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Lancia to introduce Chrysler-based flagship model in March

by Bill Cawthon on

Automotive News says Lancia will unveil a new flagship model based on the Chrysler 300 at the Geneva Auto Show in March 2011. The most likely name for the new car is Thema, a name last used on Lancias in the 1990s.

The Thema will sport a Lancia grille and European bumpers. While it will be available with the same engines offered in the Chrysler 300, it’s expected most cars be sold with a 230-horsepower, V6 turbodiesel that will be produced by VM Motori in Italy. The same car will be sold under the Chrysler name in Great Britain and Ireland, two markets where Lancia vehicles are not represented.

Sales are estimated to be in the range of 10,000-15,000 annually. The new Thema will be built alongside the Chrysler 300 at the Brampton, Ontario, assembly plant.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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