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Oh the humanity! Dozens of Fiat Topolinos seized by Italian customs

Just weeks after Alfa was forced to bin the Milano, Fiat is now in trouble with authorities in Italy

Published: 22 May 2024

Won’t someone think of the Topolinos? Reports emerging from Italy say dozens of examples of the ultra-cute quadricycle have been impounded by Italian customs… because they’ve supposedly broken the same rules that forced Alfa Romeo to hastily rename the Milano SUV last month. Oops.

Apparently the authorities didn’t like the microscopic Italian Tricolore just beneath the wing mirrors because it suggests the Topolino is built in Italy, when it’s actually assembled in Morocco. That’s a big no-no under Italian law.

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However, Fiat argues the Topolino complies with the rules because it was originally designed in Turin. Remember, it’s a rehash of the Citroen Ami but with much, much more agreeable styling.

Back in April, Alfa - another Stellantis-owned brand - agreed “in the spirit of promoting mutual understanding” to drop ‘Milano’ in favour of ‘Junior’ just five days after the car was unveiled. All because a government official kicked up a fuss about it being built in Poland.

Sounds like there’s still work to be done on the whole ‘mutual understanding’ thing.

“The Customs and Monopolies Agency and the Guardia di Finanza seized some Topolino cars at the port of Livorno, which were being imported from Morocco,” said Stellantis in a statement. “This was done because it was believed that a small sticker bearing the colours of the Italian flag affixed to the doors, could constitute a false indication of the origin of the goods. The design of the new Topolino fully originated at the Fiat Style Centre in Turin, but even so Fiat has always been clear in its communication regarding country of production.

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“Therefore, Fiat believes that it has operated in full compliance with regulations, communicating the country of production of the Topolino in a fully transparent manner and without any deceptive intent towards consumers.

“To resolve any issues, it was decided to intervene on the impounded vehicles and remove the small stickers, subject to the approval of the authorities. This issue was unexpected but follows the Alfa Romeo new model name changing to Junior for similar reasons.

“Stellantis is proud of its Italian brands, which are promoted across the world with passion, together with the great 'Dolce Vita' spirit."

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