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Fiat dynasty snubs Giorgia Meloni by building flagship car outside Italy for first time

Alfa Romeo
Decision to build new vehicle in Poland marks the first time an Alfa Romeo has been entirely assembled outside of Italy

The owner of Fiat has become embroiled in a fresh row with the Italian government after announcing plans to build Alfa Romeo cars outside the country for the first time.

Stellantis’ decision to build the new Alfa Romeo Milano in Tychy, Poland, earned a sharp rebuke from Italy’s industry minister Adolfo Urso.

Mr Urso said on Thursday: “A car called Milano cannot be produced in Poland. This is forbidden by Italian law,” referencing a 2003 law that prevents the sale of “Italian sounding” products that are not made in the country.

The minister continued: “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.”

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The decision to build the new vehicle in Poland marks the first time an Alfa Romeo has been entirely assembled outside of the country since the brand was founded in 1910 in Milan.

The row over the car’s assembly marks the latest spat between Stellantis, which also owns brands including Peugeot and Vauxhall alongside Fiat and Alfa Romeo, and the government of Giorgia Meloni.

Giorgia Meloni
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni has previously criticised Stellantis for not supporting her country - Remo Casilli

Ms Meloni, the Italian Prime Minister, has previously criticised the company for not supporting her country, saying: “If you want to sell a car [by] advertising it as an Italian jewel, that car must be made in Italy.”

Two other models, the Fiat 600 and Jeep Avenger, will also be manufactured in Poland alongside the Milano, Stellantis has announced.

Chief executive Carlos Tavares defended the decision on Wednesday prior to Mr Urso’s criticism, saying building the car in Italy would have made it more expensive.

He told Automotive News Europe: “If built in Italy, a Milano would have started from about €40,000 instead of €30,000, limiting its potential on the marketplace.”

Mr Tavares also revealed that acquirers had recently approached Stellantis about buying the Alfa Romeo brand.

He also said Chinese carmakers had sought to buy one of the group’s French brands – Citroen, DS and Peugeot – but the approach was rejected.

Stellantis is the world’s largest car company, boasting 14 brands. It was created in 2021 from the merger of Italy’s Fiat Chrysler and France’s Peugeot Group.

Despite its European roots, the group’s shares are listed on the New York stock market.

Stellantis was contacted for comment.