Lancia says Flavia, a rebadged Chrysler, has Italian flair
TAORMINA, Italy -- Fiat's near-premium brand Lancia aims to add more Italian flair to its image with the launch of the Flavia convertible.
"These days we seem to have lost the romance. The Flavia cabriolet reignites the spirit of La Dolce Vita," said Saad Chehab, global head of the Chrysler and Lancia brands.
The four-seat convertible will be sold in Europe with a soft-top roof. In the United States, where the model is built and sold as the Chrysler 200 cabriolet, it is also available with a retractable hard top.
Lancia has modest sales ambitions for the car, targeting European sales of around 1,000 units in the second half and between 1,600 and 2,000 in 2013, according to Paolo Gagliardo, head of the brand for Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Lancia is offering a single trim level for the Flavia, but customers can choose between different color schemes for bodywork, interior and soft top.
The Flavia joins two other Chrysler models rebadged as Lancias in Europe. The others are the Thema sedan and the Voyager large minivan, which both went on sale in November.
The two models have so far sold well below expectations, with demand for the Thema, a rebadge of the Chrysler 300 large sedan, reaching just 594 units from January to April and the Voyager, a rebadge of the Town and Country large minivan, reaching 1,734 in the same period, according to data from JATO Dynamics.
Lancia had targeted sales of 10,000 Themas and 11,000 Voyagers for this year.
THE GOOD AND THE BAD
Target buyers: Customers looking for an affordable four-seat, mid-sized convertible.
New technology: Uconnect Media Center offers a 6.5-inch touch-screen and voice command for easy control of several multimedia sources and outputs. The system includes a connection for an Apple iPod and a 40 gigabyte hard disk that can store up to about 6,700 music tracks.
What's good: Design is well-proportioned with the roof open or closed. Nice two-tone leather seats as standard equipment.
What's bad: Modest rear legroom despite an overall length of nearly 5 meters. Some interior trim plastics look and feel cheap.
Launch date: June
Base price: 37,900 euros (Italy).
Platform: Chrysler JS.
Where built: Sterling Heights, Michigan, United States.
Lowest CO2 emissions: 221g/km (170-hp 2.4-liter gasoline engine).
Main rivals: Cabriolet versions of Audi A5, BMW 6 series, Mercedes E class and Volvo C70.
You can reach Luca Ciferri at firstname.lastname@example.org.