Italy Tells Alfa Romeo It’s Illegal to Build the Milano in Poland

The cheese law strikes again.
Stellantis, The Drive

This past week, Alfa Romeo introduced its new Milano compact crossover. It’s a vehicle we’re unlikely to see here in the U.S., as it shares bones with Fiat’s new 600 as well as the Jeep Avenger, and unfortunately for the automaker it’s caused a bit of a stir with the local government. See, the Milano is built in Poland, like its Stellantis stablemates, but Italy happens to have rather strict rules about marketing products with Italian-sounding names that aren’t actually built there. And now, officials are calling Alfa out.

“A car called Milano cannot be produced in Poland,” Italy’s industry minister, Adolfo Urso, said Thursday per Reuters. “[The] law stipulates that you cannot give indications that mislead consumers. So a car called Milano must be produced in Italy. Otherwise, it gives a misleading indication which is not allowed under Italian law.”

According to Reuters, the relevant legislation was introduced in 2003 and is the same reason why, for example, parmesan cheese sold in your local supermarket will only be labeled parmigiano if it comes from Italy. Interestingly, the Milano will be the only vehicle in the brand’s lineup manufactured outside the nation, and Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares has been outspoken as to why. If the Milano—which comes in both fully electric and hybrid forms—were made at home, it’d cost 10,000 euros more, according to the CEO.

This actually isn’t the first time Italy has taken Stellantis to task over parading its roots, while fixing certain badges elsewhere.

“If you want to sell a car on the international market by advertising it as an Italian jewel, then that car must be produced in Italy,” Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni said back in January. Tavares fired back at the time by saying the government’s emphasis on electric vehicle production makes building cars there cost prohibitive, relative to other parts of the world. Of course, much of Stellantis, particularly its American arm, arrived rather late to the EV party; now that it’s got many irons in the fire, sales of battery-electric vehicles have started to plateau. It’d really help Tavares and company to slow the push, but that won’t happen overnight. In the meantime, either the car or the city of Milan might have to pack up and leave.

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