Stellantis design boss takes over Lancia studio

Jean-Pierre Ploué, who is currently the Chief Design Officer for Stellantis, will take personal charge of Lancia's design studio.

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Derek Fung
Derek Fung

The revival of Lancia will be personally overseen by the Stellantis’ design boss Jean-Pierre Ploué.

Ploué was made Chief Design Officer when Fiat Chrysler and the PSA Group merged at the beginning of the year to form Stellantis.

This week it was confirmed he will also run Lancia Centro Stile at the brand’s headquarters in Turin, Italy.

“The rebirth of Lancia is a very exciting challenge. It is an iconic brand, to which we want to return the central role it played in the past in Europe, exploiting its enormous potential,” Ploué said in a prepared statement.

It’s unclear what Ploué and Luca Napolitano, Lancia’s CEO, are planning for the brand, but Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares has promised all brands, even ones as denuded as Lancia, ten years of funding and support for “a core model strategy”.

Tavares said he will “give a chance to each of our brands, under the leadership of a strong CEO, to define their vision, build a roadmap and make sure they use the valuable assets of Stellantis to make their business case fly”.

Currently Lancia sells just one model, the Ypsilon, in one country, Italy.

Launched in 2011, the third-generation Ypsilon is closely related to the Fiat 500, and has been facelifted multiple times, with its most recent update also seeing the addition of a mild-hybrid drivetrain.

Ploué started his career at Renault, working there for ten years after graduating in 1985 with a degree in product design from the Ecole Nationale des Arts Appliqués et des Métiers d’Art (National School of Applied Arts and Crafts) in Paris.

He rose through the ranks at the French automaker, and was eventually one of the lead designers for the 1992 Twingo.

After this he spent a few years at Volkswagen’s headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany, before he was appointed head of exterior design at Ford of Europe.

In 1999, Ploué took over at Citroen and was given the task of rejuvenating a brand that had wasted a decade or so selling either blandly designed models or thinly reworked Peugeots.

During his tenure, he oversaw the development of the 2004 C4, 2005 C6, 2007 C5, and 2009 DS3.

Around 2008, his success at turning Citroen from a design zero back to a design hero was rewarded with a promotion to Director of Styling for the entire PSA Group.

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Derek Fung
Derek Fung
Derek Fung is a Journalist at CarExpert.
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