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The Warsaw Voice » Business » February 25, 2011
Business & Economy
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The Italian Job
February 25, 2011   
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The word is out. Fiat Poland is gearing up to put their next city car, the Lancia Ypsilon, into production. But will Polish buyers take to it?
Lancia was bought out by Fiat in 1969. The manufacturer is best known here in Poland for the Kappa model that ferried the country’s high flyers around in the 1990s. Motor sport enthusiasts will no doubt associate Lancia with the Delta Integrale model and the now popular Stratos. But that is about it. While it might be OK image-wise, however, commercial success has so far eluded the make. And this despite a product range that includes the Thesis executive car, the compact Lybra, the Phedra MPV, the Musa mini-MPV, and the Ypsilon supermini.

Lancias are a rare sight on Polish roads and the firm occupies a niche market. All this might be about to change, thanks to the new Ypsilon. The car, which has so far been manufactured in Termini Imerese in Sicily, will now be produced in Poland’s Tychy, according to an official announcement from Fiat.

“Production of the new Lancia model will commence in our factory in spring,” says Bogusław Cie¶lar, a Fiat spokesman. Fiat has poured zl.1.4 billion into producing the Ypsilon in Poland. This does not include the costs involved in organizing supplies of parts, testing, or staff training. “We’re getting ready to produce 130,000 vehicles a year, but the figure will be more like 60,000 to start off with. It all depends on how the market takes to it,” says Cie¶lar.

The fourth-generation Ypsilon will officially be premiered at the Geneva Motor Show. Gasolene and MultiJet turbodiesel engines will be available. The turbocharged two- and four-cylinder TwinAir engines for the new Ypsilon will most likely be produced in Bielsko-Biała in southern Poland. The engine capacity is only 0.9l. with a power of 65-105 hp depending on specifications. Only time can tell whether Lancia can win over Polish motorists. We will just have to wait until the first cars hit the showrooms in June.

Fiat Auto Poland produces the Fiat Panda, the Fiat 500 and the Ford Ka (in conjunction with Ford), in addition to the Lancia Ypsilon at its Tychy plant. Around 530,000 vehicles have been planned for this year.

Bartosz Grzybiński
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