challenger redline.jpgThere are rumors floating around the virtual watercoolers
    that the Lancia Thema – which is a rebadged version of the Chrysler 300 for the
    Italian market – could soon be offered as a coupe.  The Chrysler 300 is kind of already marketed
    as a coupe in the US and we all know it as the Dodge Challenger. Do these
    Lancia Thema Coupe rumors indicate that the Dodge Challenger is headed to
    Europe with a new name?  Chevrolet has
    begun marketing the Camaro more actively in markets other than the USA so perhaps
    the Chrysler Group (and Fiat SpA) could use the success of the Challenger to
    spread the name around the globe.

    The issue with this speculation is that the Dodge Challenger
    is a muscle car with a distinct sporty design but the Lancia brand is one that
    focused on luxury.  The Chrysler Group
    products that are available in Italy as Lancia models include the Thema
    (Chrysler 300), the Grand Voyager (Chrysler Town & Country) and the Flavia
    (the Chrysler 200) – all of which are already luxury cars when they arrive in
    Europe with only badging needed to help these models fit into the Lancia
    lineup.  However, if the Challenger is
    going to fit into the Lancia lineup, it will need a good sprucing-up
    (especially with regard to the interior) to make this brawny American muscle
    car into a luxury coupe.

    Perhaps the Dodge Challenger will serve as a model for the
    Lancia Thema Coupe but unlike the American Challenger, the Thema Coupe will
    still preserve portions of the exterior design from the Chrysler 300.  Inside, making the interior more luxurious
    will only be a matter of adding more leather and chrome but on the outside, the
    Challenger could be a hard sell as a luxury car.  Also, would Dodge be willing to take the
    honored name and design of the Challenger and convert it into a different model
    for Europe?  Only time will tell.

    The Dodge Challenger is 100% awesome and seeing the big
    Mopar muscle car in Europe would be awesome but it seems like a bit of
    blasphemy to see the Challenger turned into a luxury coupe for the Lancia
    brand.  Should this Thema Coupe rumor
    turn out to be true – hopefully the company will come up with an exterior
    design of its own so it is more than just a rebadged Challenger.