Italy's Lancia has had a turbulent past and has only been back on the automotive radar for a short while now, however, the relatively niche brand may be on the outs again following news of Fiat's interest in Opel. Fiat, which has already formed an alliance with Chrysler, is now attempting to form a three-way alliance with Chrysler and Opel.

The formation of a Fiat-Chrysler-Opel group, however, could mean that there isn't enough room at Fiat for the Lancia brand. The news comes from an inside source close to Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne, who told Automotive News Europe that the proposed merger with Opel would almost certainly mean an ousting of the Lancia brand.

Lancia is one of Fiat's most underperforming brands - last year it only managed to sell a little over 100,000 units globally, making it difficult to justify the brand’s existence should Fiat decide to expand its operations by taking on Opel. Coupled with rising production costs and a lack of willing customers, Lancia is beginning to look more and more like Ford's Mercury or GM's Pontiac brand rather than a viable premium marque.

The news doesn't bode well for those of us looking forward to a return of the famous Lancia Stratos, one of motorsports’ most distinctive designs. Further news about Lancia should be coming when more details are known about the possible Fiat-Chrysler-Opel merger.