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Italian Automaker Fined for Misleading ‘Made in Italy’ Claims on Chinese Parts

 |  June 25, 2024

Italian competition regulators have levied a $6.4 million fine on DR Automobiles, a domestic car manufacturer, for allegedly marketing vehicles assembled from Chinese parts as “Made in Italy.” According to BBC News, the automaker is accused of misleading consumers who prefer to support locally produced goods, as the company primarily assembles vehicles using components from Chinese makers including Chery, BAIC, and JAC.

DR Automobiles plans to appeal the fine, arguing that it never claimed its vehicles were entirely made in Italy. The company maintains that it assembles affordable vehicles using pre-made parts.

The regulator’s findings indicate that vehicles under DR’s DR and EVO brands were marketed as Italian-made despite being largely composed of Chinese parts, with only minor assembly and finishing work conducted in Italy. This suggests that the vehicles were sold as completely built-up unit (CBU) kits rather than being genuinely manufactured in Italy.

In a statement, the regulator noted: “This practice has coincided with a period in which the company recorded marked growth in sales of DR and EVO vehicles in the Italian market.”

This incident follows a recent seizure of 134 Morocco-made Fiat Topolinos at the Italian port of Livorno due to their display of Italian-flag insignia. Parent company Stellantis stated it adhered to regulations but opted to remove the flags. Additionally, earlier this year, Stellantis was compelled to rename its Alfa Romeo Milano battery-electric vehicle to Junior after authorities highlighted that the cars were produced in Stellantis’s Polish plant.

The fine on DR Automobiles underscores the scrutiny Italian regulators are placing on the authenticity of “Made in Italy” claims, ensuring consumers are not misled about the origin of the products they purchase.

Source: BBC News