When Lancia Sold a Rebadged Chrysler 300

Lancia is, in fact, still around these days, though the company seems to be operating in relative obscurity. Perhaps the fact that it currently produces only one model—a hatchback called the New Ypsilon that’s partly related to the Fiat 500—may have something to do with that.

A few years ago, however, there was another model that was sold alongside the Ypsilon: the Thema. And yes, the Thema should look very familiar as it is, in fact, a rebadged Chrysler 300.

There are a few differences between the 300 and the Thema, but the largest may be that a V8 was not available in the Lancia. Instead, a 3.0-liter, turbodiesel V6 (built by Italian firm VM Motori, which also builds the current EcoDiesel engines found in some Dodge, Jeep and Ram products) was the optional engine in Europe.


Besides that and few different badges, the Lancia Thema was pretty much identical to the Chrysler 300.

We’ll let you decide whether or not a Lancia badge made the Chrysler any more interesting—though you could always put some Lancia badges on your 300 and have an excellent conversation starter at your next cars and coffee.

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Comments
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TurnerX19
TurnerX19 SuperDork
1/11/21 12:49 p.m.

Poor old Lancia. Vincenso Lancia has been rolling in his grave since the Fiat take over in the 1960s, and it still gets worse......

MadScientistMatt
MadScientistMatt UltimaDork
1/11/21 1:19 p.m.

They should have offered a slightly detuned Ferrari V8 option as a tribute to the original Thema.

crankwalk (Forum Supporter)
crankwalk (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
1/11/21 2:30 p.m.

Ive owned a 2017 3.0 diesel Ram since new and they are actually pretty great motors. They were also in Maserati Ghiblis as well. 

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
1/11/21 3:12 p.m.

I've gotta admit, a Chrysler 300 would be among the last cars I would associate with the Lancia nameplate.

boxedfox (Forum Supporter)
boxedfox (Forum Supporter) Reader
1/11/21 10:31 p.m.
Colin Wood said:

Lancia is, in fact, still around these days, though the company seems to be operating in relative obscurity.

Colin Wood also said:

A few years ago, however, there was another model that was sold alongside the Ypsilon: the Thema. And yes, the Thema should look very familiar as it is, in fact, a rebadged Chrysler 300.

That second sentence explains the why the first sentence is so very, unfortunately, true.

Slippery (Forum Supporter)
Slippery (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
1/12/21 6:01 a.m.
1988RedT2 said:

I've gotta admit, a Chrysler 300 would be among the last cars I would associate with the Lancia nameplate.

How about this one?


1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
1/12/21 6:10 a.m.

In reply to Slippery (Forum Supporter) :

Okay.   Next to last.

NickD
NickD UltimaDork
1/12/21 7:17 a.m.

Man, what the berkeley happened to Lancia?

A 401 CJ
A 401 CJ SuperDork
1/12/21 7:39 a.m.

I lived in Italy for a while.  It's a country where just because you can afford the car doesn't mean you can afford the fuel.  Prices were eye watering even by European standards.  Drive to any neighboring country and the prices for fuel and pretty much everything were substantially less.  Hence the VM Motori diesel in lieu of the V8.  My guess is that a 3.0 liter common-rail would move this along quite well.

I remember back to my first time in Italy and riding up into the mountains near the border with Austria in a Chrysler minivan.  Just an ordinary old everyday Mopar van except I immediately picked up on a slight clatter (diesel) and it had a gear lever jutting out through the dash (5 speed).  The elderly gentleman in control was an absolute pleasure to ride with.  Even loaded down with several people he drove those mountain roads at a very spirited pace and that diesel always had the power right where he needed it.

Vigo (Forum Supporter)
Vigo (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/12/21 8:35 a.m.

This is nowhere near as interesting to me as the older Themas, but i do have a small drawer somewhere  in my brain where i keep ideas about oem-quality 'rebadging' of USDM cars, so i'll file this there.

eastsideTim
eastsideTim PowerDork
1/12/21 8:45 a.m.

I saw one of these is Switzerland a little ways back.  Was a little jarring to see a 300 in an area with a bunch of compacts and scooters.

mad_machine (Forum Supporter)
mad_machine (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
1/12/21 9:35 a.m.

a much as I dislike the 300, why do I think rebadging one as a Lancia and driving it around would be great fun?  

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
1/12/21 11:26 a.m.
TurnerX19 said:

Poor old Lancia. Vincenso Lancia has been rolling in his grave since the Fiat take over in the 1960s, and it still gets worse......

He might has stopped spinning for the Stratos.

eastsideTim
eastsideTim PowerDork
1/12/21 12:10 p.m.
mad_machine (Forum Supporter) said:

a much as I dislike the 300, why do I think rebadging one as a Lancia and driving it around would be great fun?  

I don’t know, but it’s probably the same reason I wanted to rebadge a Corsica as a Canadian model Pontiac Tempest.

TurnerX19
TurnerX19 SuperDork
1/12/21 4:01 p.m.

In reply to Appleseed :

Actually not, Vincenso Lancia did not allow his products to be raced. The factory competition department was begun after his death by his son Gianni, and sold to Ferrari after only a few years.

Nitroracer (Forum Supporter)
Nitroracer (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
1/12/21 9:16 p.m.
Colin Wood said:

Lancia is, in fact, still around these days, though the company seems to be operating in relative obscurity. Perhaps the fact that it currently produces only one model—a hatchback called the New Ypsilon that’s partly related to the Fiat 500—may have something to do with that.

Ironic that the Chrysler brand could be described in the same way these days.  They are down to the archaic 300 sedan and a minivan.

boxedfox (Forum Supporter)
boxedfox (Forum Supporter) Reader
1/12/21 10:00 p.m.

In reply to Nitroracer (Forum Supporter) :

Rumor is that Stellantis is looking to kill off both Chrysler and Lancia for that exact reason.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
1/13/21 8:29 a.m.
eastsideTim said:
mad_machine (Forum Supporter) said:

a much as I dislike the 300, why do I think rebadging one as a Lancia and driving it around would be great fun?  

I don’t know, but it’s probably the same reason I wanted to rebadge a Corsica as a Canadian model Pontiac Tempest.

Hell, Pontiac did that themselves when they imported their own Parisienne model from Canuckistan.

 

eastsideTim
eastsideTim PowerDork
1/13/21 8:38 a.m.
boxedfox (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to Nitroracer (Forum Supporter) :

Rumor is that Stellantis is looking to kill off both Chrysler and Lancia for that exact reason.

I wonder if there is any problem with eliminating Chrysler like GM had trying to drop brands.  I am guessing if so, it won't be as significant.  There can't be many (if any) standalone Chrysler dealers left.

Duke
Duke MegaDork
1/13/21 8:57 a.m.
eastsideTim said:
boxedfox (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to Nitroracer (Forum Supporter) :

Rumor is that Stellantis is looking to kill off both Chrysler and Lancia for that exact reason.

I wonder if there is any problem with eliminating Chrysler like GM had trying to drop brands.  I am guessing if so, it won't be as significant.  There can't be many (if any) standalone Chrysler dealers left.

There are none in my area.  At a minimum they all sell Jeeps too, and as far as I know they all sell Dodge cars and Ram trucks as well.  I would bet that 300 and Pacifica sales make up 10% of their volume tops, and rebadging the Pacifica to Dodge would be pretty painless.

 

rslifkin
rslifkin UberDork
1/13/21 9:05 a.m.
Duke said:

rebadging the Pacifica to Dodge would be pretty painless.

All they'd need to do is add a higher end trim level or 2 to the Grand Caravan. That's basically what the Pacifica is anyway. 

Duke
Duke MegaDork
1/13/21 9:21 a.m.
rslifkin said:
Duke said:

rebadging the Pacifica to Dodge would be pretty painless.

All they'd need to do is add a higher end trim level or 2 to the Grand Caravan. That's basically what the Pacifica is anyway. 

Through 2020 the Grand Caravan was still using the old T&C / GC platform.  Looks like for 2021 they've finally moved the GC over to the Pacifica platform as part of the Pacifica update.

 

tremm
tremm Reader
1/13/21 10:36 a.m.

Please. I had forgotten about the 300. Now I also recall the 200 :(

TheRX7Project
TheRX7Project HalfDork
1/13/21 6:02 p.m.
tremm said:

Please. I had forgotten about the 300. Now I also recall the 200 :(

I was parked next to a 200 today when I pulled into work. All I could think was "ah, when Chrysler made a new Dart". It made a lot of unhappy sounds as the owner started it.

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