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A little less of Milano: Why Alfa Romeo changed the name of its hybrid and electric Lexus UX and Audi Q2 rival to 'Junior'

Alfa’s new small SUV has been divisive in more than just looks.

Revealed to the world last week and confirmed for Australian release in the second half of 2025, Alfa Romeo’s new ‘Milano’ baby SUV has already had its name changed after the Italian government decided the original moniker was “banned by law”.

It falls under the same protections as food and wine – think Parmigiano Reggiano and Chianti – with the government banning companies from putting ‘Italian-sounding’ names on products of foreign origin. 

This stems from the fact that the Milano – now to be known as the Alfa Romeo Junior – is assembled in Poland alongside its Jeep Avenger platform-mate at a former FSM plant owned by Stellantis since 1991.  

One could consider the name change a bit of a faux-pas on Alfa’s part, but CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato admits that the publicity the Junior’s received is no bad thing – public interest was enough to crash the Junior/Milano configurator over the weekend.

Alfa was under the impression that the name met “all legal requirements” but gave into the government’s request “in the spirit of promoting mutual understanding.”

“We are perfectly aware that this moment will remain engraved in the history of the brand. It's a great responsibility but at the same time it's an exciting moment. The choice of the name Junior is completely natural, as it is strongly linked to the history of the brand and has been among our favourites and among the public's favourites since the beginning”, said Mr Imparato. 

The first Alfa Romeo to wear a Junior badge – it was the entry-level version of Giugiaro's gorgeous 105-series coupe.

The Junior name originates from the 105 Series coupe unveiled in Balocco on 26 September 1966. The GT 1300 Junior was the entry-level trim in Alfa’s sporty coupe range with a revvy 1290cc town-cam engine at its heart that went onto become the most popular variant. 

Stefano Odorici, President of the Italian Alfa Romeo Dealers Association, said: “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”, added Odorici.

No more Milano for Alfa's baby SUV, this will soon read 'Junior'.

Alfa has a long history of using places to name its vehicles. The Alfasud was so named as it was produced in the country’s South. The latest vehicle to get a city-specific name was Alfa’s MiTo – a portmanteau of Milano and Torino – after the cities the small car was designed and manufactured, respectively.

The Junior may share its underpinnings with the Peugeot 2008 but Alfa’s Giulia GTA team have reportedly carried out the chassis tuning. It will be pitched as a more premium option to rivals such as the Audi Q2 and Lexus UX small SUVs

There will be hybrid offerings with up to 100kW as well as a pure-electric version developing 116kW with a 54kWh battery for a claimed driving range over 400km. The Junior is expected to arrive in Australia in the second half of 2025.

John Law
Deputy News Editor
Born in Sydney’s Inner West, John wasn’t treated to the usual suite of Aussie-built family cars growing up, with his parents choosing quirky (often chevroned) French motors that shaped his love of cars. The call of motoring journalism was too strong to deny and in 2019 John kickstarted his career at Chasing Cars. A move to WhichCar and Wheels magazine exposed him to a different side of the industry and the glossy pages of physical magazines. John is back on the digital side of things at CarsGuide, where he’s taken up a role as Deputy News Editor spinning yarns about the latest happenings in the automotive industry. When he isn’t working, John can be found tooling around in either his 2002 Renault Clio Sport 172 or 1983 Alfasud Gold Cloverleaf.  
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