Stellantis, the world's fourth-largest automaker, has vowed to make investments in all of its 14 brands for the next 10 years. That means troubled marque Lancia will be expanded as it rightfully deserves instead of remaining only a shadow of its former self with just one aging model (Ypsilon) sold exclusively in Italy.
A product expansion is in the works, and it seems highly probable that Lancia will bank on its heritage by resurrecting past names for new products in the electrified era. Independent artist David Obendorfer has also thought of that by hypothetically bringing back to life the Beta Montecarlo (later known as simply the Montecarlo), a mid-engined sports car sold from the mid-1970s through the early 1980s, with a two-year hiatus. A modified spider version was briefly available in the United States as the Scorpion since Chevy already had the Monte Carlo.
Gallery: Lancia Montecarlo rendering
That may seem sacrilegious to turn a Pininfarina-designed performance car into yet another high-riding model, but the truth of the matter is, SUVs are what most people want if we look at the sales numbers. Ford with the Mustang and Mitsubishi with the Eclipse have repurposed their monikers associated with sports cars for SUVs, so why shouldn't Lancia be allowed to do the same?
Despite radically changing the body style, David makes the transformation seem almost perfectly natural, and dare we say the end result isn't too far off from what we would expect from an official image provided by an automaker. The Montecarlo SUV has gained a sloping roofline and a pair of rear doors with "hidden" handles to maintain the illusion of a coupe.
The black front and rear bumpers are a nod to the original Beta Montecarlo, as is the red paint scheme. David told us he envisioned the compact crossover riding on the EMP2 platform with a plug-in hybrid powertrain. It would make sense to launch a new Lancia product with a retro-flavored design rather than simply rebadging an existing Stellantis product.
Yes, enthusiasts would rather have a sports car, but crossovers and SUVs are still all the rage and Lancia should focus on that first before expanding its offerings with a performance model that would generate significantly fewer sales. Despite the controversy, the sports car-to-SUV recipe is working just fine for the Mustang Mach-E, so Lancia can also take a crack at using an old name for a crossover. We certainly wouldn't mind if it would end up looking a lot like this rendering.