It was actually an inconspicuous name: Milano, the Italian word for Milan, and yet the new little Alfa Romeo so christened caused a lot of trouble in Italy. That is why it is now being renamed. Milano becomes Junior. No joke.

This is the brand's response to the accusations made by the Italian Minister for Economic Development, Adolfo Urso. The "Fratelli d'Italia" politician accused the Stellantis Group of deceiving customers by naming a car manufactured in Poland after an Italian city. Think quasi Parma ham from Silesia.

Gallery: Alfa Romeo Milano

The brand has therefore taken a historic decision: "to promote a climate of serenity", the new car will from now on be called "Alfa Romeo Junior". In short, the little Italian car already has an eventful history behind it.

The trigger

A car called Milano cannot be produced in Poland. This is prohibited by Italian law, which was introduced in 2003 and states that no information may be provided that misleads the consumer. (The only question is what Ferrero is doing with the Piedmont cherry, which doesn't even exist ...) "These are misleading claims that are explicitly linked to geographical indications," was the minister's accusation following the presentation.

The Alfa Romeo Junior logo

However, Alfa Romeo had decided not to comment immediately on the Minister's remarks and probably to reconsider its next steps. Instead, a press conference was called today at which CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato himself took the floor:

"We have decided to change the name, even though we know we are not obliged to, because we want to preserve the positive emotions that our products have always evoked and avoid any kind of controversy."

Homage to the hometown

Imparato and his team would nevertheless like to emphasise four points:

  • The name of the car gives no indication of its geographical origin, to cite other examples from the past;
  • there is a precise reference to the Polish origin of the car;
  • the Alfa Romeo Milano is designed, constructed, tested and registered in Italy;
  • the name is a reference to the historical tradition and culture of Alfa Romeo. "The name Milano was chosen as a tribute to the city where it all began in 1910," adds Imparato.

The Alfa boss also thanks the Italian government slightly smugly: "The attention we have received in recent days for our new 'Sports Compact' is very exciting, because we have had an unprecedented number of hits on the online configurator, which caused the website to crash for a few hours."

Alfa Romeo GT 1300 Junior

Alfa Romeo GT 1300 Junior

New name from the brand's history

After all, the new name "Junior" also has a lot to do with Alfa Romeo, especially as it was also on the shortlist for the Milano. Following the success of the Giulia and its coupé version Giulia Sprint GT, which was designed by Giugiaro for Bertone, Alfa Romeo wanted to appeal to a younger audience looking for a brilliant, exclusive car without an excessive price and running costs.

The GT 1300 Junior was presented in Balocco on 26 September 1966. Under the bonnet was a 1,290 cc twin-cylinder engine with 89 PS capable of more than 106 mph, which was only slightly below the level of the 1600. With over 92,000 units sold, the GT 1300 Junior quickly became the bestseller in the model series. Whether the new Milano .... Excuse me ... Junior will do the same remains to be seen.