Lancia Delta Digitally Returns as an SUV, But Don’t Get Your Hopes Up
11 June 2020 - autoevolution
Around a year ago, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced the umpteenth intention to merge with another automaker.
The potential deal with Groupe Renault didn't work out, and in December 2019, Groupe PSA confirmed that it has agreed to the merger. What does this mean for Lancia, though?
As a Lancia enthusiast, I'm happy to report that the Italian brand will soldier on. "It's part of the challenge to adequately manage these brands to cover the market," said chief exec Carlos Tavares. "They all have their history and strengths," but the aforementioned question still stands. What's next?
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles made the first move with the Ypsilon. Not a top-down redesign, but an all-new engine and transmission geared for efficiency rather than no-nonsense performance. And no, the supermini hasn't and probably won't get the all-electric underpinnings from the new Fiat 500e.
To understand what the future holds for Lancia, you only need to look at the Opel and Vauxhall brands after General Motors sold them to Groupe PSA. Both have doubled down on crossovers with French platforms and engines, and both have returned to profit thanks to all-inclusive synergies.
Given this precedent, it wouldn't come as a surprise if the Delta were to return as a crossover utility vehicle, maybe a compact one of those to take on the likes of the Nissan Qashqai and Volkswagen Tiguan. Produced from 2008 to 2014 and also known as the Chrysler Delta in the United Kingdom, the third generation's exterior styling looks noticeably outdated.
Pixel artist Kleber Silva, however, is onto something. The grille's shape will be pretty much unchanged, the full-width taillights would give the Delta the visual presence it deserves, and the side profile has that certain Peugeot 3008 and Citroen C5 Aircross about it. As mentioned beforehand, you can bet your sweet bippy that Lancia would borrow a lot of parts from Groupe PSA.
The Italian brand – now exclusive to Italy – didn't mention any plans for the future, though. It's hard to imagine Groupe PSA giving it the go-ahead for an all-new model on such short notice, but that's not all. If the Delta would come back as a crossover, you can expect that to happen after Lancia reestablishes its dealership network in the European Union.