From Milano to Junior: Alfa Romeo was afraid of losing 50 % customers

The name change for the new SUV fromAlfa Romeofrom Milano to Junior, was a real soap opera. Jean Philippe Imparato, the brand's CEO, reveals the background to a decision taken under political and economic pressure.

When Alfa Romeo's new compact SUV was unveiled on April 10, a major surprise awaited enthusiasts of the marque au Biscione. Initially christened "Milano", in homage to the brand's home town, the vehicle's name was quickly changed to "Junior".. There were very specific reasons for this unexpected change, as Jean Philippe Imparato explains.


Indeed, the name "Milano" has raised controversy, not least because the vehicle is produced in Poland, not Italy. The controversy reached such a pitch that political figures, including the Minister Adolfo Urso, intervened, suggesting that the name could even be considered illegal because of the potential confusion it could create among consumers. Imparato, who has three decades' experience in the automotive industry, quickly gauged the risks: "Entering into conflict with the political world means automatically losing 50% of our clientele".he confided in an interview with Sky.

The decision to change our name was not an easy one, but it was a necessity for us to be able to offer our customers the best possible service. preserve the brand's image and avoid erosion of its customer base. Imparato points out that, although he didn't think the name "Milano" broke the law, he chose to replace it in order to to put an end to any controversy. "We had planned at least 50 alternative names for this model, and in the end, the name question isn't all that crucial," he asserts.


The CEO is counting on a lull in spirits and believes that the controversy will probably be forgotten within a week. However, he categorically rules out the possibility of repatriating production to Italy, as none of the Italian production sites is currently capable of manufacturing vehicles on the CMP platform.

Alfa Romeo plans to launch several new models in the coming years, including new versions of the the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio, which will be produced in Cassino, Italy, on the STLA Large platform. Imparato thus remains true to his vision of strengthening Alfa Romeo's industrial presence in Italy, while skilfully navigating through today's political and economic challenges.


To go further, we have already mentioned the subject of why the Milano/Junior is affected and not the Fiat 500 and 600.


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  1. Unfortunately, Alfa Romeo has been dead for some time now! Borrowed chassis, various engines... Too bad! In the hope that it will retain the brand's own design.
    Enjoy your evening.

    • The Audi brand is not dead, yet they also have VW Skoda Seat ..... chassis.
      It's always the same refrains, you need to the way, Rolls uses BMW chassis and BENTLEY uses VW chassis.

      • Except that the VW and BMW groups offer something else in terms of platforms and engines than soapbox CMP bases with PureToc hedge trimmer engines.

        Perhaps that's the big difference...

      • Chassis shared between several brands - other car groups do it too. There was a time when Alfisti complained about the elements borrowed from Fiat, to the point of calling Alfa Romeo AlFiat, and that was a bit ridiculous. But the problem is PureTech engines in an Alfa Romeo. Alfa Romeo is also a great engine builder, so an unreliable engine in an Alfa Romeo is quite a step backwards.

      • What you say about Rolls-Royce and Bentley applied to the older generations.
        The Ghost (previous generation), Wraith and Dawn used the platform and 6.6-liter V12 engine of the former BMW M760Li.
        The 8th-generation Phantom launched in 2018 inaugurated a new Rolls-Royce 100% platform with a bespoke 6.75-liter V12 engine.
        This base is also used for the Cullinan, the new Ghost and the Spectre electric coupe.
        As far as Bentley is concerned, the first Continental GTs were built on Volkswagen Phaeton MLB steel chassis (the Audi A8 uses an aluminium construction).
        But the current Continental and Flying Spur models are based on Porsche Panamera MSBs, which offers more optimal engine positioning than the MLBs.
        And future electric Bentleys will be such an advanced, modular SSP base that each brand will be able to tailor the development of its own models.
        That's the strength of German groups: they know when to cut corners and when to invest in customized solutions.

  2. Unfortunately, Alfa Romeo has been dead for some time now. Borrowed chassis, various engines etc... Too bad!
    Having been an Alfist for over forty years, I'm disappointed with the policies of the current leadership.
    Enjoy your evening.

  3. In Asia, when you take a disgraceful beating, you apologize, resign for the sake of honor and out of respect for those offended, in locurence the Alfisti, customers and employees of Alfa Romeo. Despite the shame and disgrace, and after having made us swallow the pill of a rebadged Peugeot, the Stellantis management explains to us even more shamefully why they failed in the attribution of a grotesque name, but also that producing in Italy is not possible, just to offend my country and these workers even more. I'm ashamed for them and I mourn this brand, so badly run, with no respect for its glorious but now so distant past.

    • I have an Alfa spider 916 2.0 and I will keep it for a long time. Fratelli d' Italia don't let it happen to you!

    • Shame and dishonor?
      Keep crying over the past.
      This brand is looking for customers other than the offended "Alfists", who have been criticizing every initiative for a long time without ever buying anything.

      • There are also alfists who buy Alfa Romeos. I currently have 3.
        After all, I understand the need to broaden the customer base, and that pure Alfa enthusiasts are no longer enough to sell enough Alfa Romeos.

  4. "The decision to change the name was not an easy one, but it became a necessity to preserve the brand's image and avoid an erosion of its customer base."

    Does he take us for asses? He knows as well as anyone that to preserve the brand's image and avoid losing customers, this SUV (the third in a range of four vehicles) shouldn't have been built OUTSIDE Italy, on a PSA platform, with a 3-cylinder PURETOC, the general allure of a cougar at Macumba (special mention to the worst grille in car production) and a cheap interior (special mention to the rectangular mini-screen at the back of the cannocchiale) in real plastic that would make a Clio 4 pale.

    "The CEO is banking on a lull in spirits and reckons the controversy will probably be forgotten within a week."

    Ah yes, indeed, he really does take us for asses.

    PS: it's an expression, I have nothing against donkeys.

  5. The chassis doesn't matter, it's a platform in fact, they can make the body they want afterwards but using the puretoc, it's incomprehensible and the name of the car won't change much, they're aiming at a new clientele, that's all.

    • But I'm not just talking about the bodywork: the PSA underpinnings prevent any real Q4 transmission, for example. Even truer for rear-wheel drive: impossible. Longitudinal engine: impossible...

  6. Fed up with these "Alfists" who criticize everything but buy nothing.
    The latest 100% AR platform is the Giorgio, which will be replaced by the STLA Large multi-energy platform.
    Nothing says that it will be inferior in terms of performance and handling.
    I find the AR proposal for the B-SUV segment based on E-CMP more than interesting and relevant.

    • Well, maybe it's also up to the brand to offer something to replace their old vehicles, isn't it? We've gone from the MiTo/Giulietta to the Giulia/Stelvio, already not the same budget, and nothing to seriously replace the city car and the compact. Without renewal, how can you keep customers? Would you sell a Stelvio to someone who wants to replace his MiTo?

      • Alfa Romeo and Imparato have stated that the Junior is intended to appeal to those who have a MiTo or Giulietta. Having had a MiTo and still having a Giulietta, I find it a little hard to want to replace it with the Junior with the engines on offer, and I'm not a fan of SUVs, although I'm waiting for the tests.

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