Italian Gov Fines Car Company $6.4M for Misleading Branding
Italian Gov Fines Car Company $6.4M for Misleading Branding

The Italian government has fined DR Automobiles $6.4 million (£5 million) for allegedly misbranding vehicles made in China as being produced in Italy. According to Italy's competition regulator, the company misled consumers by marketing cars under the DR and EVO brands as Italian-made, despite most of the production occurring in China.

DR Automobiles, based in southern Italy, assembles budget vehicles using components from Chinese car manufacturers Chery, BAIC, and JAC. The company plans to appeal the fine, asserting that it never claimed its vehicles were entirely made in Italy. The regulator, however, pointed out that only minor assembly and finishing work were done in Italy.

"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," the regulator noted.

This action is part of a broader effort by Italy and the European Union to crack down on vehicles produced outside the trading bloc. Last month, authorities seized several Morocco-made Fiat Topolinos at the Italian port of Livorno because they displayed Italian flag insignia. Fiat's parent company, Stellantis, has since removed the flags.

Additionally, in April, Stellantis' Alfa Romeo brand renamed its new Poland-made Milano model to Junior following pressure from authorities.

Recently, the EU threatened to impose import taxes of up to 38% on Chinese electric vehicles, citing them as a threat to the region's motor industry. This would be on top of the existing 10% rate on all Chinese electric car imports to the EU. China has criticized these potential tariffs, calling them a violation of international trade rules and describing the investigation as "protectionism."

The US also raised its tariff on Chinese electric cars from 25% to 100% last month.

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