Italian Government Seizes More Than 100 Fiats for Not Being Italian Enough

fiat topolino
Fiat's Tiny New EVs Seized At Port By OfficialsFiat

Just under a year ago, Fiat surprised the European market with a beach-y city EV called the Topolino. The technically-not-a-car (it's legally considered a quadricycle, which means it has to weigh under 937 pounds and can't go over 28 mph) was well-received by enthusiasts at launch, but it seems the government of Italy is less enthused with the little electric buggy. As it turns out, the Italian state is reportedly concerned that Italian car company Fiat put an Italian flag on the door.

According to a report from Bloomberg, the issue stems from a law meant to keep words and images suggesting Italian heritage from being applied to products not built in Italy. While the Fiat Topolino is built and designed by Fiat itself, the production line is on the far side of the Mediterranean in Morocco — yet the Topolinos sold in Italy feature a small Italian flag decal, which apparently was enough to draw the ire of the Italian state. Italian newspaper La Repubblica says that 134 of the quadricycles were seized at the port of Livorno by the government.

In a statement to La Repubblica — which, for the record, is owned by the Agnelli family, who also happens to be the majority shareholder of Fiat parent company Stellantis — the brand claims that the car was designed in Turin on behalf of an Italian company. The statement also notes that Fiat had already declared that the Topolino would be built in Morocco, with no other suggestion that the cars would be built elsewhere. That was apparently not enough to appease Italian Minister of Business Adolfo Urso, who enforces the "made-in-Italy" law.


The Topolino saga is the second time that Stellantis has run afoul of the strict enforcement of the law, just over one month after the same law turned the new Alfa Romeo Milano into the new Alfa Romeo Junior less than a week after the car was revealed under the Milano name.

That problem was resolved by a quick name change, and this problem looks set for a quick resolution, too. The brand's statement adds that Fiat will remove the Italian flag decals on the sides of the car. That should bring over a hundred new doorless Fiats to Italy whenever the process of de-stickering is complete, a relief to Italians in dire need of not-a-car everywhere.

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