By on November 30, 2009

Spyshot, pre name-change (courtesy:topspeed.com)

Alfa Romeo was founded in Milan some 99 years ago, but as a division of Fiat, it’s pulling up its roots to relocate its remaining 232 Milan-based employees (out of 20,000 employed there twenty years ago) to the mothership’s hometown of Turin. CEO Sergio Marchionne explained that the move is strictly business, saving the company costs by consolidating operations, but the move has one minor rub: Alfa had planned to revive the “Milano” nomenclature for its 147 successor. Obviously this proud reference to a local heritage that no longer exists caused a few problems with employees, prompting Fiat to hastily announce a last-minute name change. Rather than Milano, the name Giulietta will be used for the new hatchback. But the last minute irony-avoidance maneuver pushed back the launch of the new Alfa, which was supposed to debut with official images today. As Automotive News [sub] reports, “the decision left some monthly magazines scrambling as they had already received pictures of the car, which was badged the Milano.” Whoops! Time to re-order those decklid badges… unless the decision to go with Giulietta was inspired by the discovery of boxes of unused badging. Fiat made another such last-minute name change in 2003, when the ill-advised name “Gingo” was dropped in favor of “Panda” because its was deemed too similar to Renault’s Twingo.

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