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9 Cars neither built nor sold in the places they’re named for


On April 15, 2024, Alfa Romeo issued a press release announcing the renaming of their newly unveiled Milano EV to Junior. This unexpected move came as a response to pressure from the Italian government, specifically Minister of Industry Adolfo Urso, who criticized the use of the name “Milano” for a car assembled in Poland. Urso deemed this naming choice not only culturally inappropriate but also illegal under Italian law, citing legislation targeting products that falsely claim Italian origin. Alfa Romeo initially defended the name, pointing out other cars with city names unrelated to their production sites, such as the Kia Sorento and Rio. However, faced with mounting pressure, the company quickly abandoned its defense and opted for the name “Junior,” carefully avoiding any mention of the car’s country of origin.

Interestingly, this isn’t the first time Alfa Romeo has had to change a model’s name from “Milano.” In 2009, just before the debut of a new Milano hatchback, the company rescheduled the launch. They then rebranded the model as “Giulietta.” This decision stemmed from Fiat’s closure of its Milan factory in 2009.

Despite these challenges, Alfa Romeo maintains its status as an Italian brand. The incident underscores the ongoing tension between federal regulations and regional identities in the car industry. Similar naming controversies have arisen in the past, reflecting the complexities of globalization and national pride within the industry.

Beyond Alfa Romeo, other automakers have also faced naming dilemmas. For instance, the Chevrolet Orlando was initially intended for the U.S. market but was ultimately not sold there. The Alfa Romeo Montreal, despite its name, was never sold in Montreal or anywhere in Canada. This showcases how automotive branding can transcend geographical boundaries. These instances demonstrate the intricacies of naming cars in a globalized market and the importance of cultural sensitivity.
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