Fire Related Recall Issued for Dodge Hornet R/T and Alfa Romeo Tonale Veloce
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has issued a stop-drive notice for plug-in versions of the Dodge Hornet and Alfa Romeo Tonale. Vehicles are alleged to pose a fire risk due to improperly installed battery connections. Stellantis and the NHTSA have warned that this could result in a fire hazard even when the vehicle is parked.
Recommendations include not driving the plug-in hybrid version of the Hornet and Tonale and parking the vehicle outside until the necessary repairs have been conducted. We would even recommend going the extra mile and keeping your PHEV parked well away from anything else that might be flammable, too.
The vehicles in question are reliant on a 1.3-liter turbocharged inline-four supported by two electric motors capable of producing a combined 288 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. Like many, your author was pleasantly surprised by the powertrain’s peppy characteristics. But wondered about the overall reliability of such a high-strung and complicated system.
Fortunately, the above issue doesn’t appear to be the fault of poor engineering. The fire risk stems from lackluster quality control, as the 12-volt battery-positive cable nuts and/or high-voltage connectors don’t appear to have been properly tightened.
The manufacturer opened an investigation into the matter on August 23rd of 2023 and has subsequently updated the wireless screwdriver to ensure the proper torque values at the applicable connections at its Pomigliano Plant in Italy. Stellantis likewise said it has improved its manufacturing execution system to account for the parts being checked at the factory.
While there were a couple of incidents reported that kicked off the initial investigation and eventual recall, the company has said it is unaware of the manufacturing defect creating any accidents or injuries. As you might have predicted, Stellantis plans on torquing down the nuts and high-voltage connectors at no cost to the owner.
A formal recall campaign will commence next month, with owners being notified by mail on October 27, 2023. However, it would be wise to take the necessary precautions now.
Just keep in mind that this only applies to plug-in hybrid variants of the Dodge Hornet (manufactured between December 13th, 2022, and August 23rd, 2023) and the plug-in hybrid Romeo Tonale built between February 9th, 2023, and August 23rd, 2023). That only accounts for a little over 4,000 units, as the other trims are unaffected.
Customers disinclined to wait for the formal recall notice can input their vehicle identification number (VIN) into the NHTSA recall website or contact the relevant customer service hotline operated by Dodge (1-800-423-6343) or Alfa Romeo (1-844-253-2872). You may even have some success contacting the dealership. However, it looks like those recall notices and repair protocols may not have been issued yet.
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