Abion / Blog / Alfa Romeo makes a U-turn: Milano goes Junior
Alfa Romeo sign

Following pressure from the Italian government, Alfa Romeo is forced to change the name of its newly unveiled SUV.

Alfa Romeo recently announced that their “Milano” SUV will be renamed to “Junior” following backlash from Italian politicians, including strong criticism from Italy's industry minister, Adolfo Urso.

Cultural sensitivity and Legal compliance

Adolfo Urso objected to the car, manufactured at Alfa’s plant in Tychy, Poland, being marketed with a distinctly Italian name, citing a 2003 Italian law against “Italian-sounding" products deceptively labelled as ‘Made in Italy’.

alfa romeo car 1090×702

Urso emphasised that misleading consumer indications are illegal, stating a vehicle named “Milano" must be manufactured in Italy. The name “Milano" was originally a nod to Milan, where Alfa Romeo was founded, and had been used previously for a model in North America to rival the BMW 3 Series.

Reviving a legacy with Junior

Like Milano, Junior is another nameplate revival. Perhaps more fitting to the small, entry-level crossover, Junior was originally used by Alfa Romeo as a trim level in the mid-1960s to refer to its base-model 105- and 115-series Giulia coupes.

“We are perfectly aware that this episode will remain engraved in the history of the brand," CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato said in a statement. “It's a great responsibility but at the same time it's an exciting moment. The choice of the new name Alfa Romeo Junior is completely natural, being strongly linked to the history of the brand and having been among our favourites and among the public's favourites since the beginning."

- Jean-Philippe Imparato, CEO Alfa Romeo

The importance of due diligence in branding decisions

This incident highlights why proper due diligence before a product launch is crucial, as it helps to identify potential legal and cultural issues that could impact the brand and its reception in various markets.

Effective due diligence not only prevents legal conflicts but also ensures that brand changes resonate positively with both local and international audiences, safeguarding the company's reputation and market success.

Images

Daniel Minárik via Unsplash

Franco Monsalvo via Pexels

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