Dodge just pulled back the curtain on its newest vehicle, the Hornet crossover, but there are already rumblings of discontent from other brands within the Stellantis family. Dodge based much of the Hornet’s underpinnings on the Alfa Romeo Tonale, a move many within the Italian brand are unhappy with.
The Drive heard from an anonymous source within Stellantis. The source told the outlet that internal politics and Dodge’s abysmal average fuel economy figures pushed the auto conglomerate to rebadge the SUV for the American side of the house. As The Drive points out, it’s clear that Dodge left much of the vehicle’s exterior bodywork in place, opting to massage the front fascia and interior bits.
The Stellantis source said that some within the company are tired of being on the defensive, as commentators on social media and other company posts have focused on the blatant similarities between the two vehicles. Cost restraints were a primary factor in the process, as the source told The Drive that slim margins held designers back from changing too much between the two.
Understandably, some at Alfa would be disappointed about having their latest creation ripped off by others within Stellantis, but the move is undeniably good for buyers. Yes, we can bemoan yet another anonymous crossover roaming our streets. On the other hand, the Hornet’s available plug-in hybrid powertrain sounds neat, and the brand could desperately use a boost to its fuel economy averages.
Buyers don’t seem to care that the Hornet is a rebadged Alfa, either. Dodge said it had received more than 14,000 orders for the vehicle less than 24 hours after its reveal, so customers are clearly ready for a vehicle with a Dodge attitude that won’t empty their bank accounts at the gas pump.
Dodge execs also have confidence that the Hornet’s pricing will help differentiate it from the Alfa. However, it’s hard to imagine why anyone would pay much more for the same product with a different badge. The Hornet GT starts at around $30,000 and the R/T at around $40,000, which should best the Tonale’s price tag by $7,000 to $10,000.
As for how either vehicle drives, it’s anyone’s guess. We’ll have to wait to see if Dodge did enough on the mechanical front to make the Hornet feel unique. The good news is the wait won’t be long: The Alfa Romeo Tonale will land in early 2023, and the Dodge Hornet comes later this year.
[Images: Alfa Romeo/Dodge]
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