A Local Lancia Launch Might Actually Work Over Here

The newly-revived Lancia may not just survive, but thrive here, if Stellantis plays its card right. 

A couple of days ago now, the once all-but-dead Lancia had recently made a big splash by kicking off its long-awaited revival plans with the launch of its new Ypsilon. 

And going by its looks at least, the automaker’s first all-new model in over a decade certainly has more than enough upmarket la dolce vita chic to seduce more than a few buyers that are out there looking for a stylish supermini. 

What more is that courtesy of some admittedly French bones underneath it all too, this all-electric compact hatchback (with its over 400 km of WLTP-claimed range) frankly also does quite the adequate job in convincing prospective buyers it has enough substance to match its sensuous style, both inside and out. 

Though even with how nice the car is, perhaps the most exciting development (for Malaysians that is) regarding this new Ypsilon is actually for the opportunity to own a Lancia to now once again not just be limited to the Italians anymore. Such is because as part of its current revival plan, the automaker has already announced an ambitious international expansion strategy, with Europe first and potentially even further afield in the future.

So in spite of there being no firm plans that Lancia would land locally, let’s just consider for a moment then whether or not Lancia could feasibly make arrive over here. And while many might already be dismissing this outright as a pie in the sky idea, there might just actually be an argument to be made for this newly-revived Italian marque to not just survive, but possibly even thrive in Malaysia.

Starting first with the basic topic of demand, the question of who in the world would want to own a Lancia over here can be answered by the surprisingly large number of passionate Alfistis wandering among us, who will undoubtably jump at a chance to buy anything Italian if offered the chance. And with Lancia’s upmarket yet la dolce vita image too, there will likely also be more than a few (presumably of the Bukit Damansara/Bangsar persuasion) who could be easily persuaded to plop for some Sicilian sexiness, over the more conventional continental boringness for their next premium set of wheels. 

What more is that particularly in the case of this newly-unveiled Ypsilon, there might actually be a bigger market than most will expect over here, as there has been robust historical evidence for Malaysians to be somewhat smitten by the idea of an upmarket city car. How else could it be explained for there to be quite the high number of Peugeot 208s and Volkswagen Polos running around locally? And need it be even be mentioned too that there is a tiny yet pricey MINI to be found on nearly every street in any remotely upmarket neighbourhood across the Klang Valley?

In fact, while on the topic of demand, there actually needn’t even be that much of it to sustain Lancia over here. Survival of a marque in Malaysia after all doesn’t really require need a high sales volume in the first place anyway, with the continued existence of Suzuki and Jaguar locally being rather good examples to this.

Now turning towards the opposite of demand and discussing a little bit on the supply side meanwhile, the idea of Lancia landing locally is further to be made all the more feasible by parent company Stellantis having its own plant right here in Gurun. And with the Ypsilon being built from much the same box of bits as the Peugeot e-208, it is not all that far fetched to think that a locally-assembled version of this Italian hatchback could be a legitimately feasible consideration. 


Having touched upon Stellantis as well, this mega auto conglomerate had also previously suggested that it might just be interested in expanding its brand offerings over here. But with Fiat being a little too basic to be worth the premium over here and Alfa Romeo’s lineup to devoid of anything exciting for the foreseeable future, the recently revived Lancia is looking right now as really the only Italian option that might have even the faintest hope in surviving long term in Malaysia. Especially if the proposed Gamma flagship crossover and Delta mid-sized hatchback (apparently arriving in 2026 and 2028 respectively) are to be as chic and (at least perceived to be) as atas as this new Ypsilon.

So with there potentially being the demand and a reasonable route for its (reasonably priced) supply, what exactly is stopping Lancia from launching locally? Well, there is currently the little hurdle of the Ypsilon only being offered in left hand drive form for the time being, with the Italian automaker historically not being all too willing to move the steering wheel to the correct side of the cabin…

Aside from that minor inconvenience however, there really is nothing stopping Lancia from landing locally. So come on Stellantis, and bring Lancia over here already!

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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