Rumors about a possible successor for the Lancia Thesis, based on the Chrysler’s 300C, have been making the internet rounds for quite some time now, without coming to fruition. Nevertheless, Automotive News is reporting that Fiat is determined to go ahead and reveal the car. Inside sources told the news site that the car will most likely be called Thema, a nameplate that was used for Lancia's flagship sedan in the mid-'80s to mid-'90s. The new sedan model is said to debut at the 2011 Geneva Auto Show, alongside the next generation of the Ypsilon supermini.
The exterior design of the Thema will feature some minor tweaks, such as a unique front grille and Euro-spec bumpers. Fiat expects the vast majority of clients (about 80 percent) to opt for a new 230 hp 3.0-liter V6 diesel engine from Italy's VM Motori but it will also offer Chrysler-sourced petrol engines.
Both the 2012 Chrysler 300 and its Lancia counterpart will be built at Chrysler’s Brampton plant in Ontario, Canada. The launch date for the Thema has been set for late 2011 with Fiat expecting to shift somewhere around 15,000 units annually.
With the new Ypsilon, Lancia has even more ambitious plans expecting to sell some 130,000 units a year. For the first time, the sub-compact model will also be offered in a five-door body style, which should help attract more buyers. There’s no information as of yet about the Ypsilon's styling or mechanical hardware.
The current generation of the Italian supermini that was launched in 2002 is based on the older Punto's underpinnings. It will remain in production until the end of 2011, even after its successor will go on sale in June of the same year.
By Csaba Daradics
*The opening photo is a Carscoop Photoshop based on the current Chrysler 300