Italian police seize 134 Fiat cars in flag dispute

  • World
  • Sunday, 19 May 2024

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian fiscal police seized more than 130 Fiat cars imported from Morocco this week on the grounds that a sticker with the colours of the Italian flag on their doors could give a false indication of their origin, a spokesman for Stellantis Italia said on Saturday.

The spokesman confirmed a local media report that 134 Topolino mini-cars produced by Stellantis brand Fiat had been seized temporarily at the Italian port of Livorno on arrival from the north African country, where they were made.

"The sole purpose of the sticker was to indicate the entrepreneurial origin of the product," the spokesman said, adding the group believed it had operated in full compliance with the rules.

He said the design of the new Topolino - a historic model for Fiat since 1936 - was conceived and developed in Italy by a team at Centro Stile FIAT, part of Stellantis Europe, which is an Italian company.

The decision to produce the new Topolino in Morocco had been clear since the new model was announced.

"In any case, to resolve any issues, it was decided to intervene on the vehicles with the removal of the small stickers, subject to the green light by the authorities," the spokesman said.

Italy's right-wing government and Stellantis have been at odds over the group's production choices for months, with Rome saying cars marketed as Italian products should be produced domestically.

Last month, Stellantis brand Alfa Romeo said it would change the name of its new "Milano" to "Junior" to end a row with the government, which criticised the choice of an Italian name for a vehicle made in Poland.

(Reporting by Francesca Landini; editing by Giles Elgood)

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