Alfa Romeo Surprise - Renaming The Milano to “Junior”
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In a press statement, released by Alfa’s mother company Stellantis, we learnt: "During one of the most important weeks for Alfa Romeo’s future, an Italian government official declared that the use of the name ‘Milano’ chosen by the Brand for its recently unveiled new compact sports car is banned by law." And the explanation continues: “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 law referred to by Italian Industry Minister Adolfo Urso was passed in Italy in 2003 under then Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. It states that "Italian-sounding" products must be made in Italy. If they were not, they would falsely claim to be Italian. Italian classics such as ‘Prosecco’ sparkling wine from the region Valdobbiadene or ‘Parmesan’ cheese are secured by such law, against copies if their product names suggest that they come from Italy, but in fact they are shipped around the world from other countries.

The law is primarily aimed at food and other, mostly agricultural products. However, it can and definitely will be applied to cars such as the Alfa Romeo Milano, as the Milano is effectively built at the Polish plant in Tychy. The minister argues that "this law says that you can't make any claims that mislead the consumer. A car with the name Milano must therefore be manufactured in Italy."

Interestingly this very clear message was not understood by Alfa Romeo’s brand management team. The name ‘Milano’ apparently was a public favorite and was chosen to pay tribute to the city where Alfa’s history all began in 1910. And it was not the first time that Alfa Romeo had asked the public's opinion when choosing the name of a car. It was previously done in 1966 with the Spider 1600 when the name chosen by the public was Duetto.

From Milano to Junior - the vehicle will stay the same. I still find it surprising to believe that the Alfa Romeo brand team didn’t have this potential threat by a government body on their radar. Viva Italia.

Photos courtesy of Alfa Romeo.

The choice of the name Alfa Romeo Junior is completely natural, as it is strongly linked to the history of the Brand and has been among our favorites and among the public's favorites since the beginning.
Jean-Philippe Imparato – CEO Alfa Romeo