Alfa Romeo Junior: Milano given new name after Italian government protest

It’s not even a week old, and the Alfa Romeo Milano has been updated. It’s not a tech or specification change, though, but an entirely different name: Junior.

In the middle of last week, Alfa Romeo revealed its smallest crossover yet, and the first car from the brand to be available with a purely electric drivetrain.

Dubbed Milano, the car’s name, the company says, “was chosen to pay tribute to the city where our history began in 1910”.

Milano won out in a web poll open to Alfa Romeo enthusiasts, with Junior coming in second place. Prior to this, the car was widely referred to as Brennero, named after the alpine Brenner Pass that crosses the border between Italy and Austria.

While that’s all well and good, the Italian government protested because the Milano is not built in Milan, or even Italy. Instead it will be made in Tychy, Poland alongside its platform-mates, the Jeep Avenger and Fiat 600.

Carlos Tavares, Stellantis’s CEO, told Automotive News Europe Polish production allowed it to cut €10,000 (A$16,451) off of the Milano’s price.

Citing an Italian law that says both imported and exported goods are illegal if they bear false or misleading origin labelling, Adolfo Urso, the country’s industry minister, told the press last week that it is “forbidden by Italian law” for a “a car called Milano [to be] produced in Poland”.

In announcing the change, the brand states, “Despite Alfa Romeo believing that the name meets 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 Junior in the spirit of promoting mutual understanding”.

Alfa thanked the public for its “positive feedback” before also thanking the “Italian government for the free publicity brought on by this debate”.

The new Junior is named after the GT 1300 Junior coupe launched in 1966. Based on the GT coupe model put into production in 1963, the Junior was fitted with a smaller engine, which sacrificed power and outright performance for a lower entry price and, in Italy at least, lower taxes.

Scheduled to arrive in Australia some time in 2025, the Junior will be available in Europe later this year with a choice of three drivetrains: the 101kW Ibrida mild-hybrid, as well as the all-electric 116kW Elettrica and 179kW Veloce.

Both electric versions are fitted with a 54kWh battery good for a WLTP maximum range of 410km.

MORE: Alfa Romeo Milano electric SUV — Australian plans revealed


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