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New Delta Integrale to spearhead Lancia's UK return

Mon, 24 Jul 2006

By Phil McNamara

Motor Industry

24 July 2006 12:10

An all-new version of Lancia's legendary Delta Integrale will relaunch the brand in the UK, CAR Online has learned.

With its turbocharged four-cylinder engine sending power to all four wheels, the Rally-bred Integrale established the formula so successfully exploited by the Mitsubishi Evo and Subaru Impreza STi. Lancia will fight back with a reborn Delta Integrale around 2008, paving the way for the marque's arrival back in the UK market. The new car will be spun off Fiat's overhauled C-segment platform, which will underpin the the replacements for the Stilo and Alfa Romeo 147. Sources say the platform has a modular rear suspension. While cooking Stilos should have a torsion beam, the more upmarket Alfa and Lancia will adopt independent rear suspension. This creates the space to package the components for four-wheel drive.

A senior Fiat Auto source criticised today's Lancias as insufficiently distinct from their Fiat cousins. He vowed this would change with the next generation cars, spearheaded by the Integrale, one of the most evocative Lancias ever. When the Integrale is ready, 'I think Lancia will return to the UK,' said our insider. Lancia withdrew from these shores in 1994, plagued by rust problems. Fiat Auto plans to grow the brand's international markets, to boost sales from around 120,000 units a year.

By Phil McNamara