Italy Says Its Illegal to Build Alfa Romeo’s EV Anywhere but Italy

Italy Says Its Illegal to Build Alfa Romeo’s EV Anywhere but Italy

Italy is not happy with Stellantis’ decision to produce Alfa Romeo’s first fully electric vehicle – called the Milano – abroad. In fact, Italy’s industry minister says the decision actually violates Italian law, and he’s actually not wrong.

Earlier this week, the debilitatingly Italian automaker revealed its new Milano small SUV, named after the northern Italian city of Milan, where Alfa was founded in 1910. There’s just one problem: Stellantis wants to build the Milano in its Tychy plant in Poland, according to Reuters. It would be the first Alfa Romeo to ever be entirely built outside of Italy. Again, there is a law on the books in Italy that forbids this type of thing.

Here’s more from Reuters on just why you cannot build “Italian sounding” products outside of Italy, and what the country’s Minister of Economic Development had to say about it:

“A car called Milano cannot be produced in Poland. This is forbidden by Italian law,” Adolfo Urso said in Turin, referring to 2003 legislation that targets “Italian sounding” products that falsely claim to be Italian.

“This 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,” Urso said.


Urso’s complaint is the latest in a war of words between Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s nationalist government and the Franco-Italian automaker, as the two sides hold talks on a plan to boost domestic auto production to one million units.

The law mentioned by Urso says it is illegal to present a foreign-made product as coming from Italy. Typically, it has been invoked against food products, for example U.S.-made “parmesan” cheese resembling Italy’s “parmigiano”.

When I first read about all this, I was super skeptical that this was an actual thing. Surely a country cannot ban this sort of situation, but apparently, it is very true! There’s even a Wikipedia page about it, and if it’s on Wikipedia, it has to be real!
Anyway, Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares defended the choice to produce the Milano outside of Italy and explained why it was made in the first place. The CEO told Automotive News Europe that producing the little crossover in Poland will cut about $US10,700 from its final price. That’s a good enough reason to me, to be honest. Here’s what Tavares told the outlet:

“If built in Italy, a Milano would have started from about €40,000 instead of €30,000, limiting its potential on the marketplace,” Tavares said during a roundtable discussion in Milan at the launch of the new model.

So far, the Milano is the only Alfa Romeo model set for production outside Italy. Tavares confirmed that the next-generation Stelvio midsize SUV, due in 2025, and Giulia midsize sedan, due in 2026, will continue to be built in Cassino, central Italy. Stellantis will invest more than €100 million there to install European production for its new STLA Large platform.

It’ll be interesting to see how this all shakes out. To be honest, the messy part of me really hopes this all goes crazy for Stellantis and Italy, but I like to keep things spicy.

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