Italian government forces Alfa Romeo to change new model name

Italian Industry Ministry says products cannot be sold under Italian names unless manufactured domestically

Hillel Posek|
Just days after unveiling its first electric car, Alfa Romeo was forced to change the name of its newest model. The compact leisure vehicle, originally named "Milano" – a moniker with significant historical weight in the venerable brand – will now be referred to as "Junior."
The issue surrounding the model's name, based on a platform shared with nine sibling models within the Stellantis conglomerate (including the Jeep Wrangler, Peugeot 208, Opel Corsa, Fiat 600, Citroën C3 and Lancia Epsilon), began with tensions between the management of the automotive giant and the Italian government.
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Alfa Romeo Junior
Alfa Romeo Junior
Alfa Romeo Junior
The latter objected to Stellantis' decision to manufacture the model in Poland, a move that clashed with the brand's strong association with Italy, where the Milano was exclusively produced until now. The decision was primarily financial, as the automaker argued that production in Italy would make the car's price uncompetitive, costing approximately €10,000 more than if it were produced in the Eastern European country.
Italian Industry Minister Adolfo Urso cautioned the automaker that under a 2003 law, it is illegal to sell products with Italian names if they are not made domestically. This regulation primarily targets food products labeled with Italian names but not produced within the country, potentially misleading consumers.
It is now debated whether the law will prevent Alfa Romeo from selling its Milano model, especially in Italy, its primary automotive market. The car, heralded as a new profitable era for the manufacturer, contrasts with the struggles of recent years.
Stellantis, the parent company, has had to seek assistance from the past and publicly questioned the necessity of avoiding the name "Milano."
This isn’t the first naming issue at Alfa Romeo. The "Giulia," originally intended to be named "Milan" after the city that marks the brand's origins, also underwent a last-minute name change, though at that time, the company enjoyed a close relationship with the Italian government.
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