The 81st Geneva International Salon marked Lancia's biggest but also, most controversial motor show appearance in recent years. Biggest because Lancia rolled out a total of six new vehicles and concept models, most controversial because four of those cars including the Thema flagship, the Flavia sedan and convertible concepts, and the Grand Voyager MPV are nothing more than rebadged Chryslers.
Lancia and Chrysler CEO Oliver Francois presented the Chrysler 300-based Thema under the sounds of an odd music mix. "Introducing this car of two continents in Geneva became a very personal affair, therefore I personally worked out a little piece of music, a blend of two musical cultures, Eminem's typical Detroit beat with a touch of Italian opera," said Francois just before the 2012 Thema saloon entered the stage.
Francois also took a stab at rival German premium carmakers saying that "there is a large pool of customers out there looking for an alternative to the German monochrome". However, the Italian firm's CEO quickly noted that "many have burned their fingers [in trying to compete with the Germans] in the past including Lancia", but also added that "according to the American press", the new 300 rivals the best Japanese and German premium models including the Lexus LS and the BMW 7 Series. Remember, we didn't say it, Francois did.
The American-Italian tune was continued with the presentation of the other three rebadged Chryslers, the Town & Country-based Lancia Grand Voyager minivan and the Chrysler 200-based Lancia Flavia concept cars, which Francois said
rival the Rolls Royce Ghost- could enter production in less than six months from now.
Scroll down to watch Lancia's Geneva Motor Show presentations and have your say in the comments below.