The car Italy says it’s illegal for Alfa Romeo to build

The Italian Government has criticised Alfa Romeo’s decision to name its new Polish-built crossover Milano, calling the use of the name illegal.

“A car called Milano cannot be produced in Poland. This is forbidden by Italian law,” said Italy’s industry minister, Adolfo Urso, in remarks reported by Reuters.

He cited legislation from 2003 that targets “Italian sounding” products that falsely claim to be from Italy.

“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,” said Mr Urso.

The legislation he’s referring to says both imported and exported goods are illegal if they bear false or misleading origin labelling, with “Imported by: [name and address of importer]” or the country of manufacture required on a product’s labelling to be compliant.

The law has typically been invoked against food products, like foreign parmesan cheese being labelled as Parmigiano.

The Milano is being built in Tychy, Poland alongside the related Jeep Avenger and Fiat 600e.

That makes it the first Alfa Romeo to be produced entirely outside of Italy. Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares told Automotive News Europe that Polish production has allowed it to cut €10,000 (A$16,451) off of the Milano’s price.

The Milano’s naming isn’t the only thing the Italian Government has criticised Stellantis for in recent months.

It also dinged the company for having an ownership structure not properly balanced between its French and Italian stakeholders, and for moving manufacturing outside of Italy to countries – like Poland – where production costs are lower.

Alfa Romeo has encountered issues with using the Milano nameplate before.

It has been dormant since the 1980s, when it was used on the 75 sports sedan in North America, but Alfa Romeo had planned to use it on the Giulietta hatch.

However, as Alfa Romeo was shuttering its operations in the city of Milan at the time, criticism from employees led to the Italian brand changing the name of the hatch prior to its launch in 2010.

Milano (Milan) is where the Alfa Romeo brand was founded in 1910.

MORE: Alfa Romeo Milano electric SUV: Australian plans revealed

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