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Brian Silvestro

Italian Government Forces Alfa Romeo to Change Name of Milano SUV to 'Junior'

In what's been a rollercoaster week for Alfa Romeo, the company announced Monday it will change the name of its newly unveiled Milano SUV to "Junior" following pressure from the Italian government.

The decision comes just a few days after Adolfo Urso, Italy's industry minister, criticized Alfa Romeo for marketing a foreign-built car with an Italian name. The Milano is built at Alfa's Tychy assembly plant, located in Poland.

"A car called Milano cannot be produced in Poland," Urso said on Thursday. "This is forbidden by Italian law."

He's referring to a piece of legislation from 2003 that calls out "Italian-sounding" products that falsely claim to be produced in Italy, according to Reuters

"This law stipulates that you cannot give indications that mislead consumers," Urso added. "So a car called Milano must be produced in Italy. Otherwise, it gives a misleading indication which is not allowed under Italian law."

The Milano nameplate is a tribute to the city of Milan, where Alfa Romeo got its start. It was originally used as the name for the company's rear-drive, Busso V-6-powered 75 sedan in North America, where it competed against cars like the BMW 3 Series.

Like Milano, Junior is another nameplate revival. Perhaps more fitting to the small, entry-level crossover, Junior was originally used by Alfa Romeo as a trim level in the mid-1960s to refer to its base-model 105- and 115-series Giulia coupes. 

"We are perfectly aware that this episode will remain engraved in the history of the brand," CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato said in a statement translated from Italian. "It's a great responsibility but at the same time it's an exciting moment. The choice of the new name Alfa Romeo Junior is completely natural, being strongly linked to the history of the brand and having been among our favorites and among the public's favorites since the beginning."

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Gallery: 2024 Alfa Romeo Milano

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