Italy’s Lancia Ypsilon electric car leaks – literally

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Bizarre circumstances have resulted in the first new in Lancia more than a decade being revealed after it crashed into a canal by alleged criminals.


It is not uncommon for photos of new cars to ‘leak’ online before their official unveiling – but the inadvertent ‘unveiling’ of the first new model from Italian car maker Lancia in 15 years may be the weirdest we’ve seen yet.

Our first look at the new Lancia Ypsilon – a hybrid and electric city hatch based on the Peugeot 208 – has been come after a prototype of the new-generation model was reportedly stolen and crashed into a French canal.

As reported by French newspaper L’Est Républicain, firefighters in the town of Montbéliard were called after the white roof of a car was spotted above the water in a canal.

After establishing that there were no passengers in the vehicle, the car was extracted from the water by a crane – only for the publication’s photographer, Lionel Vadam, to inadvertently take the first public images of the electric Lancia Ypsilon without camouflage.

According to the newspaper, the Ypsilon prototype was stolen from a nearby factory operated by car-making conglomerate Stellantis – which owns Peugeot, Citroen, Fiat, Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Jeep, Ram and multiple other brands – before it was allegedly crashed by the criminals.

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French police are currently investigating how the prototype car was stolen from the factory.

The current-generation Lancia Ypsilon has been on sale exclusively in Italy since 2011 and is based on the now previous-generation Fiat 500 city car.

Despite selling just one model in one market, the circa-40,000 Ypsilons produced by Lancia in 2022 was more than the total number of Alfa Romeo cars delivered worldwide across the same period.

The new Lancia Ypsilon is expected to branch out of Italy and be sold across Europe, while the Italian car-maker’s executives have previously suggested the company could return to Australia for the first time since 1985 once it becomes an established brand overseas.

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Jordan Mulach is Canberra/Ngunnawal born, currently residing in Brisbane/Turrbal. Joining the Drive team in 2022, Jordan has previously worked for Auto Action, MotorsportM8, The Supercars Collective and TouringCarTimes, WhichCar, Wheels, Motor and Street Machine. Jordan is a self-described iRacing addict and can be found on weekends either behind the wheel of his Octavia RS or swearing at his ZH Fairlane.

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