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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Lancia’s revival could involve a right-hand-drive return

South Africa has been mentioned as one of the key right-hooking markets, should everything go to plan.

Lancia has expressed interest in returning to right-hand-drive markets once it revival plans are suitably progressed.

The once fabled marque, whose sales have been restricted to Italy since 2017, and with a single model, the Ypsilion, officially exited all right-hooking markets in 1994 when it left the United Kingdom with the original Thema being one of the last models to have the steering gear on the left or right.

According to Lancia CEO Luca Napolitano, however, the brand’s announcement last month that it wanted to return to Europe by 2024 could potentially involve other markets as it prepares for an all-electric future in 2027.

“In the coming year, if things go well, why not trying to bring (Lancia models with) right-hand-drive also in Japan, South Africa or Australia,” Napolitano told Automotive News Europe.

As per the ten year plan given to all Stellantis marques by CEO Carlos Tavares, Napolitano stated that a return to profitability resonates the most with Lancia as it readies a line-up of new models, including the revived Delta, come 2024.

ALSO READ: Lancia preparing for future no longer restricted to Italy

“Volumes are important, but our targets are about profitability. We initially target to make 25 percent to 30 percent of our sales abroad, to reach 50-50,” he said, adding that Lancia had identified Mercedes-Benz as its benchmark brand.

“I don’t mean we want to fight against Mercedes, that would be naive, but that is an example of what we look at,” Napolitano continued.

Part of Stellantis’ Premium division that includes Alfa Romeo and DS, Lancia’s initial product roll-out will comprise not only an all-new Ypsilion and the Delta, but also a compact SUV likely aimed at the BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA.

Apart from Italy, France, Austria, Belgium, Germany and Spain have been selected as key relaunch markets in the Old Continent with an additional focus being on online purchases in order to reduce costs associated with the opening and keeping up of dealerships.

“Lancia will deliver an understated, clean Italian elegance, with soft surfaces and great quality,” Napolitano said last month.

Expect more information about the brand’s revival and products to emerge heading into and through next year.

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