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Legal threat sees Alfa Romeo change name of new entry-level crossover

Last week, Alfa Romeo unveiled the stunning Milano, which would be positioned as its new entry-level car in global markets.

Chosen by the public, the name Milano paid tribute to the city the iconic automaker has called its home since 1910.

However, following the launch of the vehicle, the Italian Minister of Industry, Adolfo Urso, suddenly declared that the use of the name “Milano” was banned by law.

“A car called Milano cannot be produced in Poland. This is forbidden by Italian law,” the minister told Automotive News Europe.

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

Thus, Urso ostensibly presented Alfa with two choices – head to the courts, or back to the drawing board.

The manufacturer chose the latter.

A new name it is

In an unfortunate turn of events for fans of the Milano nomenclature, Alfa revisited the list of names selected as favorites from the public’s suggestion in search of a new badge befitting its rich history.

The Italian marque therefore settled on: Alfa Romeo Junior.

The title first adorned an Alfa when the particularly dynamic GT 1300 Junior was unveiled on 26 September 1966, intended to attract a younger audience to the brand.

With choice mechanical upgrades over the Giulia of the ’60s and a top speed of 170km/h, the GT 1300 Junior quickly became the manufacturer’s best-selling car at a total of 92,000 units and a “true status symbol of its time” – thus making it the perfect new moniker for the Milano.

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

“The Alfa Romeo team would like to thank the public for the positive feedback, the Italian dealer network for their support, journalists for the enormous media attention given to the new car, and the government for the free publicity brought on by this debate.”

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