By on April 27, 2022

Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis has effectively indicated that the brand will be rebadging Alfa Romeo Tonale to better tackle the subcompact crossover segment. Called the Hornet, the vehicle harkens back to the miniature MPV (pictured) that debuted back in 2006 of the same name. At the time, the plan was for Dodge to release the model in Europe in 2010. However, the financial crisis forced Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to restructure, with the boxy hornet Hornet being one of several casualties.

The concept has since been revised, with Kuniskis confirming the vehicle’s summer debut with The Detroit News. While the CEO said the company would like to introduce the model in August between the Dodge-sponsored Roadkill Nights and Michigan’s annual Woodward Dream Cruise, he noted that supply chain disruptions could force a revised timeline. 

“This gray hair that I’m getting? It’s not COVID, it’s not lockdowns, it’s supply chain, man,” Kuniskis said during a virtual news conference. “But every single thing we’re doing is like in Jell-O right now, because it’s so hard to plan anything.”

At this point, it’s getting hard to drum up sympathy for the industry. People are paying out the nose for vehicles because of the automotive sector’s collective inability to manufacture at scale. Granted, not every setback can be pinned on the manufacturer. But we’re over two years deep into constant disruptions, relentless product delays, and dealerships robbing people blind with very few tangible solutions being offered.

Though even if Dodge continues having problems, you may still be able to nab something closely related to the Hornet. Alfa Romeo has already revealed the Tonale and it looks as though Stellantis plans on using it as the template for the similarly small Dodge.

From The Detroit News:

He declined to confirm where the vehicle will be built, but it’s set to be assembled alongside the Alfa Romeo Tonale at Stellantis’ plant in Pomigliano, Italy, according to AutoForecast Solutions LLC. In February, Alfa revealed the four-door Tonale, its first subcompact SUV that launches in June with deliveries to the United States expected to arrive before the end of the year. It comes standard with a gas-powered 2.0-liter turbo-4 engine, but also is available as a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) with 272 horsepower from twin electric motors mated to a 1.3-liter turbocharged engine.

Previously, the Hornet was a concept, two-door small SUV that Dodge revealed in 2006 at the Geneva Motor Show. The brand at the time said it combined American attitude with European function. Dodge trademarked the name for passenger vehicles in March 2020.

The upcoming Hornet is also said to come with a PHEV option, which Kuniskis suggested could launch in 2023. Expect it to be more-or-less identical to Alfa’s crossover with fewer creature comforts and a slightly lower price tag.

“The Dodge brand needs something,” said Sam Fiorani, vice president of global forecasting for AutoForecast Solutions. “They can’t survive the brand on muscle cars. Making a fun-to-drive compact crossover fits into the Dodge brand.”

“You kind of have to move up a price class to get to the real fun-to-drive ones,” he continued. “If it’s under $30,000, it’s usually packaged and sold as transportation, lifestyle vehicles with price being key and fun-to-drive being secondary. It could potentially break open a market for Dodge, especially if they can keep the price low enough.”

Dodge is also supposed to be launching an all-electric performance car the company has cringingly dubbed “eMuscle” in 2024 with its planned debut preceding the Hornet introduction. Mr. Kuniskis suggested this could also be delayed, however. Apparently, the manufacturer is waiting on an important piece he said was “outside of my control, it’s outside our industry, quite frankly” before the car should be shown.

“I’m pushing to get it in the public view and show you what we’re doing and how we’re doing it different as fast as I can,” he said. “Because it drives me crazy that other people are way out in front of their headlights, and I’m not.”

Kuniskis also issued an ominous warning to dealerships and the aftermarket community after musing about electrification and evolving business models.

“There’s a change going on in the industry that’s going to affect our retail partners, our dealers, our partners in this business, and when we go to full electrification across the industry, they’re going to lose a revenue stream that they have today,” he elaborated. “They’re going to see a decrease in revenue and parts and service and maintenance. That’s just a fact.”

The Detroit News also made mention of the stage kits from the Direct Connection performance parts program Dodge had relaunched to sell certified, factory warranty-backed modifications to boost the power on Dodge vehicles when installed by a dealership. Guess what? They’re delayed, too. Though this was a combination of the absent semiconductors and approval by the California Air Resources Board so they can be sold in all 50 states.

[Image: Dodge]

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21 Comments on “Dodge Hornet to Debut This Summer, Maybe...”

  • avatar

    Is the picture the actual car? It looks sort of like a Jeep Patriot with the front-end of a Caliber.

  • avatar

    Other than Tesla, I think Dodge has raised their prices more than any manufacturer over the past 2 years. Factor in the loss of incentives and OTD prices may have gone up even more than Tesla.

    “They’re going to see a decrease in revenue and parts and service and maintenance. That’s just a fact”

    I’m still not convinced this is going to be the seismic shift some people expect. On my Kia the servicing has been about Brie brake pads and paint. On the Charger it was nearly everything *except* the engine and transmission. Going electric isn’t going to make fit-and-finish, HVAC, infotainment, or suspension issues disappear. And even then it isn’t like battery and drive motor issues never happen. I’m sure dealers will figure out some new wallet flush service to scare old ladies into buying.

    • 0 avatar

      The seismic shift crowd seems to be the same one that thinks EVs are the first step in sapping and impurifying all our bodily fluids. Only exposing your nads to red UV rays 10 hours a day will stave off the inevitable de-manly stuff.

      I don’t buy that the shift will be all that seismic either. Car dealers are car dealers. They’re greedy f**ks and will figure out how to game this. Maybe they’ll start selling Battery Tru-Kote.

  • avatar
    kjhkjlhkjhkljh kljhjkhjklhkjh

    I was thinking a Dodge Nitro got it in with a Mini ..

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “There’s a change going on in the industry that’s going to affect our retail partners, our dealers, our partners in this business, and when we go to full electrification across the industry, they’re going to lose a revenue stream that they have today,” he elaborated. “They’re going to see a decrease in revenue and parts and service and maintenance. That’s just a fact.”

    There’s a turd in the punch bowl at the Dodge holiday party.

  • avatar

    I assumed the Nitro was sterile, but I guess this proves it wasn’t

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Dodge is borrowing the Hornet name from the AMC and Hudson. Next will be a Dodge Pacer and Dodge Gremlin.

    • 0 avatar

      Does anyone remember the cute roadster concept named Hornet for the early 2000s?

      Instead we get (yawn) another CUV. One with serious questions about reliability, to boot.

  • avatar

    Wasn’t Tonale an Alfa version of Jeep Compass?
    Why do this when there is already a Jeep in the same showroom? Chrysler/Dodge/Ram/Jeep is already operating like a single brand, so no need to confuse the message. I’m already getting a Dodge Caliber flashback.

    Is Stellantis looking at closing the Alfa brand in US and rebadging them as a Dodge?

  • avatar

    It’ll be fine as soon as they Hellcat it.

  • avatar

    At this point, Dodge should be glad it potentially has something to sell.

    But I’ll echo what’s being said above – Dodge needs to Hellcat anything it brings out, no matter how anodyne the basic vehicle is.

  • avatar

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    What a wretched looking little chitbox

  • avatar

    Is this a smaller Journey replacement?

  • avatar
    Michael S6

    Good job Dodge, making a small fuel efficient car is against your Mantra. Any plans for a Hellcat version ?

  • avatar
    Polka King

    Apparently they are envious of the success of the beautiful Pontiac Aztec.

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