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Alfa Romeo Milano renamed as Junior after Italy bans name

Alfa Romeo has been forced to rename its first EV before the car has even launched after the Italian government threw up a legal roadblock.

Alfa only revealed the Milano last week, stating that the car’s name was a tribute to its home town. However, it has had to rapidly rethink that title after being told that its use was against Italian law.

In a statement dripping with sarcasm, Alfa Romeo announced that the car will now be called the Alfa Romeo Junior, and thanked the Italian government for the added publicity generated by the controversy.

“During one of the most important weeks for Alfa Romeo’s future, an Italian government official declared that the use of the name ‘Milano’ is banned by law,” the company said.

“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 problem arises because the name Milano sounds Italian and might suggest the car is built in Italy, when it is actually built in Poland alongside other Stellantis cars. Apparently, that isn’t allowed under Italian law.

The original name was chosen via public vote, so Alfa Romeo has fallen back on another of the options from that poll and gone with Junior. That pays tribute to the 1966 GT 1300 Junior, which with just 88bp from its 1.3-litre engine lacks the performance of the 237bhp Junior Veloce that’s on the way.

“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,” said Jean-Philippe Imparato, CEO of Alfa Romeo.

“As a team, we are choosing once again to share our passion for the brand and make the product and our customers the priority. 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.

“The attention to our new sports compact that we’ve received the past few days is quite exciting as we had an unprecedented number of visits to the online configurator, causing the website to crash for a couple hours.”

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Matt Allan

Matt is Editor of EV Powered. He has worked in journalism for more than 20 years and been an automotive journalist for the last decade, covering every aspect of the industry, from new model reveals and reviews to consumer and driving advice. The former motoring editor of inews.co.uk, The Scotsman and National World, Matt has watched the EV landscape transform beyond recognition over the last 10 years and developed a passion for electric vehicles and what they mean for the future of transport - from the smallest city cars to the biggest battery-powered trucks. When he’s not driving or writing about electric cars, he’s figuring out how to convert his classic VW camper to electric power.