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Lanchlers and Chryliats Debut in Geneva

Are Fiat and Chrysler blurring the lines a bit too much?

by on Mar.02, 2011

No, it's not a Chrysler 300, but the newly reborn Lancia Thema - based on the Chrysler 300.

If American visitors to the Geneva Motor Show get a sense of déjà vu at the Fiat and Lancia stands, that’s no surprise.  While they might wear a European badge, a variety of new models are indeed familiar to U.S. motorists – and raise fundamental questions about the alliance between Fiat and its trans-Atlantic partner, Chrysler.

The most notable debut from Lancia at this year’s Geneva show is the Thema, a reborn version of the brand’s flagship, which was discontinued in 1994. While the badge on the grille might be Italian, the rest of the car is a virtually unchanged Chrysler 300, the new version of which has just launched in the U.S. market.

Think of it as, “The first global flagship that combines the best of two worlds,” Lancia officials declared during their press conference.

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The Lancia stand also features the Voyager, also lifted, near whole, from the Chrysler line-up.  And the maker is showing a new concept car, the Flavia, which is based on the U.S. 200 sedan.  A production version is likely to debut in the coming months.

Over at the Fiat booth, the maker revealed the big Freemont crossover, also pulled from the Chrysler stable.  The European version was “developed to meet European needs and expectations,” officials declared to the assembled press core.