Alfa Romeo Milano to be renamed Junior amid legal controversy - SUV VEHICLE

Alfa Romeo Milano to be renamed Junior amid legal controversy

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Alfa Romeo’s new Milano has been renamed days after its unveiling as the Italian government declared the Polish-built SUV violated laws banning foreign products with Italian-sounding names.

The Alfa Romeo Milano city SUV will now be known as the Junior after it was revealed the original name could be illegal in Italy.

In recent days Italy’s Minister of Industry, Adolfo Urso, claimed in remarks to overseas media Alfa Romeo is in breach of Italian law by naming its new SUV – which is made in Poland – the Milano.

Italian legislation introduced in 2003 stipulates products with “Italian-sounding” names must be produced in Italy – similar to rules that require sparkling wine to be produced in the Champagne region of France before it can be called ‘champagne’.

Now Alfa Romeo has announced its new small SUV will be known as the Junior – reviving an iconic name used by the car maker in the 1960s.

MORE: Alfa Romeo in hot water over “illegal” Milano model name – report

In a media release overnight, the company claimed it thought “the name met all legal requirements and that there are issues much more important than the name of a new car.”

It claims it elected to change the name “in the spirit of promoting mutual understanding,” and said it “would like to thank … the government for the free publicity brought on by this debate.”

Alfa Romeo CEO Jean-Phillipe Imparato said in a media statement: “We decided to change the name, even though we know that we are not required to do so, because we want to preserve the positive emotion that our products have always generated and avoid any type of controversy.”

He said: “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 favourites and among the public’s favourites since the beginning.“

Alfa Romeo said the Milano name was a reference to the city where the company was founded in 1910.

Yet it selected the name for the first Alfa Romeo not built in Italy – rather in Poland, alongside its Fiat 600 and Jeep Avenger twins under the skin.

It is not the first time Alfa Romeo has attempted to reprise the Milano name – last used on North American versions of the 1980s 75 sedan – but has had its decision backfire.

The Alfa Romeo Giulietta hatch of 2010 was initially planned to be called the Milano, but was renamed three days before its unveiling – as the car maker was preparing to shut its last-remaining operations in Milan, and relocate 232 design staff to parent company Fiat’s headquarters in Turin.

The decision was so late several European media outlets had already received advance photos of the new hatchback branded as the Milano – which were quickly replaced with new images with Giulietta logos.

However unlike the new Milano – which had its name changed after its unveiling – the 2010 vehicle was renamed Giulietta before it was shown to the public.

For more details on the new hybrid and electric Alfa Romeo Junior – formerly Milano – click here to read our unveiling story published last week.

The post Alfa Romeo Milano to be renamed Junior amid legal controversy appeared first on Drive.

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