Chrysler's North American lineup is for a major shakeup within the next couple of years and according to the company's new Italian CEO the first changes could start by the end of the year.

Processes are already in place to help merge Chrysler with Italy's Lancia brand (a subsidiary of Fiat). Chrysler would be phased out of the European market--it's models used to fill the gaps in Lancia's lineup overseas--and here in North America Lancia products would be used to expand Chrysler's limited range.

The information comes directly from Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne who revealed to Autocar that Chrysler and Lancia could converge as early as the end of the year and that the move would make sense because each marque had gaps in its range that could be filled by the other.

“In Europe, Lancia is an undersized, underdeveloped brand, with nothing bigger than the Delta. Chrysler, which has a true global reach, has nothing smaller. Put them together and you have a full lineup,” he said.

The first clues have already been revealed. At last month's 2010 Detroit Auto Show Chrysler showed off a re-badged Lancia Delta (pictured) and late last year Lancia CEO Olivier Francois was appointed head of Chrysler--a clear indication that the two brands will become more closely entwined.

[Autocar]