New Lancia Flavia by any other name…is a Chrysler 200 Convertible, imported from Detroit

Lancia Flavia 2012 front

The 2012 Lancia Flavia 2012 has the Chrysler 200 grille with a Lancia badge at the top.

When is the Chrysler 200 Convertible “the perfect expression of the Italian way of life, the beauty of Italian lifestyle based on taste, imagination, style and refinement”? When it’s the Lancia Flavia, or at least that’s the way Lancia tells it.

The truth is that the Lancia Flavia is a very mild massage of the Chrysler 200 Convertible for sale in Europe. Even the Chrysler family grille remains, except topped with a Lancia badge.

2012 Lancia Flavia steering wheel

The Lancia Flavia driver’s environ is like that of the Chrysler 200, except for the Lancia logo on the hub. (Click to enlarge.)

Actually, we’ve seen this before, though played with the Chrysler 300 sold in Europe as the Lancia Thema, a version of the Chrysler Group minivan marketed as the Lancia Voyager, and the Dodge Journey, doing well in Italy as the Fiat Freemont.

Flavia isn’t a new name for Lancia, debuting in 1961 and running through 1975 as  a four-door four-place sedan sedan. A coupe was also offered and for a short time in the mid-60s, a convertible.Lancia, an old company, was established in 1906 and had a reputation of innovation, including the first production unit body automobile in the 1922, as well as a narrow-angle V-4. Lancia didn’t invent the concept of the horizontally-opposed four-cylinder engine with front-wheel drive, but it arrived there long before Subaru, innovative in its own way.

There’s little innovation with the new Lancia Flavia. Introduced at last year’s Bologna auto show, it’s simply the Chrysler 200 Convertible with a cloth convertible top, not even the retractable hardtop option in the U.S.Indeed there will be no options for the new Flavia. It will be sold as monospec—in only one configuration, and only with the 2.4-liter four and six-speed automatic transmission. It will be well equipped, however, with leather-wrapped steering wheel and upholstery standard, along with Uconnect multimedia system with satellite navigation, and Boston Acoustic audio. The retractable hardtop is not available.

2012 Lancia Flavia

A 2012 Lancia Flavia, where “imported from Detroit” is most accurate. (Click to enlarge.)

Like the Chrysler 200 Convertible, the Lancia Flavia will be built at Chrysler’s Sterling Heights plant in Michigan. The irony is that the Chrysler 200 and 200 Convertible are due for replacement, with a platform from the Fiat group, according to the business plan.

In the meantime, the Fiat Group expects the Lancia Flavia to be “able to win over a customer who demands not only a substantial product, but also a distinctive and unique style. Besides, whoever chooses a Lancia vehicle starts a new trend because he follows only his own personality.”

True, if his personality follows the Chrysler 200 Convertible and calls it the Lancia Flavia, Italian imported from Detroit.