One of Europe's most iconic carmakers is planning a big return – but the homologation rally specials of old will make way for electric small cars and SUVs.
- shares

Renamed owner Stellantis is plotting a revival of the Lancia brand with a slew of new models in the next six years, new reports suggest.

According to Automotive News Europe, up to three new Lancia models are in the brand's plans: a city-sized 'light' hatchback due in mid-2024, a small SUV due in early 2026, and a Volkswagen Golf-rivalling small hatchback in late 2027 – all available with some form of electrification.

The first model to launch, the light hatchback, would serve as a replacement of the ageing Ypsilon (above and below) – Lancia's sole remaining model, a city car sharing its underpinnings with the Fiat 500 that, despite being on sale since 2011, still managed to become the second best-selling car in Italy in 2020.

Italy is the only market in which the Ypsilon (and the Lancia brand) is sold – allowing the brand's new-generation products to expand its reach into other European and overseas markets, potentially including Australia, which last saw a Lancia vehicle in showrooms back in 1985.

Based on the second generation of the former PSA group's CMP platform (now known as STLA Small) due in 2022, the Ypsilon replacement will reportedly be offered with both petrol and electric power – the latter making the first electric vehicle in Lancia's 115-year history.

It'll be followed by a small SUV in the first quarter of 2026 (January to March), riding on the new STLA Medium platform (formerly known as e-VMP, under PSA management) and available solely in all-electric guise.

A third model – a small hatchback, similar in size to a Volkswagen Golf, or the old Lancia Delta – is in the plans for late 2027, though company sources have told Automotive News Europe the car maker has yet to give it the green light for production, and is still evaluating whether there will be sufficient demand for it.

All three models will be overseen by Lancia's new design chief, Jean-Pierre Ploue, who was appointed by Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares earlier this month to lead the Italian subsidiary's design-led revival.

Above: Lancia Delta Integrale rally car of the 1980s and 1990s.

Sadly, there are no signs the marque will return to the World Rally Championship (WRC), nor is there any indication it will offer performance versions of its new models.

Lancia's revival under new Stellantis management will see the brand repositioned as a 'premium' marque, on par with Italian compatriot Alfa Romeo and French brand DS – with Stellantis looking to share components and platforms across the three brands, plus one co-developed model.

"We are working with our Italian colleagues on specific premium modules, powertrains and features to differentiate the premium brands from the mainstream brands," DS product director, Marion David, told Automotive News Europe in February.

Above: The fan-favourite Lancia Thema 8.32, powered by a 3.2-litre V8 engine designed by Ferrari. Bottom of story: Road-going Lancia Rally 037.

"The cars that are already a work in progress will continue and be launched, and then for the next generation we are focused on making the synergies that are the reason for the [Stellantis] merger", with the executive reportedly confirming the joint-developed models "will appear in 2024 or 2025".

Lancia's dormant years under Fiat Chrysler (FCA) ownership can be attributed to a lack of the resources needed to revive the iconic marque, with Stellantis CEO John Elkann telling the same publication in March "We have seen it clearly with some brands like Alfa Romeo and Lancia, on which we could not invest or give resources as much as we wanted in recent years."

"In this new group there will be much greater opportunities than in the past for these two brands, which are based in Turin," he added.