Lancia wants to measure Mercedes in a bold comeback plan

Shoot at the moonis the aphorism. If you miss it, you will end up under the stars. If so, this next decade will be an interesting one for Lancia. The boss of the contested historic Italian automobile manufacturer has declared that Lancia is firing a shot from the moon: He wants to be on a par with Mercedes-Benz.

Lancia, which has been in a bit of a decline since its last World Rally Championship title in 1992, is now in a similar boat to Chrysler, with almost no brand presence and (soon) just one car on the market. It apparently has 10 years to go around or die, and it obviously went for the former, as brand CEO Luca Napolitano explained Reuters, told the publication that his company will use Mercedes as a benchmark.

“We still have to work and have to look at a yardstick … which is Mercedes for us,” explained Napolitano. “I don’t mean that we want to fight Mercedes, that would be naive, but that’s an example of what we’re seeing.”

Napolitano presumably means mimicking Mercedes performance, build quality and design more than its brand cache or bloated lineup that won’t pose a problem for Lancia. Its new model plans for the 2020s currently only include three cars made with the highest percentage of recycled materials of any Stellantis brand. These include a new Ypsilon small car in 2024 (which will be built with both hybrid and all-electric drive), a compact electric crossover in 2026 and a compact hatchback in 2028 – that would be the famous delta from which Napolitano confirmed that he will return earlier this year.

Don’t expect the Lancia Delta to become a futuristic rally car in 2028, however, as Lancia reportedly has no plans to return to motorsport. The company needs to hit the fundamentals first, such as staying profitable, which is what it wants to achieve by re-branding in key markets. For this purpose, dealerships are set up in 60 of the largest cities in Europe, starting in France and Germany, before expanding to Austria, Belgium, Scandinavia and Spain. Spread across these countries, Lancia will be distributing around 100 dealerships, not to mention establishing an online sales pipeline to help customers bypass physical retail stores.

“My goal is to be able to buy a car with just three clicks,” added Napolitano. “Clearly, volume matters, but our goals are for profitability.”

“We are initially striving to make 25 to 30 percent of our sales abroad in order to reach 50-50,” concluded the board of directors. “Our aggressive electrification strategy and our focus on very strong market segments in Europe will help us in this.”

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