The company has a strong rally heritage and is noted for using letters of the Greek alphabet for its model names.
Lancia vehicles are no longer sold outside of Italy, and comprise only the Ypsilon supermini range, as Fiat CEOSergio Marchionne foreshadowed in January 2014.
Lancia Beta Torpedo (1909)
In 1910 Lancia components were exported to the United States where they were assembled and sold as SGV’s by the SGV Company. In 1915, Lancia also manufactured its first truck, the Jota that continued as a dedicated series. In 1937, Vincenzo died of a heart attack and both his wife, Adele Miglietti Lancia, and his son, Gianni Lancia, took over control of the company. They persuaded Vittorio Jano to join as an engineer. Jano had already made a name for himself by designing various Alfa Romeo models, including some of its most successful race cars ever such as the 6C, P2 and P3. Foundation and early years
Lancia & C. Fabbrica Automobili was founded on 29 November 1906 in Turin by Fiat racing drivers,Vincenzo Lancia (1881-1937) and his friend, Claudio Fogolin (1872-1945). The first car manufactured by Lancia was the“Tipo 51” or “12 HP” (later called “Alfa”), which remained in production between from 1907 to 1908. It had a small four-cylinder engine with a power output of 28 hp.
Lancia is renowned in the automotive world for introducing cars with numerous innovations. These include the
Theta of 1913, which was the first European production car to feature a complete electrical system as standard equipment. Lancia’s first car adopting a monocoque chassis – the
Lambda produced from 1922 to 1931 – featured ‘Sliding Pillar‘ independent front suspension that incorporated the spring and hydraulic damper into a single unit (a feature that would be employed in subsequent Lancia’s, up to the Appia that was replaced in 1963). 1948 saw the first 5 speed gearbox to be fitted to a production car (Series 3 Ardea). Lancia premiered the first full-production V6 engine, in the 1950 Aurelia, after earlier industry-leading experiments with V8 and V12 engine configurations. It was also the first manufacturer to produce a V4 engine. Other innovations involved the use of independent suspension in production cars (in an era where live axles where common practice for both the front and rear axles of a car) and rear transaxles, which were first fitted to the Aurelia and Flaminia range. This drive for innovation, constant quest for excellence, fixation of quality, complex construction processes and antiqued production machinery meant that all cars essentially had to be hand-made. With little commonality between the various models, the cost of production continued to increase extensively, while demand did not eventually affecting Lancia’s viability.
Gianni Lancia, a graduate engineer was president of Lancia from 1947 to 1955. In 1956 the Pesenti family took over control of Lancia with Carlo Pesenti (1907–1984) in charge.
1969 to present
Fiat launched a take-over bid in October 1969 which was accepted by Lancia as the company was losing significant sums of money, with losses in 1969 being GB£20m. This was not the end of the distinctive Lancia marque, and new models in the 1970s such as the Stratos, Gamma and Beta served to prove that Fiat wished to preserve the image of the brand it had acquired.
Starting from 1 February 2007, Fiat’s automotive operations were reorganised. Fiat Auto became Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A., Fiat S.p.A.‘s branch handling mainstream automotive production. Simultaneously the current company, Lancia Automobiles S.p.A., was created from the pre-existing brand, and controlled 100% by FGA. In 2011, Lancia moved in a new direction and added new models manufactured by Chrysler and sold under the Lancia badge in many European markets. Conversely, Lancia built models began to be sold in right-hand drive markets under the Chrysler badge. In 2015 Lancia’s parent company Fiat Group Automobiles S.p.A. became FCA Italy S.p.A., reflecting the earlier incorporation of Fiat S.p.A. into Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
1907 Lancia radiator script
1929–1957 Lancia logo
1974–2000 Lancia logo
From 1907 to 1910 Lancia cars didn’t bear a true badge, but rather a brass plaque identifying the manufacturer (Lancia & C.) and chassis code; although some models did have a brass Lancia script on the grille.
The original Lancia logo was designed by Count Carlo Biscaretti di Ruffia. In 1910 Vincenzo Lancia asked Biscaretti di Ruffia to design a badge for the company; the Count submitted six watercolour proposal sketches. Vincenzo Lancia chose a round one, composed by a blue lance and flag bearing a Lancia script (“Lancia” means “lance” in Italian) in gold, over a four-spoke steering wheel, with a hand throttle detail on the right spoke. The first car to bear the Lancia logo was the Gamma 20 HP in 1911.
In 1929 the logo acquired its final layout: the previous round badge was superimposed on a blue shield in the shape of a Reuleaux triangle (as found in one of Biscaretti di Ruffia’s six original proposals). Though first applied on the 1929 Dikappa, this badge was only used consintently starting with the 1936 Aprilia.
Beginning with the 1957 Flaminia, Lancia cars switched from the traditional vertical split grille to an horizontal, full-width one. The logo was therefore moved inside the grille opening, and changed to a more stylized chromed metal open-work design; shield and steering wheel became chrome frames, the only remaining enameled surface being the blue field of the flag. This new metal logo was used on most models with some exceptions, namely Zagato-bodied Lancia Fulvias and Flavias, the Lancia 2000 Berlina (which reprised the traditional upright grille and the round enameled badge) and the Stratos HF (whose ornaments lacked the triangular shield).
In 1974 the badge was redesigned on Gianni Agnelli‘s request; it went back to a modernised silver, white and blue version of the 1929 design. Flag and lance were unified in a single shape and dispensed with the earlier minute detailing, the Lancia letters became all of the same size, and the steering wheel became also outlined in blue and lost the hand throttle detail. This logo debuted on the 1979 Lancia Delta, and made its way on the other models as they adopted the split grille introduced by the Delta. Though lightly revised in 2000 with the addition of a chrome shield surround, the 1974 logo was used through four decades, up to 2006.
The current logo, designed by Robilant Associati, was presented at the 2007 Geneva Motor Show—a couple of months after the creation of Lancia Automobiles. While the traditional chrome-framed blue shield has been retained and made three-dimensional, for the first time since 1911 lance and flag are absent; the steering wheel has been stylized into a chromed circle, from which two spikes converge towards the modern Lancia logotype in the centre.
Cavalier Giuseppe Lancia (1860 (Cuneo) – 1919 (Bordighera)) is an Italian businessman and father of Vincenzo Lancia. When he was sixteen he started a business with food in Italy. Later for few years he made relationships with South America and he created a food industry in Argentina. His efforts and innovations made his company a great success. His company was one of the first food companies in the country and showed new methods in this sector. When he made a fortune he returned to Italy. When he goes back his rang in Turin go to town advisor. By his education Giuseppe is a translator. In 1875 he is married for Marianna Orazzi. In 1876, their first son Giovanni is born. He loves education, humanities and the Greek language. In 1879 their daughter Margherita was born. Unfortunately, she died in 1894. In 1881 their third child Vincenzo Lancia was born. Their second daughter was born at 1884 – Anna Maria later Anna Maria-Giacobinni. The Lancia family at that time was important for Turin. The members of the family liked to go on opera and theatre. In their free time. the Lancias spend their time at a villa near Turin.
Vincenzo Lancia was born on 24 of August 1881 in Fobello near Turin. His father wanted Vincenzo to be a lawyer, but didn’t have much interest in the humanities. He met the Battista brothers as well as Giovanni Ceirano and became interested in science and technology, especially automobiles. He saw his first cars in Turin and Milan. One of his friends Carlo Bishareti di Ruffia had a Benz and that was the first important automobile in his life. When FIAT was founded in 1899 Vincenzo was very active in the company and later became one of the most famous test drivers of Italian automobile brands. In 1922, Vincenzo married his secretary – Adele Miglietti. Vincenzo and Adele had three children Gianni, Eleonora and Maria. He died on February 15, 1937.
Gianni Lancia was born on 24 November 1924 in Turin. He finished his education with his sisters at the Technical University of Pisa. From the time he was a little boy Gianni loved sports, but his greatest passion was motor racing. This led him to become a driver for the Lancia team. Gianni became the boss of Lancia in 1950. Unfortunately, he invested a lot of money in expensive prototypes and other unprofitable ventures that led him to sell a big part of the company to Carlo Pesenti in 1957. After that he started a business in the food industry. For a few years he lived in Brazil. He had two sons, Mariele and Vincenzo from his first marriage and had one son (Lorenzo Lancia) from his marriage to Jacqueline Sassard .
The Ypsilon is a premium 5-door supermini car produced since 2011. It is based on an updated Fiat 500 platform. Available for sale in various European markets, for the United Kingdom and Ireland it was only sold as the Chrysler Ypsilon.
Past car models
Lancia has a long tradition of passenger, fast touring, sports and racing cars. They have tended to emphasize quality, appearance and sophisticated design, somewhat at the expense of power and competitive pricing. Among the most beautiful, desirable and unusual models are various Lancia Zagato models.
The Lancia Aurelia introduced the front engine rear transmission configuration later used by Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Porsche, GM, and Maserati, as well as the V6 engine, which is now common. It also had inboard rear brakes, an important way of reducing un-sprung weight.
The Lancia Stratos was a successful rally car during the 1970s and helped the company to improve its sporting credentials.
The Lancia Thema was a executive car unveiled in 2011, was a re-branded second generation Chrysler 300 and replaced the Thesis. It re–used the Thema name from the saloon of 1984–94 made in Italy. Previously available in various European markets, for the United Kingdom and Ireland it was only sold as the Chrysler 300C. It has since been discontinued in 2015.
The Lancia Voyager was a large MPV unveiled in 2011, which was based on the Chrysler Town & Country. It was marketed in various European markets, for the United Kingdom and Ireland it was only sold as the Chrysler Grand Voyager. It has since been discontinued in 2015.
In January 2014, in an interview with La Repubblica, Fiat CEOSergio Marchionne foreshadowed that Lancia would become an Italy–only brand, and focus only on the Ypsilon supermini range.
While some models had been imported on a small scale during the 1950s–1960s, Lancias were officially sold in the United States from 1975. Sales were comparatively slow, and the range was withdrawn at the same time as Fiat in 1982.
In 2009, following Fiat’s acquisition of a stake in United States-based Chrysler and part of Chrysler’s restructuring plans, it was stated that Fiat plans for the Chrysler brand and Lancia to co–develop products, with some vehicles being shared. Olivier Francois, Lancia’s CEO, took over as CEO of the Chrysler division in October 2009. Fiat has also announced that, depending on the market, some Chrysler cars would be sold as Lancias and vice versa.
Francois plans to re-establish the Chrysler brand as an upscale brand, was somewhat muddied by the discontinuance of the Plymouth brand. At the 2010 Detroit Auto Show, a Chrysler-badged Lancia Delta was on display, but this did not result in sales in the United States, with proposals to instead modify an Alfa Romeo for sale by 2013.
Lancia’s reputation was significantly undermined in 1980, when defective Lancia Beta models, suffering from significant suspension sub-frame corrosion problems, were purchased back from owners by the company in a highly publicised campaign. These cars were subsequently crushed. The brand never recovered from the damage inflicted during the Beta recall and, combined with a range of related factors (including poor residual values, which made their range uncompetitive), decided to withdraw from the right hand drive market. The last model be sold in the United Kingdom was the Delta, boosted by its rallying reputation, withdrawn from sale in 1995.
Since 1995, there have been continuous rumours suggesting Lancia’s return to the United Kingdom. In November 2005, What Car? reported rumours over the alleged return, to rival “affordable” premium makes, such as Saab and Volvo. In September 2006, What Car? reported that Lancia were officially returning to the United Kingdom. The relaunch date was set for August 2008. In April 2008, Car reported that Lancia had postponed the relaunch.
These were credible since Lancia models, by that time, shared common parts with Fiat and Alfa Romeo models that were imported, sold and maintained by an existing dealership network. The cost to reestablish the brand were therefore minimal. In December 2008, however, Fiat cancelled re–launch plans, due to financial concerns coinciding with the global financial crisis, and the recession.
In 2011, Lancia Ypsilon and Delta models were eventually re–introduced to the United Kingdom, but were re–branded as Chrysler. In January 2014, the Delta model was dropped from this line–up. In March 2015, Fiat Group announced that the Chrysler brand would be discontinued in the U.K. in 2017, citing a desire to focus largely on the Jeep brand instead.
A small number of Lancia models were previously sold in Japan, such as Fulvia, Stratos and Delta. More recently, some models have been sold under the Chrysler brand, such as the Ypsilon.
After Vincenzo Lancia’s son Gianni became director of the firm, it started to take part more frequently in motorsport, eventually deciding to build a Grand Prix car. Vittorio Jano was the new designer for Lancia and his Lancia D50 was entered into the 1954 Spanish Grand Prix, where Alberto Ascari took the pole position and drove the fastest lap. In the 1955 Monaco Grand Prix Ascari crashed into the harbour after missing a chicane. One week later Ascari was killed in an accident driving a Ferrari sports car at Monza. With Ascari’s death and Lancia’s financial problems the company withdrew from Grand Prix racing. Altogether Lancia took two victories and ten podiums in Formula One.
In 1982 the team moved up to Group 6 with the LC1 Spyder, followed by the Group CLC2 coupé which featured a Ferrari powerplant in 1983. The LC2 was a match for the standard-setting Porsche 956 in terms of raw speed, securing 13 pole positions over its lifetime, however its results were hampered by poor reliability and fuel economy and it only managed to win three European and World Endurance Championship races. The team’s inability to compete against the dominant Porsche 956 and 962 sports cars led it to drop out of sportscar racing at the end of 1986 in order to concentrate on rallying, although private teams continued to enter LC2s with declining results until the early 1990s.
Lancia produced a wide range of vans, trucks, buses and military vehicles from the beginning, forming Lancia Veicoli Industriali in 1912. Lancia slowly withdrew from the commercial sectors during the late 1960s and production of commercial vehicles ended in the early 1970s, shortly after Fiat’s takeover of the company, with some models transferred to Iveco.