Pivotal Citroen designer to lead Lancia rebirth

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Stellantis has showed its commitment to revitalising the neglected Lancia brand with the appointment of Jean-Pierre Ploué as the Italian marque’s new design boss.

Already a chief design officer at the 14-brand-strong group, Ploué will supervise Lancia’s styling evolution from his head office at Torino Centro Stile, where he performs a similar role for other former Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) brands Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Fiat and Maserati.

This is the second time that Ploué has been charged with leading the rebirth of a marque through design. In 1999, he became Citroën’s styling chief and led a wide-reaching transformation of the brand’s image, launching boldly styled models including the C4, C5, C6 and DS3.

Ploué was then promoted to design director for the wider PSA Group in 2010, gaining recognition for the striking, range-defining Peugeot SR1 concept, among others.

Of his latest appointment, he said: “Lancia’s renaissance is a truly exciting challenge. Lancia is an iconic brand which will be restored to its central historical position in Europe, leveraging on its huge potential.’’

The Lancia design team is described as “lean and focused” and comprises mainly young designers.

Lancia currently operates only in its Italian home market and offers just one model: the decade-old, Fiat 500-based Ypsilon supermini. Both the Ypsilon and the larger Delta were previously sold iunder the Chrysler brand but were withdrawn in 2017 to allow FCA to focus more keenly on expanding the Jeep brand.

Specific plans for Lancia’s revival haven’t yet been made public, but it’s likely that the brand will lean heavily on platforms and powertrains used by Alfa Romeo. A low-volume premium focus is likely, meaning Lancia will become to Alfa Romeo what DS is to Citroën.

Felix Page

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