New trouble for Stellantis and its relationship with Made in Italy. At the centre of the scene today are 134 Fiat Topolinos seized last Wednesday by the Guardia di Finanza and the Customs Agency at the port of Livorno. The subject of contention is the Tricolore displayed on the sides of the electric quadricycles, which - according to the authorities - could be misleading as to the actual origin of the vehicle, which was manufactured in Morocco and not in Italy. The newspaper Il Tirreno was the first to report the news.

This partly repeats what we have already seen with the Alfa Romeo Milano - manufactured in Poland - forced to change its name to Alfa Romeo Junior after the intervention of Minister Adolfo Urso.

Question of origin

As with the Alfa Romeo SUV, at the origin of the seizure of the Fiat Topolino there is Article 4, paragraph 49, of Law no. 350/2003, created to defend Italian products from clones and the like from outside its borders. It is in fact written that

"The import and export for marketing purposes or the marketing or commission of acts unequivocally aimed at marketing of products bearing false or misleading indications of provenance or origin constitutes an offence and is punishable pursuant to Article 517 of the Penal Code. The stamping of the words "made in Italy" on products and goods not originating in Italy pursuant to under the European regulations on origin is a false indication; the use of signs, figures, or anything else that may lead the consumer to believe that the product or goods are of Italian origin, including the misleading or deceptive use of trademarks, constitutes a false indication, even when the origin and foreign provenance of the products or goods is indicated, without prejudice to the provisions of paragraph 49-bis.

A Tricolore put on a car like the Fiat Topolinonot produced in Italy - is therefore an offence, at least according to the Guardia di Finanza and the Customs Agency. There's more: according to Il Tirreno, Stellantis Europa's prosecutor is listed in the register of suspects.

<p>Fiat Topolino, the rear</p>

Fiat Topolino, the rear

<p>Fiat Topolino, the Tricolour</p>

Fiat Topolino, the Tricolour

Stellantis' reply

Naturally, Stellantis' reply was not long in coming, with a spokesperson stating:

"In order to resolve all issues, it was decided to intervene on the impounded vehicles with the removal of the small stickers subject to authorisation by the authorities. The sticker in question had the sole purpose of indicating the entrepreneurial origin of the product. In fact, the design of the new Topolino, which has been a historic car for Fiat since 1936, was conceived and developed in Turin by a team of professionals at the Centro Stile FIAT of Stellantis Europe S.p.A., an Italian company. Moreover, the company has always been clear since the presentation of the new model that it is manufactured in Morocco. We therefore believe that we have acted in full compliance with the rules, communicating in a transparent manner the country of production of the Topolino, without any deceptive intent towards consumers'.

Gallery: Fiat Topolino