Italian Flag Too Italian? Seized Cars Cause Confusion

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New Fiat 500 electric cars are displayed at a Fiat Chrysler event held to unveil its first electric model, in Milan, Italy, March 4, 2020. REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo

Italy is cracking down on anything that might mislead people about where products are made. This time, they’ve set their sights on a surprising target: tiny electric Fiat cars called Topolinos.

These little EVs have a badge that looks like the Italian flag. The problem? They’re not actually made in Italy, but in Morocco. That little flag badge was enough for Italian officials to seize 134 Topolinos!

Zero emission electric minicar - Microcar | X-RAAM
An Italian Electric Car

Italy has a law from 2003 that says companies can’t trick people into thinking their products are Italian if they’re not. The Italian government thinks the flag badge is too close to the real flag, so they say it’s illegal.

Fiat says the badge was just meant to show where the idea for the car came from (Fiat is an Italian company, after all). They’re fine with taking the badges off to keep the cars from being stuck in Italy.

This isn’t the first time Italy has gotten strict about car names. They recently made Alfa Romeo change the name of a new car because it was named after an Italian city (Milan) but built in Poland. It’s not clear if all Topolinos will lose their little flag badges everywhere, but Italy is definitely serious about protecting its “Made in Italy” label.

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