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Geneva LIVE: Lancia unveils trio of Chrysler-based models

by Andrew Ganz

In an effort to further merge the two brands, Lancia has unveiled a trio of new Chrysler-based models at the Geneva Motor Show.

After Fiat recently announced its new Dodge Journey-based Fiat Fremont, the automaker indicated that it would rebadge other Michigan-designed Chrysler products with Italian labels. It didn't take long for those new models to come to fruition, with Lancia announcing three more Chrysler-based vehicles -- the 300, 200 and Town & Country..

As we can tell from the images, the rebadge jobs aren't especially convincing. A new Lancia badge is added to the top of the 300's grille and a different set of wheels have clearly been specified for the sedan, but otherwise the design is 100 percent Auburn Hills. The 300 will be renamed the Lancia Thema.

The 200 - which was known in its previous skin as the Chrysler Sebring - will also be sold under the Lancia banner. Available in both sedan and convertible body styles, the Lancia version of the 200 will be sold as the Flavia.

Completing the Chrysler-Lancia integration, the Italian automaker will also sell a version of the Chrysler Town & Country in the European market. Dubbed the Lancia Voyager, the minivan will share the same minor visual tweaks seen on the 200 and 300 models.

Fiat has been trying to turn around its struggling Lancia brand for decades. Once synonymous with innovation, the brand is now mostly unheard of outside of Italy. A rebadged 300 and 200 would undoubtedly boost volume, but it certainly seems like an odd way to rebuild the Lancia brand.

Since day one of the Fiat-Chrysler tie-up, joint CEO Sergio Marchionne has said that Chrysler division and Lancia will essentially mirror one another globally despite the different badges.

Looking back
The Thema badge dates back to Lancia's mid-1980s flagship sedan, a model developed in a unique partnership between Fiat (Croma), Lancia, Alfa Romeo (164) and Saab (9000). Only the Alfa Romeo and the Saab were sold in North America; the Swedish model was vastly more successful globally.

The Flavia nameplate, meanwhile, was applied to a series of shapely four-cylinder two and four-door models produced through the 1960s and 1970s. Flavias were highly advanced premium cars for their era and, in many ways, their demise marked the end of Lancia's independence when the brand became part of Fiat in 1969.

Lancia Thema Live images