Italy forces Alfa Romeo Milano name change — call it Junior now


The Alfa Romeo Milano is no more, and in its place lies the Alfa Romeo Junior. This tiny Alfa crossover – that won’t be sold in the U.S. – was only revealed just last week, but Alfa has already been forced to change the name at the request of the Italian government.

Why’s Italy telling its beloved Alfa Romeo brand it can’t use the “Milano” name? It comes down to where the car is being built, and the Milano/Junior will be built at Alfa’s plant in Tychy, Poland. According to Italy’s Industry Minister, Adolfo Urso, “A car called Milano cannot be produced in Poland. This is against the law.” Said law aims to stop the sale of products that have Italian-sounding names but are not actually produced in Italy.

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

Alfa Romeo sent out a press release today in response to the government criticism, agreeing to change the Milano’s name to Junior. That said, Alfa had plenty to say and still believes the Milano name to be a lawful one.

“Despite Alfa Romeo believing that the name met all legal requirements and that there are issues much more important than the name of a new car, Alfa Romeo has decided to change it from “Milano” to “Alfa Romeo Junior” in the spirit of promoting mutual understanding,” the company’s statement reads.

“The Alfa Romeo team would like to thank the public for the positive feedback, the Italian dealer network for their support, journalists for the enormous media attention given to the new car, and the government for the free publicity brought on by this debate.”

The name Milano was actually chosen through feedback from the public, as Alfa polled Italy’s citizens on what it believed the little SUV should be called. “Milano” was the winning name, and it makes a whole lot of sense considering Alfa’s history began in Milan, Italy. Of course, “Junior” speaks to Alfa’s history, as well, harkening back to 1966 with the Alfa Romeo GT 1300 Junior.

Course, none of this has much of an impact for what we’ll see on Alfa Romeo lots in the U.S., as the Junior won’t be sold here. It’s an entertaining turn of events, though, and if you’re curious to read Alfa’s response in its entirety, you can find it here.

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