Italy Seizes Fiat Topolino EVs Over Use Of Tiny Italian Flag Emblem

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Italy takes authenticity very seriously. In its latest round of Italy versus the World of Misnamed Goods, the Italian government is taking on the entire automobile industry by scrutinizing everything from nameplates to flag emblems.

Its newest target is the poor Fiat Topolino. The tiny EV sports a badge of honor to represent its heritage—after all, Fiat is Italy’s largest automaker. The only problem is that the badge looks like the Italian flag and the Topolino is not made in Italy.

The tiny EV (whose name translates into “little mouse”) is made in Morocco. When these cars were transported on a container ship to Tuscany, officials spotted the small emblem that sported the same layout as Italy’s tricolor flag and temporarily seized 134 units of the Topolino, 15 of which are the open-air Dolcevita model.

Justification is found in a 2003 Italian law that prohibited companies from selling products that sport any form of branding or marketing that insinuates that the product is made in Italy when it isn’t. According to officials, the tricolor emblem is too close for comfort, making the car contraband.

“The sole purpose of the sticker was to indicate the entrepreneurial origin of the product,” confirmed a Stellantis spokesperson in a statement to local media outlet La Repubblica. They added: “In any case, to resolve any issues, it was decided to intervene on the vehicles with the removal of the small stickers, subject to authorization from the authorities.”

Fiat isn’t the only company suffering from Italy’s trade woes. Stellantis recently experienced a fight from the Italian government after Alfa Romeo decided to name a vehicle the Milano despite it being built in Poland. After a brief fight, Alfa conceded and renamed the SUV Junior, which doesn’t have that special brand ring to it. But at least the company’s CEO has a sense of humor about it.

It’s unclear if all Topolinos will no longer be equipped with the small badge or if Fiat will remove them globally. In any case, Italy is making it clear that it won’t tolerate any imitation, no matter how well-intentioned.

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