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Alfa Romeo Milano Now Named ‘Junior’ Because Of Italian Law Protecting Cheese

Remember the Alfa Romeo Milano we wrote about last week? It’s the Italian carmaker’s first-ever series-production electric vehicle, so it’s a pretty big deal. Except it’s not called “Milano” anymore because Italy decided against that, and an obscure law originally designed for protecting cheese is to blame.

Alfa, which is owned by Stellantis, announced that its new entry-level subcompact crossover will now be called the Junior because it doesn’t want to get into a fight with the Italian government. The "Milano" name goes against a law that was designed to protect Italian-sounding names for products that are made in Italy, like Parmigiano cheese.

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Just like the rather selective soup maker who made an appearance on the 1990s hit TV series Seinfeld, the Italian government forced Alfa Romeo to rename its new "Milano" crossover to "Junior" because it won't be made in Italy despite having an Italian-sounding name.

The problem is that the Milano—sorry, the Junior—will be built in Poland, making the original name in violation of the law in Italy.

“A car called Milano cannot be produced in Poland. This is forbidden by Italian law,” said Adolfo Urso, Italy’s Minister of Economic Development, referring to 2003 legislation that targets “Italian sounding” products that falsely claim to be Italian.

According to Reuters, this law has been typically invoked in the past by the Italian government against food products like U.S.-made “parmesan” cheese which resembles Italy’s Parmigiano.

Gallery: Alfa Romeo Junior (formerly called Milano)

The rest stays the same. The Alfa Romeo Junior is based on the same platform as the Jeep Avenger and, just like its American counterpart, it won’t make its way to the United States anytime soon. It’s available as either an all-electric model with up to 240 horsepower or a hybrid with 136 hp.

Alfa Romeo said that despite believing the “Milano” name “met all legal requirements and that there are issues much more important than the name of the car,” it decided to change the entry model’s name to “Junior” in the spirit of mutual understanding.

I don’t know about you, but to me that seems like a major slip-up for a company that’s based in Italy.

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