"Let's change to Junior and from tomorrow no one will remember Milano". Alfa Romeo is convinced of this, and they are probably right. In the age of social media and hypermedia, where news drives out news, we tend to forget everything in less than 24 hours. But the fuss that arose after the name change from Milan to Junior is likely to leave damage that is not obvious today but far more serious.

Obviously, I am not referring to the costs that Alfa Romeo is incurring to change its marketing. Nor to the alleged indirect damage to the city of Milan, which will lose an opportunity for international visibility.

The greatest damage concerns the image of Italy as a national system, because what happened worldwide in the media on the evening of 15 April showed how complicated things can be in our parts (and with us Italians), including choosing the commercial name of a new car.

A foreign investor (perhaps Chinese, as the Italian government hopes) who has to decide whether and where to open its next car factory (or any other facility), the first thing it looks at in a country is the reliability of the economic system, which in turn derives from regulatory, political and energy stability.

I do not believe that seeing a minister publicly interfere in the naming strategy of a product is a reassuring factor. And little do the underlying political intentions matter, which may even be correct in principle because it is the ways that define the image of people and therefore of a country. Furthermore, the 'Italian way' represented by this affair I do not think reassures anyone.

Not even the Italians who are then the first to pay the consequences often without realising it.

Gallery: Alfa Romeo Milano