In a surprising turn of events, Alfa Romeo’s freshly launched small SUV, initially named “Milano,” has been swiftly renamed “Alfa Romeo Junior” after a legal dispute over its original moniker. The Italian government’s abrupt declaration to ban the use of the name “Milano” certainly appears to be an odd move during what was poised to be a pivotal week for Alfa Romeo. Why ban the name Milano? Because the new Alfa small SUV will be built in Poland and that’s apparently illegal because all products with ‘Italian-sounding names’ must be produced in Italy, according to a law passed in 2003.

Jean-Philippe Imparato, CEO of Alfa Romeo said: “We are perfectly aware that this moment will remain engraved in the history of the Brand. It’s a great responsibility but at the same time it’s an exciting moment. 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. 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.”

The name “Milano” was chosen by the brand from a list of names submitted by the public as a homage to the city where its storied history began over a century ago, resonating strongly with the public.

Alfa Romeo has a tradition of involving the public in naming its vehicles, a practice dating back to 1966 with the iconic Spider 1600, christened “Duetto” based on popular demand. Despite Alfa Romeo’s confidence that the name “Milano” complied with all legal requirements, the company opted for a swift resolution, choosing to rebrand the vehicle as “Alfa Romeo Junior” to promote harmony and understanding.

Acknowledging the overwhelming support received from the public, Italian dealer network, and media, Alfa Romeo has defied the negativity by going on to make the most of this rather odd situation by expressing gratitude for the positive feedback surrounding its latest offering.

Alfa Romeo decision to call its latest SUV the Junior is actually founded in the brand’s rich history, having used the name on Giulia variants from the 1960s onwards. Alfa Romeo now looks forward with its latest vehicle, one which not only allows the brand to face off with other premium small SUVs such as the Audi Q2, but ushers in a an era of fully electrified vehicles.

There’s no word yet on local pricing or specifications for the Junior at this stage, but expect an Australian launch sometime in 2025.

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Eagle eyed in the courtroom and when evaluating cars, Michal shares the DiscoverAuto team's passion for helping empower you to pick which car is right for you. Whether you want to know the most intricate details about a car's engine, or simply which car has the largest boot in its class, Michal has you covered.

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