Alfa Romeo Milano Renamed Junior For Not Being Made In Italy

This Polish-built Alfa Romeo had the Italian politicians protesting over the use of its original Milano name. 

While there is likely no one who may be fooled into thinking that Hyundai makes its Tuscon in Arizona, or for Ferrari is producing its Californias in California, it does nevertheless seem though that having the newly unveiled Milano be built in Poland is one step too far for some Italian politicians. And that is largely the reason why in less than a week after its launch, this small crossover from Alfa Romeo has since been renamed to Junior. 

Now for those who have not been following this rather curious kerfuffle, this Milano naming issue (which incidentally was bubbling away in the background for months already) was finally brought to the forefront when Italian minister Adolfo Urso publicly criticised Alfa Romeo over the weekend after its launch for marketing a foreign-built car with an Italian name. This new e-crossover was named after the Italian brand’s home town of Milan, but is to be produced at its parent company Stellantis’ Polish plant in Tychy.

“A car called Milano cannot be produced in Poland. This is forbidden by Italian law,” Italian industry minister publicly proclaimed over the weekend. This law he was referring to was apparently a piece of legislation from 2003, which calls out “Italian-sounding” products that falsely claim to be produced in Italy,

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

In elaborating a little further on Alfa Romeo’s response to this matter meanwhile, the Italian marque still holds the (admittedly reasonable) belief that the original Milano name still meets all legal requirements for its use. Though the automaker perhaps also have realised the futility of butting heads with politicians on such a small matter, with its stating for its willingness to rechristen its new crossover to Junior coming “in the spirit of promoting mutual understanding”.

The Italian marque did nevertheless not miss the opportunity to have some fun with this issue, with the official press release regarding this name change featuring the headline of: Alfa Romeo: Milano Name is not OK? “Alfa Romeo Junior” then! The automaker then went on to jokingly thank the government for the “free publicity brought on by this debate.”

Like Milano, Junior is another nameplate revival from Alfa Romeo’s past. And interestingly enough, this new name for Alfa’s smallest model in its current lineup does have a better historical ring to it than its prior moniker. 

Such is after all for the original GT 1300 Junior from 1966 to be the Italian marque’s affordable model of its 105- and 115-series Giulia coupes, which was was predominantly aimed at a younger crowd. With sales of over 92,000 units, the GT 1300 Junior soon became the overall best seller in the lineup during its day, and was what many saw as the people’s Alfa Romeo back then.

Funnily enough too, this isn’t actually the first time that Alfa Romeo has dropped the Milano name, with the most recent Giulietta supposedly to wear this moniker, before being switched out at the 11th hour. The reason for the switch that time round came about when Alfa Romeo had wisely thought it it best not to name a car the Milano, just as it had decided that prior to its launch was the best time to announce it is winding down operations in Milan…

Joshua Chin

Automotive journalist. Professional work on and Personal writing found at Instagram: @driveeveryday

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