fiat is smoking because:

    * Everyone knows it's a 300. Regardless of what they call it
    * People in Europe that buy American cars are doing so because they're American. It's like why people buy German cars in the US. If BMW bought Ford and started selling the 5 series as a Taurus in the US they'd be shooting themselves in the foot. Even with a brand like Chrysler, which everyone that claims to be a hipster despises because they think of K cars and Minivans when they hear the name, you're shooting yourself in the foot trying to cover up something.
    * The "Euro-ized" 2011 design probably won't sell any better in Europe anyway. The problem to begin with was that the 300 is too big in Europe and that's still the problem. In 6 years of Chrysler selling the 300C, I doubt anyone bought it after reading Consumer Reports and seeing that it had the most highlighted columns or whatever. People that buy those cars liked the way they looked, and this one isn't quite as attractive from that viewpoint.

    On the plus side, I can see chrysler grilles being a very popular import item soon. As for the engines, I'm surprised they even bother selling a gas engine out there - people either buy the SRT8 or the diesel. Fiat REALLY should push the fact the new diesel is a new Fiat engine, the Mercedes one was a headache and somewhat poorly designed. >>

    Actually, I'm looking forward to seeing how the new cars pan out - The Mercedes-derived components in the LXes are the most complained about things about the cars from those that actually own them.

    On the plus side, 65,000 miles on my 2006 300c and the only things I've changed are oil, tires, spark plugs (they use copper ones due to MDS, and the copper ones only last 30k), and a set of front tie rods. It could use a transmission/coolant/brake/power steering fluid change sometime soon, but it's doing great. I just don't like the way the 2011 looks :( The side windows are so huge they look like they were stolen off grandpa's 2001 DTS or something.
     
  5. Lord Blackadder thread starter macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #5
    I agree with you about the badge-engineering, which is something I always hated. We didn't badge the 500 as a Chrysler here...so why did they have to hijack Lancia's name when Chrysler already sells these cars as Chryslers in Europe anyway?

    The diesel options will undoubtedly be popular, so the success of the cars will (somewhat ironically) possibly depend on the parts not made by Chrysler. Still surprised they killed the V8 altogether.
     
  6. JoeG4 macrumors 68030

    JoeG4

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    #6
    It sucks, because the V8s are fantastic engines, but I can see why: despite having good gas mileage for a car of its size with a V8, ~16mpg mixed average at what.. $8 or $9 a gallon? Holy crap! The petrol V6s were a flop in Europe because their gas mileage wasn't any better, and that's just as well because both the 2.7 and 3.5 had reliability issues.

    Their only hope for fuel efficiency is their Fiat diesel + the 8 speed transmission. The CRD was able to get those cars around 30mpg US (not kidding!) and if the Fiat engine + drivetrain is better, the gas mileage could be shockingly good.
     
  7. sysiphus, Feb 15, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2011

    sysiphus macrumors 6502a

    sysiphus

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    #7
    Yuck, double yuck, and triple yuck.

    In what universe are we supposed to be excited about badge engineering?
    And no, the Italians aren't going to swallow these as Lancias any more than Americans would.
    Also, as my family had a real Lancia Flavia from the 60s (white w/red leather)...well, let's just say we aren't cross-shopping a Chrysler 200. :confused:

    For reference, this is a real Lancia Flavia:
    [​IMG]

    It's really sad to see a brand with such a rich racing/engineering history being reduced to this...
     
  8. Lord Blackadder thread starter macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #8
    The biggest problem with running a big V8 in a luxury car in Europe is that the Germans have developed high performance diesels that get considerably superior fuel economy to the gasoline V8s. As a result, only people looking for very high performance or cost-no-object luxury will go for the gas engines.

    It's idiotic, by the way, that we don't get those engines here in the US. Fiat makes a lot of diesel engines.

    Not mine.
     
  9. Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

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    #9
    I am not sure where they got those pictures from. are they officially from lancia?
    i find hard to believe that they wouldn't at least change the grill to the traditional lancia one. (also, googling lancia thema 2012 gives also different sets of pics)
    these are clearly just photoshop jobs, so we'll see how identical they are in the flesh
    although lancia was doing pretty badly recently i think, so I suppose it makes sense for fiat/chrisler to focus on less products, at least temporarily. this gives them the opportunity to effectively ditch the Lancia line (which competes directly with their own alfas), without killing the brand completely,
     
  10. Lord Blackadder thread starter macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #10
    They are supposedly official, but I can't confirm that.

    Here's a photo from another blog:

    [​IMG]
     
  11. mgartner0622, Feb 15, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2011

    mgartner0622 macrumors 65816

    mgartner0622

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    #11
    Well, it certainly is a 300, terrible mileage and all. Not to mention the AWD model with the V8 they sell here in the US. You'll be lucky to get 12MPG.
    I wonder if they'll put a diesel motor from Fiat/Lancia in it?
    Personally, i'm amazed at the fuel mileage foreign cars in europe, especially diesels get, when I can barley push 16 in my Yukon. (It's a Denali trim level so it has an poorly designed AWD system, in regards to fuel mileage.) If the ground is wet, icy, or snowy, I get 8mpg.
    If they sold the Subaru's that they do in england here (The diesel 55MPG outback and such like the one on top gear a few seasons ago) I'm sure they would be a big hit.

    Also, let's compare just for fun:
    [​IMG]
     
  12. quagmire, Feb 16, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2011

    quagmire macrumors 603

    quagmire

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    #12
    What is bad about badge engineering when the car is not sold in the same market( will the 300 still be sold in the same markets as its Lancia brethren?)? Automakers do it all the time. Acura's are nothing, but badge engineered European Honda's( save the CUV's). The Pontiac G8 was the Holden Commodore. The Buick Regal is the Opel Insignia. Nothing wrong with badge engineering as long as they are not sold in the same markets. Manufactures are just using the established brands to bring the vehicles to the particular market without spending the money to establish a new brand.

    What you mean by poorly designed AWD system? All AWD systems suck fuel economy out of cars. The Denali's is a full-time AWD system I believe, so yeah it is constantly in AWD mode. There are some vehicles that have part-time AWD systems where it only powers the front wheels until the system detects slippage which then they send power to the rear and that does save fuel.

    Also, don't get mixed up with US gallons and Imperial gallons. That 55 MPG Outback in Europe is most likely using Imperial gallons. Also, Europe may test vehicles differently in calculating the fuel economy of their vehicles compared to the EPA. Another thing is emissions regulations. The emissions equipment needed to be put on a diesel engine to make it US legal also kills fuel economy.
     
  13. oscillatewildly macrumors 68000

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  14. Don't panic, Feb 16, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2011

    Don't panic macrumors 603

    Don't panic

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    #14
    i looked around and i think you are right.
    they are identical except the badge.

    the new 'horizontal' front grille is going to be present in all new lancias, including the non-chrysler ones (e.g. delta).
    probably a mistake as the 'split' one had become iconic of Lancias and it could have been substituted with basically no work.
    like in here:
    [​IMG]

    here you go:
     

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  15. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #15
    US gallons and imperial gallons are different, so mpg will also be different.

    Also, you can't compare fuel efficiency between diesels and petrol engines. The Subarus you're talking about likely won't sell well in the US because the majority of Americans still want petrol engines, not diesels. The infrastructure is also catered towards petrol, not diesel, so people may be more comfortable with a car that takes petrol, even if diesel is available at some stations.
     
  16. Lord Blackadder thread starter macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #16
    I'm an opponent of badge engineering. That doesn't mean I'm against shared platforms, but far too often it happens that manufacturers substitute badge engineering for "real" engineering and we end up with a cookie-cutter lineup of cars with different names that are all pretty much the same thing, separated only by their sheet metal and equipment levels. It's lame.

    When GM brought the Holden Monaro to the US as the GTO, I thought the name change and styling tweaks were largely unnecessary. Why not just sell it as a Holden Monaro? Are people really too stupid to figure out that the Monaro is a great car in it's own right, and need everything to be disguised as something we consider familiar? Apparently we don't mind if it's a Holden - as long as we get to call it the GTO.

    Perhaps I get too ranty about it, but I don't like badge engineering. And the number one reason I don't like it is because works. People won't buy a luxury Honda, but they will buy a nearly identical Acura. Wealthy people avoid the technologically marvelous VW Phaeton in droves, but flock to the big Audi A8. And so on. I suppose the lesson to take from this is that the car buying public is vain and gullible. You can polish a turd, and as long as you slap the right badge on it it will sell.

    It is a rather odd decision. Probably my biggest problem with the new Lancias is that they really don't resemble previous Lancias in any way. Only the 300 has any kind of performance credentials, and those are reduced by the available engines choices.
     
  17. quagmire macrumors 603

    quagmire

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    #17
    Yeah, but why do you care if the Buick Regal is a rebadge of the Opel Insignia? Opel isn't in the US market so you are not seeing the same car under a different brand with a little bit of different sheet metal.

    Holden is unknown in the US. What would be cheaper? Badge it as a Pontiac which is/was known to be a performance brand in the US or establish a new brand that is Holden in the US( which then further complicates the issue of GM having too many brands). Badging it and marketing it as a Pontiac would be cheaper because the Pontiac brand is already established in the US market. If GM did bring it in as a Holden, it would compete with Pontiac and be redundant.

    Look at why BMW sells so well. PERCEPTION! It won't matter if the Cadillac CTS-V is the fastest and best handling car in the world. Because of Cadillac's image not being in the cool status yet, the car will be called a POS, junk, for old people, etc. Everything in the US market is about perception. You can't have an upscale Honda because Honda in the US isn't perceived that way. They are perceived as a cheap and reliable mode of transportation and not premium vehicles. That is why they had to set up Acura. Why the Insignia is badged as a Buick because it is too upscale compared to a Chevy. Americans want to flaunt their wealth. Being seen in an expensive Honda won't work because of Honda's perceived position in the US market.
     
  18. Lord Blackadder thread starter macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #18
    I take your point, but I'll wager that engineers ruined the Opel suspension for Buick duty, transforming a boring but competent car into a boring and wobbly, floaty mess, like the G- and W- body Regals I've driven.

    Is it really impossible to establish a brand presence with a good car though? Honda did it pretty darned well in the late70s-80s, when everyone except your grandparents and hoodlums switched from that horrible G-body Regal to the much smaller but tauter and more efficient Accord. I think Holden could stand on it's own two feet here without competing with Pontiac, which is dead now at any rate. All you have to say is "Oh, that's GM Australia." Worst case, just call it a Chevy Monaro. No need to re-invent the GTO.

    I think the CTS-V has gotten pretty good reviews all 'round, even in Europe, where the perception lies heavily against Cadillac and American cars in general. Good cars can change perceptions.

    But it has limits! *cough* Cadillac Cimarron *cough*.

    In the end, I agree with you. There is a decided image over content situation prevailing when it comes to cars. I still think it's incredibly stupid. I wonder though, if perhaps the automakers have brought this on themselves through a century of slick marketing practices. It is no longer possible to sell something on its own merits - it has to be a good product and a good marketing scheme to succeed.
     
  19. quagmire, Feb 16, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2011

    quagmire macrumors 603

    quagmire

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    #19
    While I haven't driven the Insignia to compare it to, I would wager they didn't because it isn't a wobbly and floating mess. It is very well composed with a very good suspension. Neither is the new LaCrosse floaty( though the suspension is more tuned for comfort then sportiness). I like how the Regal drives. I would buy the Regal Turbo myself to replace my Saturn Aura XR( just need the money to do it).



    But it now goes to GM has too many brands with 9 brands in the US. And I would still feel it would be redundant. You have Pontiac in the middle of revival back to its performance roots and then bring in Holden which would have its performance vehicles in the Commodore, Statesman, and the HSV lines of the respective vehicles? Two dedicated performance brands would be redundant, IMHO.

    Anyway, the Commodore is rumored to be coming back as a Chevy and we already have the Holden Statesman/Caprice as the Caprice PPV( good news for us as it is cop only. So if you see a Caprice, it's a cop).

    Also, how was the Monaro a reinvention of the GTO? It was like the 1st-generation GTO where all they did was stick a big motor into an average looking Pontiac. While it didn't pay homage to its later forms, it was still a GTO in the sense of the 1st one.

    Yeah, Cadillac's image is slowly improving thanks to the CTS( no thanks to the new SRX and upcoming XTS). But, there are still people hanging on to Cadillac's old perception( currently in debate with a few over at a BMW forum I visit).
     
  20. Lord Blackadder thread starter macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #20
    The fact is, Buick's customers are literally dying out, so they need to attract younger customers with less stodgy offerings. I will hold my hand up here and admit that I have a prejudiced contempt for modern Buicks (apart from the neato Grand National/GNX) that I doubt I will ever shed. :eek:

    Maybe...but what is so horrible about selling a Holden Monaro as a Holden Monaro or at most a Chevy Monaro?

    A good point. But all this renaming just smacks of unecessary meddling to me.
     

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