Alfa Romeo forced to rename upcoming ‘Milano’ after model accused of breaking Italian law

  • Alfa Romeo Milano renamed after row with Italian government
  • Compact crossover will now be named ‘Junior’ due to breach of Italian law
  • Legislation bans products being sold to sound Italian if they are produced outside of country
  • Upcoming model will be built at Stellantis’s Tychy plant in Poland.

Time 7:55 am, April 16, 2024

Alfa Romeo’s first ever EV will no longer be called the ‘Milano’ after the model sparked a huge row between Stellantis and the Italian government.

Car Dealer reported last week that the famous old brand had launched its new compact crossover using the nameplate ‘Milano’.

However, Alolfo Urso – minister for business and made in Italy – accused the carmaker of breaking the law with the plans, as the car is to be built at Stellantis’s Tychy plant, in Poland.

Italian law prohibits the sale of products with Italian-sounding names if they are not produced in the country. The law is more commonly applied to food items, such as Parmigiano cheese.

As a result of the law, Alfa has been forced to perform a U-Turn and rebrand their latest model.  The car will now be known as the ‘Alfa Romeo Junior’ after bosses agreed to the change in order to ‘promote mutual understanding’.

Confirming the change, Jean-Philippe Imparato, Alfa Romeo’s CEO, said: ‘We are perfectly aware that this moment will remain engraved in the history of the brand. It’s a great responsibility but at the same time it’s an exciting moment.

‘The choice of the name Junior is completely natural, as it is strongly linked to the history of the brand and has been among our favourites and among the public’s favourites since the beginning.

‘As a team, we are choosing once again to share our passion for the brand and make the product and our customers the priority. We decided to change the name, even though we know that we are not required to do so, because we want to preserve the positive emotion that our products have always generated and avoid any type of controversy.

‘The attention to our new sports compact that we’ve received the past few days is quite exciting as we had an unprecedented number of visits to the online configurator, causing the website to crash for a couple hours.’

Speaking last week, Urso said the law was in place to prevent firm’s ‘misleading’ customers.

Responding to the late switch, Stefano Odorici, president of the Italian Alfa Romeo Dealers Association, said: ‘Alfa Romeo is an inclusive brand, which welcomes and generates passion and positive emotions.

‘You can clearly see it when I look into the eyes of our customers when they come to see, test, purchase and collect Alfa Romeo cars in our dealerships.

‘For this reason, we welcome the decision taken by the company to change the name of the car from Milano to Junior in light of the latest news, which could affect the enthusiasm and the enormous attention that the new car is receiving from our customers recently.

‘Junior, like Milano, are both beautiful names that have their roots in the history of the brand. It is no coincidence that they were immediately among the public’s favourites.’

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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