TURIN - Lancia is considering offering right-hand-drive versions again for all models, starting with a revival of the Delta in 2008.
Lancia's current lineup with steering wheels and driver controls only on the left side keeps it out of the UK, Irish, Japanese and Australian markets. That decision was part of a 2003 emergency cost-cutting plan that also marked its Fiat Auto sister brand Alfa Romeo's exit from the US market.
"We are currently working to add right-hand-drive versions to the next Lancias, as the investment required is reasonable, about E6-8 million," Fiat group and Fiat Auto CEO Sergio Marchionne said here in an interview with Automotive News Europe.
Resuming right-hand-drive models would mean a Lancia shift to an offensive position from a defensive stance that prompted speculation the Italian brand would be killed. Lancia is considering not only a return to abandoned markets, but also entering new right-hand-drive markets such as India and Thailand.
Fiat group is studying a broad alliance with Indian automaker Tata group to expand its automotive activities there.
The third-generation Delta is a 4450mm-long hatchback, partly inspired by the Granturismo StilNovo concept car that debuted in 2003 at the Barcelona auto show.
Fiat Auto calls the vehicle a "future C-D segment" model - positioned between the lower-medium and upper-medium segments. It is based on a highly modified Fiat Stilo second-generation platform. Stilo is due in early 2007.
The third-generation Delta has a longer wheelbase than the Stilo successor and would be offered as a five-door only.
Suppliers said Lancia is planning 30,000 to 40,000 units a year of the new Delta.
Lancia built 664,221 units of the first two generations of the Delta between 1979 and 1999.
The second right-hand-drive Lancia could be the successor to the Ypsilon, planned for 2009.