Italian Government Upset Alfa Romeo ‘Milano’ Will Be Built in Poland

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

The Italian Minister for Business has criticized Stellantis for manufacturing the Alfa Romeo Milano outside of the country, suggesting that the automaker had likely violated the law.

Assembly is slated to take place at the Tychy plant in Poland. According to Reuters, that makes it the very first Alfa Romeo model to be produced entirely outside of Italy.

While I cannot pretend to understand Italian law, the nation has a long history of interesting sports cars and has more than earned the right of being proud of its automotive heritage. However, the country also allowed Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to be sold to the French, resulting in Stellantis. As an American, I’m not exactly thrilled what the brand has in store for Dodge and Chrysler either. But those marquees have changed hands so many times that it doesn’t make much sense for me to get more than a little upset — and it certainly isn’t going to change anything.

Then again, the vehicle in question is likewise being marketed as overtly Italian. Stellantis even opted to name the vehicle after the city where Alfa Romeo was founded in 1910. That’d be like Ford or General Motors producing something called “The Detroit” and then having it built somewhere in Mexico.

"A car called Milano cannot be produced in Poland. This is forbidden by Italian law," Italian Minister for Business and Made in Italy Adolfo Urso explained to the media on Thursday, citing legislation from 2003 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," he said.

From Reuters:

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".

Stellantis has made no comment in regard to the Italian government’s criticisms. But CEO Carlos Tavares had previously stated that building the Milano in Poland would lower production costs and allow it to sell it at a lower price. Estimated to start at the U.S. equivalent of $32,000 in its cheapest format (which is honestly kind of pricey for such a small vehicle), an Italian-made version was estimated to retail closer to $42,500.

[Image: Alfa Romeo]

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Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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2 of 29 comments
  • Ilo65710513 Ilo65710513 on Apr 13, 2024

    A vehicle named Milano can indeed be built in Poland (as could a "Detroit" or a "Paris", etc). Was the Yukon built in Yellowknife, Yukon? No. Was the Malibu produced in Malibu? No. If it can be produced at a large discount in Poland given lower labour and land costs, I support it. Vehicle production today includes such a high degree of robotics, the location is irrelevant.

  • Scott Scott on Apr 14, 2024

    Shouldn't the The Italian Minister for Business be criticizing The Milano for being too ugly to be Italian?

    Better use of resources doing that....

  • Varezhka The biggest underlying issue of Mitsubishi Motors was that for most of its history the commercial vehicles division was where all the profit was being made, subsidizing the passenger vehicle division losses. Just like Isuzu.And because it was a runt of a giant conglomerate who mainly operated B2G and B2B, it never got the attention it needed to really succeed. So when Daimler came in early 2000s and took away the money making Mitsubishi-Fuso commercial division, it was screwed.Right now it's living off of its legacy user base in SE Asia, while its new parent Nissan is sucking away at its remaining engineering expertise in EV and kei cars. I'd love to see the upcoming US market Delica, so crossing fingers they will last that long.
  • ToolGuy A deep-dive of the TTAC Podcast Archives gleans some valuable insight here.
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