Italian government squabble forces Alfa Romeo to ditch 'Milano' name

Max McDee, 15 April 2024

Alfa Romeo's sleek new SUV caused quite a stir – and not just for its eye-catching design. An Italian government minister raised eyebrows by claiming that calling it Milano violated national regulations since the car will be produced in Poland. Bizarre? Definately. Yet, Alfa Romeo swiftly turned the controversy into a marketing coup.

The Italian automaker announced that the Milano is now officially called the Alfa Romeo Junior. Alfa Romeo CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato claimed the switch was made "in the spirit of promoting mutual understanding" while cheekily thanking the Italian government for the "free publicity."

Italian government squabble forces Alfa Romeo to ditch 'Milano' name

Previously, Italian Minister of Enterprises and Made in Italy, Adolfo Urso, argued that "a car called Milano cannot be produced in Poland." He maintained that the name would somehow mislead consumers into believing the SUV was made in the fashion capital Milan. That assertion is certainly dubious, especially as many global automakers build vehicles outside their home countries.

Despite feeling confident that the "Milano" name was perfectly legal, Alfa Romeo decided a rebrand was the best way to defuse the situation. Company execs emphasized that the focus should be on the car's design and performance, not political squabbling.

Italian government squabble forces Alfa Romeo to ditch 'Milano' name

And what about the new name? Junior has a rich heritage within the Alfa Romeo family. Introduced in 1966, the GT 1300 Junior was a youthful sports car designed to attract first time buyers. It proved a runaway success, selling over 92,000 units throughout its lifespan.

The new Junior is a compact SUV with aggressive styling and Alfa's first all-electric vehicle. It will measure in at 177.2 inches long. Alfa Romeo promises a thrilling performance while maintaining the brand's signature driving experience.

Italian government squabble forces Alfa Romeo to ditch 'Milano' name

The "Milano" debacle generated attention for the fledgling SUV. Alfa Romeo's website even crashed from the surge in traffic as car fans buzzed about the controversy. The Junior switch will keep the brand in the spotlight, which can't hurt in a crowded market. But will Alfa manage to convert the buzz into actual sales? After all, despite all the marketing, the new Junior is simply a dressed-up Jeep Avenger or Lancia Ypsilon - which isn't necessarily a bad thing. However, the $41,300 launch model's price tag may get in the way of big sales.


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