Lancia, the Italian carmaker which Australians may remember for models such as the 1980s Beta, continues to gear up for its electric renaissance which will be led by a new generation of Ypsilon hatchback.
Further teaser images have been revealed by the brand, perhaps in response to several spy photos and renders of the next-generation Ypsilon ahead of its launch – including particularly revealing photos of one that crashed into a French river.
The Ypsilon will make its debut in Milan in February.
The new images from Lancia give a clearer look at the exterior lighting details of the Ypsilon, as do a pair of leaked images of an undisguised Ypsilon published on Autospy.
The front features a slim, closed-off reinterpretation of Lancia’s signature ‘calice’ grille.
Lancia has zoomed in on the T-shaped LED strip lighting cluster on the front fascia, which sits below widely-spaced Lancia lettering sitting on a black strip.
At the rear, a rounded tail light design reminiscent of the brand’s own Stratos model can be seen shouldering the same widely spaced Lancia wordmark.
A script-style Ypsilon badge is also placed lower on the rear end beneath the Lancia logo.
Design cues from the Pu+Ra HPE concept vehicle revealed by Lancia in early 2023 can be seen across the model.
The official teaser images highlight elements such as the lighting clusters, the circular-themed interior, and Lancia badging which have been carried over from the concept.
As is often the case with concepts, the Pu+Ra HPE has previewed design cues that will be used on more conventionally shaped production models. The Ypsilon, despite some of these wild design cues, retains a fairly traditional hatchback silhouette.
The recent teaser shots also highlight the interior design collaboration with boutique Italian design house Cassina, and the forthcoming SALA interior tech system from Lancia.
A ‘SALA’ labelled device with Amazon Alexa-style blue LED ring lighting is shown sitting above what appears to be a touchscreen infotainment system.
SALA, an acronym for Sound Air Light Augmented but also an Italian word for a living room or hall, is a “smart virtual interface” combining audio, climate control and lighting functions into a single system.
A close-up shot shows the stitched leather-look upholstery on the circular, flat-surfaced ‘tavolino’ table located on the centre console, a nod to the brand’s collaboration with Cassina.
While Cassina’s influence will presumably be seen through the cabin of all next-generation Ypsilon models, the brands are coming together to produce a limited 1906 units of the special Lancia Ypsilon Edizione Limitata Cassina to celebrate Lancia’s 117 years of manufacturing.
The next-generation Ypsilon range is set to use Stellantis’ e-CMP2 architecture, shared by other models such as the Peugeot e-208 and Opel Corsa-e, but reports indicate it’ll also be offered with a mild-hybrid petrol powertrain.
It will be the last model from Lancia to support mild-hybrid internal combustion powertrains before the brand goes all-electric by 2028.
The new iteration of the Ypsilon is the first in a larger plan for the brand’s electrification, which will include a crossover (expected in 2026) and a revived Delta hatchback (expected in 2028).
While the Lancia brand currently only lives in Europe, CEO Luca Napolitano hasn’t ruled out the possibility of expansion to right-hand drive markets.
He told Reuters in December 2021, “However, in the coming year, if things go well, why not try to bring (Lancia models with) right-hand drive also in Japan, South Africa or Australia?”
It has been a long time since the Lancia brand was seen on Australian shores. Its last appearance was with the Beta family in the mid-1980s.
There were mooted plans to bring the first-generation Delta here, along with larger fare like Thema, but these never eventuated. That’s despite said models being made available across the pond in New Zealand.
Lancia withdrew from all markets bar Italy in 2017 after an influx of new products – many of which were rebadged Chryslers in a failed attempt to “twin” the two brands – struggled in the marketplace.
The current Ypsilon is the last remaining Lancia, and remains the second best-selling vehicle in Italy despite dating all the way back to 2011.