Lancia has postponed its return to the UK by nearly a year. The company had planned a glitzy British launch at the end of summer 2008, spearheaded by the all-new Audi A3 rivalling Delta (pictured) that was unveiled at March’s Geneva motor show.
The comeback has now been rescheduled for summer 2009. Sources cited two major reasons for the delay. The first is that the Fiat Group has been struggling to put a suitably comprehensive dealer network in place. Lancias will be sold alongside Alfa Romeos, Fiats and the newly resurrected Abarth brand. But with trade picking up for Fiat following the successful launch of the new 500, many dealerships have been loathe to go through the distracting upheaval of rejigging and rebranding showrooms ready to accept another firm.
Lancia: the comeback
The second reason for postponing the relaunch for another 12 months is that it will give Lancia the chance to make its UK return with more than one model. Bosses apparently felt this was vital to guaranteeing the success of the brand’s reintroduction to the UK after 15 years’ absence, particularly if the economic climate continues to deteriorate.
As a result the Delta will be joined in showrooms by the Ypsilon supermini. UK chiefs hope the Fulvietta sportscar will have been unveiled by then to give them a sexier ‘halo’ model to help promote their more family friendly products.
‘No point doing it half-cocked’
One source told us: ‘We’re still very committed to coming to the UK and to getting it right when we do. There’s no point going off half cocked and wasting the opportunity we have to make a big impact.’
The UK delay isn’t affecting the pan-European launch of the new Fiat Bravo-based Delta which will still go ahead in summer 2008.
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