Home » Alfa Romeo Just Sent The Bitchiest Press Release Of All Time

Alfa Romeo Just Sent The Bitchiest Press Release Of All Time

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Normally, automaker press releases are pretty well-mannered things. Their whole goal is to make whatever car or car detail or company they’re written about seem wonderful and grand and desirable and impressive, and that generally means not sounding, you know, bitchy. Or pissy. Or petulant.

And yet, somehow, we’ve been blessed with a dazzling and rare example of a major automaker press release actually sounding a little bitchy! It’s fantastic! A tax day miracle! It’s from Alfa Romeo or, more specifically its parent company Stellantis, and has to do with the name of Alfa Romeo’s new compact sporty SUV, the Milano. It seems that the Milano name is now illegal to use (maybe?), so Alfa is going to call the car “Junior.” Make sense? Of course not.

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So, what the hell is going on here? I think I’ll let the Stellantis/Alfa Romeo press release explain it, so you too can revel in the pissy tone of a press release titled Alfa Romeo: Milano Name is Not Okay? Junior Then!:

“During one of the most important weeks for the future of Alfa Romeo, an Italian government official declared that the use of the name Milano – chosen by the brand for its recently unveiled new compact sports car – is banned by law.

Despite Alfa Romeo believing that the name meets all legal requirements, and that there are issues much more important than the name of a new car, Alfa Romeo has decided to change it from Milano to Junior in the spirit of promoting mutual understanding.”

Look at all that shade being thrown there, especially about how the Italian government maybe has more important things to worry about than the name of a new car! This is just the latest in a series of spats between the new Italian government and Stellantis.

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I also really appreciate how Alfa Romeo is taking the “fine, we don’t care, we’re cool changing the name, in fact it’s easy, and thanks for all the attention, government losers” angle:

“The Alfa Romeo team would like to thank the public for the positive feedback, the Italian dealer network for their support, journalists for the enormous media attention given to the new car and the Italian government for the free publicity brought on by this debate.

With a unique story and an endless list of names to choose from, the name change was not an issue. It was a pleasure to go over the list of names selected as favourites from the public’s suggestions, one of which was Junior.”

What this press release doesn’t address is why Alfa can’t use the name Milano. And the answer has more in common with champagne and cheese than it does cars, really. In much the same way that sparkling wines and muscatels are only allowed to be called “champagne” if they’re from within 100 miles of the region of France actually called Champagne, or how only certain cheeses may be called Parmigiano-Reggiano if they’re from Bologna, Reggio Emilia, Mantua, Modena, or Parma, or how extruded, ring-shape onion-flavored snacks can only be called “Funions” if they’re made within earshot of the burglar alarm at the big lumberyard in Wooster, Ohio, then only things built in Milan are allowed to be named for the city, at least according to an interpretation of the law by Italian government officials.

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The car-almost-named-Milano is to be built at Stellantis’ Tychy, Poland factory, which builds many cars for the company, including the popular and iconic Fiat 500. Ironically, the Milano was to be the only Alfa not built in Italy, with the other current Alfa Romeos – the Giulia and the Stelvio – still made in Alfa’s Cassino, Italy plant.

The Milano – sorry, the Junior – is a big deal for Alfa Romeo, as it will be their first all-electric car, though there will be a hybrid version as well. So, despite Alfa’s claim that the car’s name is not a worthy problem for the Italian government, it is definitely a big deal for Alfa. The Milano name has history for Alfa, of course, with the city’s symbol and the coat-of-arms of the Visconti family that once ruled Milan making up their logo. That’s why it has a snake eating a person, you see.

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And, of course, Alfa has had a Milano before, the celebrated boxy sports sedan from the 1980s, also known as the Alfa Romeo 75. The Milano name is certainly evocative of Italy and carries a certain gravity to it, one I’m not sure the “Junior” name will as well.

Sure, Alfa is playing it off like it’s no big deal – the press release quotes Stefano Odorici, President of the Italian Alfa Romeo Dealers Association:

Alfa Romeo is an inclusive brand, which welcomes and generates passion and positive emotions. You can clearly see it when I look into the eyes of our customers when they come to see, test, purchase and collect Alfa Romeo cars in our dealerships. For this reason, we welcome the decision taken by the company to change the name of the car from Milano to Junior in light of the latest news, which could affect the enthusiasm and the enormous attention that the new car is receiving from our customers recently. Junior, like Milano, are both beautiful names that have their roots in the history of the brand. It is no coincidence that they were immediately among the public’s favourites.”

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I mean, is Junior a “beautiful name” like Milano? To American ears? I’m not so sure. Junior certainly has history at Alfa, such as the Alfa Romeo Giulia GT 1300 Junior, a fantastic and quick little car, but will people associate “Junior” with that? There have been other cars named Junior, like the DKW Junior, and there was even a Porsche tractor named Junior.

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What’s really bonkers is that it seems that this is not the first time Alfa Romeo had to backpedal from naming a car Milano; it happened before, in 2009, as noted in the wonderful Boring Car Trivia book:

So, incredibly, Alfa has made essentially the same general mistake twice! Wow. They’re only matched by Porsche, who somehow never thought to check and see if the name “Continental” was already in use anywhere in the mid 1950s, which it definitely was, so they had to change the name of their top-spec 356s, and then Porsche made the same mistake again in 1963, when they named their new car the 901, which was a number-name already “owned” by Peugeot, who had a lock on three-digit number-names with a central zero. So, that became the 911. Don’t these companies look into any of this crap?

I’ve heard – mostly just from our captive professional car designer Adrian – that this had to be some kind of stunt, or setup. But I don’t think so. I think this is just a great example of carmakers proving that they can be as half-assed as any of us, or perhaps it’s as hopeful as any of us?

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Either way, there’s no Milano. There’s just the Junior, which I’m sure will see great success like other things named Junior have, like Junior Mints or the IBM PC Jr.

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Cyko9
Cyko9
2 months ago

I just kept waiting for the article to get around to showing the “recently unveiled new compact sports car”. As for the name Junior, they need to rebadge it in the US or nobody will take it seriously. They still sell Alfas here, right?

Richard Truett
Richard Truett
2 months ago

It’s cool that the Italian feds didn’t force Ford change the name of the Mercury Milan.

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
2 months ago

Given the bitchy press release, maybe they should have called it the Alfa Romeo Cagna…

Bqpqfb
Bqpqfb
2 months ago

Hey @torch, for me what could have been a fun article was immediately suspect by using a sexist adjective in the headline (and then repeating it in the article). I did read on, found the article and the source press release entertaining, as I have come to expect from The Autopian. But what I have also come to expect from The Autopian is a higher standard. Y’all can do better (and have, recently, in a notable example). I’m not wanting to start a flame war in the comments so take this as intended – constructive criticism.

Marlin May
Marlin May
2 months ago
Reply to  Bqpqfb

It is an open question as to whether _bitch_ is offensive or not, especially within the LGBTQIA community.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IGo6x_uzG8Y

Bqpqfb
Bqpqfb
2 months ago
Reply to  Marlin May

Indeed you are correct. But given that it is an open question, why risk offending readers? “whiny” or “cranky” would have worked.

Things and stuff
Things and stuff
2 months ago
Reply to  Bqpqfb

For fucks sakes. Get a life.

Bqpqfb
Bqpqfb
2 months ago

feelin the love – thanks

Matt Butler
Matt Butler
2 months ago

Should just reversed the name and called it the Onalim

Manwich Sandwich
Manwich Sandwich
2 months ago
Reply to  Matt Butler

Or maybe the Meelano…

Ben Chia
Ben Chia
2 months ago

I love the damn sass they put into it. We need more of that attitude around!

Spikersaurusrex
Spikersaurusrex
2 months ago

Since it’s made in Poland, they should call it the Polka and include an accordion with every purchase.

Timbales
Timbales
2 months ago

is Alyssa safe?

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