Lancia comes back and presents Ypsilon Rally 4

Lancia Ypsilon Rally4

Lancia previews the Ypsilon Rally 4 HF, announcing its return to rally. Iconic brand reveals the “LANCIA CORSE HF” logo that will appear on the Ypsilon Rally 4 HF, revisiting the historical logo with a contemporary flair, including graphics with oblique characters to express speed, maintaining the original colors.

After the photos of the mannequin for the Ypsilon Rally4 HF, everyone started shouting: Lancia returns to rallying. Hearing that, you can imagine the successor of Cesare Fiorio ready with his team, but this time without bags of salt and other strategies. Only electronics. However, when you look at the Ypsilon HF Rally4, you think that it’s the heir of the Lancia Delta HF Evolution and burst out laughing because it’s right to laugh in front of a joke.

The truth is that Lancia is not returning to rallying, but rather returning to building a rally car called the Ypsilon Rally4 HF. It’s fair for a manufacturer to release a press release, but less fair for everyone to take it as is without considering the weight of the words used, the mistakes, and the excesses. It’s fair for a company to carry out marketing operations and seek to give maximum visibility to its operations through the use of the press office by sending notes to newspapers. It’s a bit less fair that journalists, even those in the industry, take the bait and publish almost mindlessly. And everyone is shouting: Lancia returns to rallying. Hearing that, you can imagine the successor of Cesare Fiorio ready with his team, but this time without bags of salt and other strategies. Only electronics. However, when you look at the Ypsilon HF Rally4, you think it’s the heir of the Lancia Delta HF Evolution and burst out laughing because it’s right to laugh in front of a joke. And that’s exactly what it is because the rally car is powered by a gasoline engine and only an electric car will be sold on the market, which, in return, will have much more power and torque than the running one. In all this, there’s not even a shadow of the Lancia Racing Team and Cesare Fiorio’s successor. But not even Scamarcio’s shadow is seen. Yet, people get caught up in the return of Lancia to rallying.

Moreover, all the press outlets have disseminated the press release without realizing that there is a grave error (or deliberate omission) regarding the creation of the HF logo with the flying baby elephant chosen by Gianni Lancia in 1953 and about the establishment and birth of the Lancia Hi-Fi club created 10 years later by Cesare Fiorio, the son of the then head of communication of Lancia. Exactly what got the French in trouble for years. Until he retired. An error of this kind, made by the press office of the company, is unacceptable, but it speaks volumes about the aggressive marketing strategy that is only concerned with pushing a product. History is a side note, a blurred detail… and unfortunately, it is also the case for journalists who have been working in the automotive and motorsport industry for decades.

A rally4 seems a bit lackluster to us to proclaim the return of Lancia to rallying, which is no longer even an Italian car manufacturer but French (and even the French Government is in the shareholder structure). In any case, to clarify the ideas for those who continue to shout about the “return of Lancia,” we’ve prepared an analysis of the communication and marketing strategies of the Stellantis Group. However, before that, we present the original press release with its errors.

Stellantis Press Release

“One car, 4 stories. Today Lancia tells 4 stories. The first is the partnership with Cassina, an Italian excellence in high-end furniture that contributes to positioning the brand in the premium market. The second is represented by a complete and elegant range, with a financial offer that allows it to position itself in the heart of the market to offer mass exclusivity. But we didn’t stop there…

Today Lancia presents in advance the Lancia Ypsilon HF, the high-performance version of the first car of the new era of the brand that will hit the market in May 2025, and the Ypsilon Rally 4 HF, which represents Lancia’s return to rallying! Lancia has always entered people’s hearts for its competitive spirit, represented by those iconic models from its past that have made it still the most successful brand of all time in the world of rallies. And that sports heart starts beating again today! And those same fans will be the new Lancia customers of tomorrow!” stated Luca Napolitano, CEO of the Lancia brand.

Lancia Ypsilon HF

The Lancia Ypsilon HF is the expression of the brand’s most competitive and high-performance spirit. Lancia once again draws inspiration from its past, reinterpreting it to look to the future with great ambition. Powered by a 100% electric motor with 240 HP, accelerating from 0 to 100 km/h in just 5.8 seconds, the Lancia Ypsilon HF will be characterized by a lowered chassis, widened track, and aggressive and muscular forms, inspired by the iconic, more radical cars that have made the brand’s history, with shapes and designs serving performance. The car will debut on the market in May 2025. After the Lancia Ypsilon HF, the Gamma and Delta will also have an HF version.

HF Logo and the baby elephant race

The HF logo will return to prominence on the Lancia Ypsilon HF, the historic signature of Lancia’s high-performance models first introduced in 1960 at the Geneva Motor Show when a group of passionate Lancia car owners founded the “Lancia Hi-Fi” club (Hi-Fi stands for High-Fidelity), an exclusive club dedicated to the most loyal customers of the brand and reserved for those who have purchased at least six new Lancia cars from the factory. The HF logo later became a distinctive element of the Lancia HF Squadra Corse, founded in 1963 by Cesare Fiorio along with some pilots and passionate Lancia car owners, and “signed” many of the brand’s victories.

The historic logo consisted of the capital letters HF, white on a black background, with four red baby elephants running and below, in capital letters, the words SQUADRA CORSE, white on a red background. The baby elephant was chosen as a lucky charm, given the legend that, once in motion, these animals are unstoppable and therefore become a symbol of performance and driving pleasure.

The new HF logo, unveiled in March in its revised version, has reinterpreted the historic logo, making it contemporary: the constituent elements of the brand now are symbols of Lancia’s tradition that are now simplified, both in terms of lines and shapes, creating a new balance, capable of expressing innovation, premiumness, and Italianity with a touch of eclecticism, in full respect of the unmistakable geometries of the brand.

Lancia restarts from Rally4

From today, the hearts of many rally fans and enthusiasts will start beating again. Lancia has decided to return to the world of rallying, starting from the basics of competition, from Rally 4, the beating heart of rallying: a category that represents pure passion, with young drivers starting their careers with passion to become the professionals of tomorrow. A new beginning in perfect Lancia style, characterized by ambition, pragmatism, and humility, consistent with the mission and DNA of the brand.

Lancia is still the most successful brand of all time in the world of rallying, with 15 World Rally Championships, three Endurance Manufacturer World Championships, a 1000 Miglia, two Targa Florio victories, and one Carrera Panamericana. The Lancia Ypsilon Rally 4 HF is powered by a 1.2-liter turbo 3-cylinder engine with 4 valves per cylinder that produces 212 HP. Equipped with front-wheel drive with a mechanical 5-speed transmission and mechanical locking differential, the high-performance model is the ideal solution for the enjoyment of all rally enthusiasts, but also as a serious candidate for drivers aspiring to victory in the R4 category and in two-wheel drive championships.

Lancia Corse HF logo

On the Lancia Ypsilon Rally 4, in addition to the HF logo, the “Lancia Corse HF” logo will once again stand out, the legendary signature of racing cars. The Lancia brand was inspired by the historic logo, now reinterpreted in a contemporary way to look to the future, consistently with the renaissance plan of the brand. The lettering of the word Corse is now expressed with a custom-made font. The logo’s graphics, with an oblique character, aim to express the concept of speed, typical of the racing world, creating a stylistic coherence with the HF logo’s shape. Even the colors, white and black, recall the original ones. The logo can be used in both a horizontal and vertical version.

lancia rally 037 image by raisen
Lancia Rally 037 – Image by Raisen

Communications strategy analysis

Lancia’s press release demonstrates a clear and defined segmentation strategy, primarily targeting the following groups:

  1. Market segmentation

Customers in the premium and luxury segment: Through the partnership with Cassina, Lancia seeks to position itself as an exclusive brand in the high-end market, attracting consumers who appreciate high-quality art and design.

Performance and competition enthusiasts: With the presentation of the Lancia Ypsilon HF and Ypsilon Rally 4 HF, the brand targets those who admire sports cars and historically passionate fans of rallies and high performance.

Emerging young pilots and aspiring professionals: Through the return to the world of rallies, especially in the Rally 4 category, Lancia captures the attention of young pilots and motorsport enthusiasts.

  1. Product and differentiation

Partnership with Cassina: This collaboration allows Lancia to associate itself with a name synonymous with elegance and quality in luxury furniture, strengthening its position in the premium market.

Lancia Ypsilon HF and Ypsilon Rally 4 HF: Lancia revisits its glorious past of high-performance cars, offering models that combine history and innovation, with cutting-edge technical specifications (100% electric motor with 240 HP, acceleration 0-100 km/h in 5.8 seconds). This mix is aimed at attracting both nostalgic fans of the brand and new sports car enthusiasts.

  1. Communication and branding

Revival of the historical HF logo: Lancia skillfully uses nostalgic and historical elements, such as the HF logo reinterpreted in a modern key. This creates an emotional connection with old fans and stimulates the interest of new customers.

Focus on tradition and innovation: Communication emphasizes the brand’s heritage in the world of rallying, reinforcing it with a promise of future innovation and performance. This duality is crucial to attract a broad audience, from tradition lovers to innovators.

  1. Financial offering and positioning

Accessibility and exclusivity: Terms like “mass exclusivity” suggest a strategy to make the brand accessible to a wider audience, while maintaining an aura of exclusivity. This strategy can attract customers aspiring to own a premium car without spending excessive amounts.

Diversified range and financial offering: Mentioning a complete and elegant range along with competitive financial offers suggests that Lancia aims to position itself as a sensible choice economically, without compromising on quality and exclusivity.

  1. Future events and product launches

Preview of the Lancia Ypsilon HF and the return to rallying: By announcing the future debut of the Lancia Ypsilon HF and participation in rallies, Lancia creates anticipation and interest in the market. This strategy helps keep attention on the brand until 2025 and beyond, building a sense of anticipation and loyalty among consumers.

In conclusion, Lancia’s press release is well-structured and effective in communicating the brand’s new positioning, blending tradition and innovation. Targeted segmentation, strategic use of partnerships, and the revival of distinctive historical elements outline a clear vision of repositioning in the premium and sports automotive market. The combination of economic accessibility and perceived exclusivity can be a successful move to reach and retain a broad customer base. However, the press expects more beyond the press release.

Why did Lancia create only a Rally4?

Lancia’s approach in building a rally car for paying customers instead of setting up a team to compete in the World Rally Championship could be influenced by various strategic factors:

Costs and resources: Actively participating in the World Rally Championship requires significant investments in terms of financial, human, and logistical resources. Building a rally car for customers might represent a more sustainable economic opportunity for the brand, capitalizing on Lancia’s sporting heritage while keeping costs more manageable.

Market segmentation: Offering a rally car to paying customers might be a targeted move to cater to a specific demand from rally enthusiasts who desire a sporting experience without the need for professional competition. This strategy could allow Lancia to expand its fan base without necessarily aiming for the top levels of official competitions.

Brand valorization: Building rally cars for customers could serve to enhance the Lancia brand and reaffirm its reputation in the field of motorsport competitions, without actively participating in the World Rally Championship. This strategy could help keep the brand’s sporting legacy alive and create an emotional connection with fans without the burden and complexity of official competition.

Focus on different strategies: The decision to focus on producing rally cars for customers might be part of a broader strategy involving various initiatives in the rally world, such as specific event participation, team sponsorship, or organizing their own sporting events. This diversification could allow Lancia to make the most of its resources and sporting heritage.

The decision of Lancia to create rally cars for customers instead of actively competing in the World Rally Championship could be guided by strategic considerations related to costs, market segmentation, brand valorization, and a long-term vision for maintaining a significant involvement in the rally world.

Why a Rally2 under the Citroën brand?

Stellantis’ decision (the group that owns both Citroën and Lancia) to leverage the sporting history of the Lancia brand while the Rally2 rally car is branded as Citroën could be influenced by some strategic and branding considerations:

Brand Positioning and Identity: Lancia has a long and glorious history in the world of rallying, being the most successful brand of all time in the World Rally Championship. Leveraging this sporting heritage can help strengthen the image and identity of the Lancia brand as synonymous with performance, competition, and a high level of automotive engineering. On the other hand, Citroën also has a strong sporting tradition in rallying and has developed the Rally2 rally car to compete in this discipline. Using the Citroën brand for the Rally2 car could be a tactical choice to consolidate Citroën’s sports image in rallying.

Brand Differentiation: Stellantis may have decided to keep the two brands, Lancia and Citroën, separate in the context of automotive competitions to clearly differentiate their respective brand identities and make the most of the specific associations linked to the two brands. This way, the impact and recognizability of both brands in their respective fields of competition could be maximized.

Resource and Skill Optimization: It could also be a decision based on optimizing resources and skills within the Stellantis group. Citroën may already have a solid technical base and experience in the rallying field, making it more efficient to use the Citroën brand for the Rally2 car, while Lancia focuses on enhancing its own history and sporting tradition in other initiatives.

The choice to use Lancia’s sporting history while the Rally2 rally car is branded as Citroën could be guided by brand positioning strategies, brand differentiation, resource and skill optimization within the Stellantis group. These decisions can help maximize the impact of the respective brands in their respective fields of competition.