DETROIT – Fiat's Lancia brand will launch a rebadged Chrysler 200 mid-sized car in Europe, possibly called the Flavia, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said.
The car will debut at the Geneva auto show in March and will be sold as a sedan and cabriolet. It will replace the Chrysler Sebring in Europe.
“The new Chrysler 200 will come – cabriolet included – to Europe as a Lancia, and Flavia is a very good hint as its possible name,” Marchionne said on the sidelines of the Detroit auto show.
At the Geneva show, Lancia will also unveil a new flagship called the Thema, which is a rebadged version of the new Chrysler 300 large sedan, as well a Lancia version of the Chrysler Voyager large minivan and its latest Ypsilon subcompact.
Lancia hopes the three models will give the slow-selling brand an image boost and also bring higher profit margins because all three will be positioned above the Delta compact hatchback, which is currently the brand's largest model.
The Thema and the Voyager will go on sale starting in late 2011 with a Lancia badge in mainland Europe and as a Chrysler in the UK and Ireland, where Lancias are not sold.
The Flavia will launch in Europe in early 2012. Chrysler will debut the revamped 200 cabriolet for North America either at the Chicago auto show in February or at the New York show in April.
The Lancia version of the Chrysler 200 will have minor tweaks, such as a different grille and Europe-specific bumpers. On the powertain side, the models for Europe would add a manual transmission and a diesel engine, both not part of the U.S. range, Lancia-Chrysler CEO Olivier Francois said.
After a Geneva show debut, the new Ypsilon will go on sale starting in June, offering a five-door version for the first time, a move Marchione hopes will boost sales of the hatchback.
The new Ypsilon is based on the Fiat Panda. The current model is based on the past generation Fiat Punto. It was launched as a three-door in 2002.
Lancia plans to sell 130,000 units a year of the new Ypsilon, compared with 85,000 peaks sales of the current model in 2004 and about 60,000 units in the past two years.
Marchionne aims to boost Lancia's sales to 300,000 in 2014 from 112,000 in 2009.
Fiat, which controls Chrysler with a 25 percent stake in the U.S. carmaker, is integrating Lancia with Chrysler.