Praise Be to Rally, Lancia Is Resurrecting the Delta as an EV

An automaker bringing back an old nameplate is nothing new. But the reason so many people are going wild over the reborn Acura Integra is that there are classic names, and then there are iconic names. And for hot hatch and rally fans, the Lancia Delta is most certainly an icon. It’s arguably the most successful rally car ever, and perhaps the Italian brand’s last great triumph. But its story isn’t over quite yet, because Lancia is bringing the Delta back in EV form.

The Lancia Delta is coming back as an EV—and the brand’s CEO promises it’ll live up to the name

A yellow Lancia Delta Integrale drives through the French Alps
A Lancia Delta Integrale drives through the French Alps | Martyn Goddard/Corbis via Getty Images

Technically, there have been three Lancia Delta generations. But the original car, the one that spawned the iconic Integrale rally cars, ran from 1979-1993. The second-gen Delta launched in 1994, but it was exclusively FWD, and had none of its predecessor’s performance, Road & Track says. And the third-gen 2008-2014 Delta was basically a re-bodied Fiat that wasn’t even sold as a Lancia outside of Italy.

Speaking of Italy, that’s the only place Lancia still sells cars today. Or rather, car, because it only has one model: the subcompact Ypsilon. It’s a sad state of affairs given where the brand was just a few decades ago, The Drive muses. And Lancia, as well as its parent company Stellantis, knows it.

However, Stellantis isn’t giving up on its lower-performing brands quite yet. So, Lancia has a shot at reinvigorating itself. And that shot takes the form of an all-electric Lancia Delta.

As noted earlier, resurrecting the Lancia Delta nameplate makes a lot of sense in terms of grabbing potential buyers’ attention. But it won’t just be a meaningless cash-grab opportunity. In a recent interview, brand CEO Luca Napolitano emphasized that the upcoming EV “’will be a true Delta: an exciting car, a manifesto of progress and technology,’” The Drive reports. Napolitano understands how special the Delta name is to Lancia, as do several Stellantis higher-ups, Autoblog says.

Be prepared to wait a while for the Lancia Delta EV

A blue 2021 Lancia Ypsilon EcoChic parked in an Italian city square
2021 Lancia Ypsilon EcoChic | Stellantis

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Given Lancia’s current position, and the history behind the Delta name, the brand can’t afford to screw up this upcoming EV, R&T notes. As such, it won’t exactly be rushing the electric Delta into production. But there is a plan in place.

It’s worth remembering that Lancia isn’t the only Stellantis brand pursuing EVs. Alfa Romeo, for example, plans to go fully electric after 2026. And then there are Dodge’s upcoming ‘eMuscle’ cars. Plus, even before the new Delta was announced, Lancia already planned to release several EVs after updating the Ypsilon. One of those EVs was a compact hatchback “positioned above the Ypsilon,” Autoblog reports.

Based on the current Ypsilon’s life cycle, this puts the Delta EV’s earliest release date no sooner than 2024, The Drive says. However, by that time several other Stellantis brands will have EV platforms at the ready. So, to save time and money, Lancia could build the new Delta on one of them. And given Napolitano’s claim, there will likely be some kind of AWD Integrale successor.

Will the electric Delta officially come to the US?

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While an electric Lancia Delta Integrale follow-up is virtually guaranteed, the EV’s US presence isn’t, The Drive notes. The original Delta Integrale wasn’t sold here, after all, because the brand left the US in 1982. And seeing as Peugeot won’t be launching a comeback here, Lancia might not, either.

However, with the Citroen Ami coming here, even in a limited fashion, there’s still hope for a US-market Delta EV. Or at least, a rebadged Delta EV. Perhaps a new version of the Dodge-Shelby Omni GLH-S, The Drive muses?

Still, even if it doesn’t come here, a properly resurrected Lancia Delta is something to celebrate.

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