Italian government forces Alfa Romeo to change name of Milano SUV to ‘Junior’

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Italian government forces Alfa Romeo to change name of Milano SUV to ‘Junior’

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In what has been an up-and-down week for Alfa Romeo, the company announced on Monday that it would change the name of its newly unveiled Milano SUV to “Junior” following pressure from the Italian government.

The move comes just days after Adolfo Urso, Italy’s industry minister, criticized Alfa Romeo for marketing a foreign-made 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. “It is prohibited by Italian law.”

He refers to a 2003 law that denounces “Italian-sounding” products that falsely claim to be made in Italy, according to Reuters.

“This law states that it is prohibited to give information that could mislead consumers,” Urso added. “A car called Milano must therefore be produced in Italy. Otherwise, it gives a misleading indication which is not permitted by Italian law.”

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

Like Milano, Junior is another revival of the brand. Perhaps more suited 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 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 is a great responsibility but at the same time it is 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 being among our favorites and among the public favorites from the start.”

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