Its future seemingly assured after years in the doldrums, Lancia has confirmed that the revered Delta nameplate will be making a comeback in 2026 as part of Stellantis’ ten year commitment to its various brands.
While famed for the original made from 1979 to 1994, which went on to become one of the most famous and successful World Rally Championship (WRC) cars in history, two further generations made it into production from 1993 to 1999 and then between 2008 and 2014.
Unlike the former though, the latter pair never achieved the same cult following as Lancia had opted to focus more on being a premium brand, with the third, based on the same platform as the Fiat Bravo, being largely panned for its controversial looks derived from the HPE Concept shown two years before.
At the same time, the third generation also became available with right-hand-drive, a model first, in what ultimately turned out to be a flop to market the Delta in the United Kingdom as a Lancia following the brand’s exit in 1994 after the infamous rusting Beta saga that crippled it in 1980.
Instead, the Delta wore Chrysler badges in a reversal of a strategy the then newly created Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) had implemented in Europe where the Chrysler 300C was marketed as the Lancia Thema, the Sebring as the Flavia and the Chrysler Voyager as a Lancia with the same suffix.
The venture however ended in 2015 with focus switching entirely to the now previous generation Fiat-500 based Ypsilion, currently Lancia’s only offering and available solely in Italy where sales have remained strong despite it being ten years old.
In confirming the Delta’s revival to Italy’s Corriere della Sera, Lancia CEO, Luca Napolitano, stated that the newcomer will feature an electric powerunit only as its debut coincides with the year in which it will no longer offer any internal combustion engines.
“Everyone wants [the] Delta and it can’t be missing from our plans. It will return and it will be a true Delta: an exciting car, a manifesto of progress and technology. And obviously it will be electric,” Napolitano was quoted as saying.
Despite little being known at present, reports are that the Delta will be based on the all-new STLA Medium platform and have a projected range of around 700 km.
Before its arrival though, Napolitano confirmed that the Ypsilion will be replaced by an all-new model in 2024, which will also be the final Lancia to come with an internal combustion engine.
“Ypsilon is the second best-selling model after the [Fiat] Panda and the car preferred by women, but now is the time to look to the future with different perspectives, legitimised by a history of innovation,” Napolitano said.
With Lancia forming part of Stellantis’ so-called premium division that includes Alfa Romeo and DS, it is expected to return to main European markets instead of being limited Italy, though at present, it remains to be seen how it will be positioned relative to its sister brands come 2024 and 2026.