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Alfa Romeo changes name of new Milano SUV to ‘Junior’ because of Italian law

Hopefully they won't have to change it again.
  • Alfa Romeo’s new SUV, formerly known as Milano, is now called ‘Junior’
  • The Junior is Alfa’s first electric car, and it’s built on a shared platform
  • It’s made in Poland, which is the reason why the name change was necessary

Published on Apr 17, 2024 at 2:53PM (UTC+4)

Last updated on Apr 17, 2024 at 7:25PM (UTC+4)

Edited by Tom Wood
Alfa Romeo Milano lead image

Alfa Romeo was forced to change the name of its newborn SUV, the Milano.

Now called the ‘Junior’, the name change was at the request of the Italian government.

The reason behind the name change is perfectly logical, but there’s one element that makes it strange.

READ MORE: The new Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale is here and it’s stunning

The Milano, or Junior, is a huge deal for Alfa.

It is the brand’s first-ever electric vehicle, and it is also the first Alfa Romeo-branded vehicle to use a shared platform, namely Stellantis’ Common Modular Platform – or CMP.

Underneath the Alfa Romeo-styled body, you’ll find the same underpinnings as, among others, the Opel Mokka, the Peugeot 2008, and the Jeep Avenger.

This sparked a bit of a debate in Italy because Stellantis is a global group and that means that, sometimes, its Italian cars aren’t 100 percent Italian.

But in this case, the last straw for the Italian government was the location chosen for production, which is the plant in Tychy, Poland.

Italy has a specific government ministry for this sort of situation, it’s called the Ministry for Business and Made in Italy, and that’s where the complaint for the name came from.

The current head of the ministry, Adolfo Urso, argued that you can’t call a car ‘Milano’ if it’s made in Poland, and he cited a 2003 law regarding ‘Italian-sounding’ things to back up his claim.

Put simply, the law says companies can’t use names that imply the product is ‘Made in Italy’ unless it actually is made in Italy.

Alfa Romeo CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato responded by saying the name would be changed to Junior, which is another iconic nameplate from the olden days.

He also said that even though he does not agree with the complaint, Stellantis and Alfa want to avoid a lengthy legal battle with the Italian government.

The complaint per se is understandable, and the reason is logical, but there’s one element about it that’s strange, and that’s the timing of the request.

The vast majority of global brands operate like that, sharing platforms and sometimes manufacturing cars outside the vehicle’s country of origin is not unheard of.

Even American automakers sometimes assemble cars in Mexico or Canada.

The Dodge Challenger, for example, is technically made in Canada.

As for Stellantis, the Tychy plant is used for other vehicles.

In fact, most hybrid models for the European market are built over there.

And that’s why the timing is odd.

We’ve known for months that the new Alfa would be called Milano and would be built in Poland, so even though the request is logical, the reason why they waited until the last minute is unclear.

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