“The Lancia brand has no history [outside Italy],” declared Mr. Sergio Marchionne, Fiat and Chrysler’s CEO, recently when announcing that he will be eliminating the brand save for the badge-engineered Lancia Ypsilon that will be sold only in Italy.
Marchionne-bashing is all too easy these days, and auto journalists seem to love hearing themselves complain about Sergio, but I don’t share that sentiment. He is a smart businessman. He has done a fantastic job reviving Maserati into a coveted luxury brand once again, with a focus on engineering excellence that has eliminated the reliability stigma it suffered in the ’80s. He also readily acknowledges Fiat’s errors during Mr. Gianni Agnelli’s reign when Fiat squandered away much of Alfa Romeo’s prestige and brand value.