Fiat Topolinos seized by Italian authorities over ‘illegal’ flags

Italian customs officials seized more than 100 Fiat Topolino EVs over a tiny flag sticker in the latest round of a battle between authorities and car makers.

Members of the Guardia di Finanza and customs officers reportedly impounded 134 of the tiny quadricycles at the port of Livorno, claiming the symbol breached the so-called ‘Made in Italy’ law.

Authorities said that the small red, white and green tricolore badge on the cars’ doors were in violation of the rule that products made outside of Italy cannot use language or symbols, including flags, that might suggest the item was produced in the country. The Topolino – a rebadged Citroen Ami – is built in Stellantis’s factory in Morocco.

A spokesperson for Fiat’s parent company Stellantis told La Repubblica, which first reported the story, that the brand had removed the stickers in order to have the cars released, but insisted it had done nothing wrong. Stellantis insists it has been transparent about the car’s origins and the flag symbolised the fact the project was developed in Turin.

The Topolino is Fiat’s third pure EV, alongside the 500e and 600e, and is a sister product to the Citroen Ami. It uses the same simple body, 8bhp motor and 5.5kWh battery to offer up to 48 miles of urban driving. It is due to go on sale in Europe and the UK later this year.

The incident is the second clash between Stellantis and Italian authorities in recent weeks. Just days after announcing its new model compact SUV would be named the Milano, Alfa Romeo was forced to rename it to the Junior. This, too, was down to the fact that the name hinted at Italian roots when the car is, in fact, assembled in Poland.

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.

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