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Should Lancia’s Ypsilon Join Chrysler’s U.S. Lineup?

Although Lancia publically unwrapped the all-new Ypsilon subcompact at the 2011 Geneva motor show in March, dealers across Europe only began selling the vehicle this week. But given the blending of the Chrysler and Lancia brands abroad, should the stylish little hatchback work its way into Chrysler’s U.S. showrooms?

Once upon a time, that was exactly the plan. The Ypslion — which rides upon Fiat’s supermini platform, and also underpins the likes of the 500 and Panda — was originally slated to come stateside, potentially lending Chrysler dealers a small, stylish replacement for the departed PT Cruiser.

However, that may no longer be the case. The latest word from executives is that Chrysler may leave small cars to the Fiat brand, allowing that nameplate to expand its lineup beyond the two-door 500 (and its various trims).  That’s possibly a wise decision, as many Fiat “studios” (a.k.a. showrooms) will be paired with existing Chrysler dealer franchises. Tossing the Ypsilon into Chrysler’s lot could create some unnecessary competition.

But should Chrysler abstain from its own small offering in North America?  Styling is subjective, but we think the Ypsi looks rather striking — a Delta in three-quarter scale, if you will, especially when it’s ordered with the optional two-tone paint scheme shown here. Buyers will have their choice of a 69-hp, 1.2-liter I-4; a 95-hp, turbocharged 1.3-liter I-4; or Fiat’s 85-hp, turbocharged 875-cc two-cylinder mill.

We’d wager the two-cylinder wouldn’t work here in the U.S., but could the Ypsilon fare well in North America as a Chrysler? Would this serve as a decent replacement for the PT, or should stylish, premium small cars remain Fiat’s domain in our market? Let us know your thoughts by way of the comments section below.

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Buying Guide

2011 Chrysler 300

Fair Market Price $14,988 Touring RWD Sedan

0-60 MPH:

7.2 SECS

EPA MPG:

18 City / 27 Hwy

Horse Power:

292 @ 6350

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