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For other uses, see Lancia (disambiguation).
Lancia Automobiles S.p.A.
Formerly called
Lancia & C. Fabbrica Automobili
Società per azioni
Industry Automotive
Founded November 29, 1906
Founder Vincenzo Lancia
Headquarters Turin, Italy
Key people
John Elkann (President)
Saad Chehab (CEO of Lancia and Chrysler brand) CEO of Lancia - Antonella Bruno (since 23 April 2013)
Products Luxury Cars
Production output
71 200 (2013)
Owner Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, NV
Parent FCA Italy S.p.A.

Lancia Automobiles S.p.A. (Italian pronunciation: [ˈlantʃa]) is an Italian automobile manufacturer founded in 1906 by Vincenzo Lancia which became part of the Fiat Group in 1969.

The company has a strong rally heritage and is noted for using letters of the Greek alphabet for its model names.

In June 2014 it was announced that outside Italy, Lancia would cease to exist; only within Italy will the Lancia models still be offered.[1]


Lancia Beta Torpedo (1909)
Lancia production between 1998-2010[2]
Year Cars
1998 175 215
1999 161 019
2000 170,348
2001 134,812
2002 110,529
2003 108,989
2004 118,201
2005 115,543
2006 122,956
2007 118,036
2008 113,307
2009 113,810
2010 97,757
2011 100,007
2012 98,733
2013 71,223

Foundation and early years[edit]

Lancia was founded on 29 November 1906 in Turin by Fiat racing drivers Vincenzo Lancia (1881-1937) and his friend Claudio Fogolin (1872-1945) as Lancia & C. Fabbrica Automobili. The first Lancia automobile the "Tipo 51" or 12 HP (later called Alfa) was produced in 1907-1908. It had a small four-cylinder engine with a power of 28 hp.[3] In 1915 the Jota, Lancia's first truck, appeared and there followed a series of Jota trucks. In 1937 Vincenzo died of a heart attack, and his wife Adele Miglietti Lancia and his son Gianni Lancia took over the firm. They persuaded Vittorio Jano to join Lancia as an engineer. Jano had already made a name for himself by constructing various Alfa Romeos including the 6C, P2 and P3, some of the most successful racers of its time.

Lancia is famous for many automotive innovations. These include the 1913 Theta, which was the first production car in Europe to feature a complete electrical system as standard equipment.[4] The first car with a monocoque-type body – the Lambda, produced from 1922 to 1931 also featured 'Sliding Pillar' independent front suspension that incorporated the spring and hydraulic damper into a single unit (and featured on most production Lancias until the Appia 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,[5] after earlier industry-leading experiments with V8 and V12 engine configurations. It was also the first company to produce a V4 engine. Also, Lancia pioneered the use of independent suspension in production cars, in an era where live axles were common practice for both the front and rear axles of a car. They also developed rear transaxles which were fitted to the Aurelia and Flaminia ranges. The innovativeness, constant quest for excellence, the fixation of quality, the complication of the construction processes and the antiqued 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.[citation needed]

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[edit]

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 £20m.[6] 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.

During the 1970s and 1980s, Lancia had great success in rallying, winning many World Rally Championships.

During the 1980s, the company cooperated with Saab Automobile, with the Lancia Delta being sold as the Saab 600 in Sweden. The 1985 Lancia Thema also shared a platform with the Saab 9000, Fiat Croma and the Alfa Romeo 164. During the 1990s, all models were closely related to other Fiat models.

Starting from 1 February 2007, Fiat's automotive operations were reorganised.[7] 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.[7] 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.


Typical Lancia mask of latest car models and Lancia logo.

The original Lancia logo was designed by Count Carlo Biscaretti di Ruffia. The logo shows a lance and shield with flag. ("Lancia" means "lance" in Italian.) The Turin automobile museum is named after di Ruffia as Museo Nazionale dell'Automobile “Carlo Biscaretti di Ruffia”. The logo was redesigned in 2007.

Lancia family[edit]

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 an 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 .


Current models[edit]

Ypsilon Delta Thema Voyager
  • Supermini
  • 5-door hatchback
  • Small family car
  • 5-door hatchback
  • Executive car
  • 4-door saloon
  • Large MPV
  • 5-door minivan
Lancia Ypsilon Geneva.jpg Lancia delta fianco blu.jpg Lancia Thema (front quarter).jpg Lancia Voyager (front quarter).jpg

Lancia Ypsilon[edit]

Main article: Lancia Ypsilon

The Ypsilon is a supermini car produced from 2011, It is based on an updated Fiat 500 platform. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, it is sold as the Chrysler Ypsilon.[8]

Lancia Delta[edit]

Main article: Lancia Delta

A small family car unveiled at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show. Using stretched version of Fiat C-platform. Available as five-door hatchback. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, it is sold as the Chrysler Delta.[8]

Lancia Thema[edit]

Main article: Chrysler 300

An executive car unveiled in 2011, which is a re-branded second generation Chrysler 300, and replaced the Thesis. It re–uses the name from the 1984–94 Thema. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, it is sold as the Chrysler 300.

Lancia Voyager[edit]

A large MPV unveiled in 2011, which is based on the Chrysler Town & Country. In the United Kingdom and Ireland, it is sold as the Chrysler Grand Voyager.

Past car models[edit]

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.

Concept cars[edit]

The Kayak

Lancia has shown several concept cars to the public including the Flaminia Loratmo (1958), Stratos Zero (1970), the Megagamma by Italdesign Giugiaro and Sibilo by Bertone in 1978, Hit (1988) by Pininfarina, the Bertone designed Kayak (1995), the Dialogos (1998) and Nea in 2000.[9] More recently the company has shown the Granturismo Stilnovo and Fulvia[10] concepts in 2003.

Special cars[edit]

In the end of 1957 Lancia make their first limosine for the President of Italy,the model Lancia Florida.
In 1989 Lancia made a limosine version of the model Thema.
In 1999 Lancia made a limosine version of the Kappa and in 2004 Geneva Motor Show, Stola showed a limosine version of the Lancia Thesis.

Export markets[edit]

January 2014, Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat, announced that Lancia won't export cars anymore, making Italy the only market where Lancia would be available.[citation needed]

United States[edit]

While some models had been imported on a small scale in the 1950s and 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 codevelop 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 stated that, depending on the market, some Chrysler cars will be sold as Lancias and vice versa. Francois plans to reestablish the Chrysler brand as an upscale brand, a position somewhat muddied after the Plymouth brand was discontinued.[11] At the 2010 Detroit Auto Show, a Chrysler-badged Lancia Delta was on display,[12] but this has not resulted in sales in the USA, with proposals to modify an Alfa Romeo being considered instead for sale by 2013.[13]

United Kingdom[edit]

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.[14] 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.[15] The last model be sold in the United Kingdom was the Delta, boosted by its rallying reputation, withdrawn from sale in 1995.

There have been rumours suggesting Lancia's return to the United Kingdom almost continually, since 1995, these have always been credible; with Lancia models sharing common parts with Fiat and Alfa Romeo models, sold in the United Kingdom, and the existing Fiat or Alfa Romeo dealerships able to import, sell and maintain all Lancia models, there would be no major difficulty or expense in re-establishing the brand in the United Kingdom. Fiat cancelled Lancia's United Kingdom relaunch due to financial concerns in 2008, at the start of the global recession and the financial crisis.[16]

In 2011, Lancia Ypsilon and Delta models were eventually re–introduced to the United Kingdom, but were re–branded as Chrysler models. The Delta model was then dropped from Chrysler's line up in 2014.


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 marque including Ypsilon.

Lancia in motorsport[edit]

Formula One[edit]

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.[17] Altogether Lancia took two victories and ten podiums in Formula One.[18]

Remnants of the Lancia team were transferred to Scuderia Ferrari,[19] where Juan Manuel Fangio won the 1956 championship with a Lancia-Ferrari car.


Lancia has been very successful in motorsport over the years, and mostly in the arena of rallying. Prior to the forming of the World Rally Championship, Lancia took the final International Championship for Manufacturers title with the Fulvia in 1972. In the WRC, they remain the most statistically successful marque (despite having withdrawn at the end of the 1993 season), winning constructors' titles with the Stratos (1974, 1975 and 1976), the 037 (1983) and the Delta (six consecutive wins from 1987 to 1992). The Delta is also the most successful individual model designation ever to compete in rallying. All this gave Lancia a total of 11 Championships over the years.

Juha Kankkunen and Miki Biasion both won two drivers' titles with the Delta. Among other drivers to take several World Rally Championship wins with Lancia were Markku Alén, Didier Auriol, Sandro Munari, Bernard Darniche, Walter Röhrl, Björn Waldegård and Henri Toivonen. The history of the brand in rallying is also tainted with tragedy, with deaths of Italian driver Attilio Bettega at the 1985 Tour de Corse in a Lancia 037 and then Finnish championship favourite Toivonen in a Lancia Delta S4 at the same rally exactly a year later. These deaths would eventually lead to the end of Group B rallying.

Sports car racing[edit]

A Lancia LC1 Group 6 sports car

During Lancia's dominance of rallying, the company also expanded into sports cars in the late 1970s until the mid-1980s. Originally running the Stratos HF in Group 4, as well as a brief interlude with a rare Group 5 version, the car was replaced with the successful Beta Montecarlo Turbo winning the FIA's 1980 World Championship for Makes and 1981 World Endurance Championship for Makes and the 1980 Deutsche Rennsport Meisterschaft.

A Lancia LC2 sports car

In 1982 the team moved up to Group 6 with the LC1 Spyder, followed by the Group C LC2 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.


Commercial vehicles[edit]

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.



Lancia Triota 1921
Lancia Esadelta C
Lancia Esagamma E
Lancia trolleybus in Athens
Lancia 3RO military truck



Military vehicles[edit]

  • Lancia IZM (1912) armored vehicle
  • Lancia 3 RO (1938)
  • Lancia EsaRo (1942) truck
  • Lancia Lince (lynx) (1942) armored car – a copy of Daimler Dingo MK I
  • Lancia 6Ro (1948) LKW
  • Lancia CL51 (Z 20) (1954) troop transporter
  • Lancia TL51 (Z 30) (1954) lorries
  • Lancia ACL 90 (later Iveco)
  • Lancia 506
  • Lancia 6611



The company has previously made a number of industrial engines.[citation needed]

Media and sponsorship[edit]

In 2009, the British motoring television show Top Gear suggested that Lancia had more 'great' models than any other car company.[20] The presenters went on to test the Gamma Coupé, Fulvia Coupé, Aprilia, Montecarlo, Beta Coupé, HPE, Stratos, 037, Delta Integrale Evo II and Thema 8.32. They also stated during their review that Lancia made the best looking cars, even though they are unreliable.[citation needed]

Lancia sponsored the Venice Film Festival for five years, ending in 2012, with the Lancia Thema used to transport stars to the festival.[21] Lancia was sponsor of ninth and eleventh World Summit of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Lancia to get lobotomized, will become an Italian only brand with one model - report". 
  2. ^ "Lancia production between 1998-2009". Retrieved 2010-10-14. 
  3. ^ Marc Vorgers. "Lancia history". Retrieved 2008-05-01. 
  4. ^ "Innovation The First Models". Retrieved 2012-06-09. 
  5. ^ "Lancia Coupés & Convertibles: the Aurelia B20 Gran Turismo". Retrieved 2007-06-21. 
  6. ^ "Lancia loss was £20m". The Times. 30 April 1970. p. 24. 
  7. ^ a b "Fiat auto cambia nome - Sarà “Automobiles group”". 24 January 2007. Retrieved 12 February 2015. 
  8. ^ a b "CHrysler UK website". Retrieved 2011-10-21. 
  9. ^ "Lancia Nea". Car & Driver. September 2000. Retrieved 23 August 2013. 
  10. ^ "Lancia Fulvia is coming". Autocar. Retrieved 27 July 2012. 
  11. ^ "Lancia, Chrysler to share products". Retrieved 2009-11-29. 
  12. ^ Jared Gall (January 2010). "Chrysler Delta Concept - Auto Shows". Car and Driver magazine. Retrieved 2010-01-11. 
  13. ^ "Caught Testing: 2013 Chrysler 100 - Spy Shots". Road and Track. 6 February 2012. Retrieved 27 July 2012. 
  14. ^ Hunston, Hugh (10 April 1980). "Lancia buy back rust-hit Betas". The Glasgow Herald. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  15. ^ English, Andrew (28 Jun 2011). "Chrysler Ypsilon review". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  16. ^ "Fiat cancels Lancia's UK return". What Car?. 8 December 2008. Retrieved 27 July 2012. 
  17. ^ "Formula One timeline". Retrieved 2007-06-27. 
  18. ^ "Lancia Formula 1 Team". Retrieved 2007-06-27. 
  19. ^ "Lancia D50". Retrieved 2007-06-27. 
  20. ^ "Top Gear Loves Lancia part 1". Top Retrieved 2010-11-26. 
  21. ^ "Maserati to take over role of Lancia at Film Festival of Venice". Auto Edizione. 29 July 2013. Retrieved 23 August 2013. 

External links[edit]