Fire Related Recall Issued for Dodge Hornet R/T and Alfa Romeo Tonale Veloce

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

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.

[Image: Stellantis]

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Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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3 of 22 comments
  • Oberkanone Oberkanone on Sep 18, 2023

    $50,115 MSRP is what I recall from our visit to local friendly RAM-Jeep-Chrysler-Dodge dealer this past weekend and drive of 24 R/T Plus Hornet. It was a pleasant drive. Wife graded vehicle as B-.

    I suspect we will purchase a hybrid CRV Sport at about $35K.

  • Tassos Tassos on Sep 18, 2023

    A POS Alfa or Dodge with reliability problems?

    Unheard of!

    • Bams Bams on Oct 24, 2023

      Yes i have one in my garage for sale

  • VoGhost Key phrase: "The EV market has grown." Yup, EV sales are up yet again, contrary to what nearly every article on the topic has been claiming. It's almost as if the press gets 30% of ad revenues from oil companies and legacy ICE OEMs.
  • Leonard Ostrander Daniel J, you are making the assertion. It's up to you to produce the evidence.
  • VoGhost I remember all those years when the brilliant TTAC commenters told me over and over how easy it was for legacy automakers to switch to making EVs, and that Tesla was due to be crushed by them in just a few months.
  • D "smaller vehicles" - sorry, that's way too much common sense! Americans won't go along because clever marketing convinced us our egos need big@ss trucks, which give auto manufacturers the profit margin they want, and everybody feels vulnerable now unless they too have a huge vehicle. Lower speed limits could help, but no politician wants to push that losing policy. We'll just go on building more lanes and driving faster and faster behind our vehicle's tinted privacy glass. Visions of Slim Pickens riding a big black jacked up truck out of a B-52.
  • NotMyCircusNotMyMonkeys dudes off the rails on drugs and full of hate and retribution. so is musky.