The Dodge Hornet has so far proven to be popular, even though it has yet to be released. Dodge says it received some 14,000 preorders for the thing the first day it was shown. While Dodge may be happy about the consumer response to the Hornet, not everyone is applauding the newest Dodge crossover. The Drive reports that internally, Alfa Romeo isn’t too happy that Dodge got a version of a crossover that was only supposed to be for the Italian brand.
Sources inside Stellantis spoke to The Drive on the condition of anonymity. According to the source, Dodge has shitty Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) numbers. No one should be surprised, since the brand sells a ton of Scat Pack and Hellcat models. The Powers That Be wanted those CAFE numbers to rise. But apparently Dodge didn’t have anything small and fuel-efficient in its pipeline. Anything it designed, anyway.
Meanwhile, Alfa Romeo had been working on its next small crossover, the Tonale. A brief internal struggle ensued, and Dodge eventually got its Hornet.
“Dodge took advantage of the [Tonale] to make a compliance car — their Aston Martin Cygnet moment, if you will. Suffice it to say internal politics won the day, and Dodge needed to up their CAFE numbers, so Hornet was born,” the source told The Drive.
The problem with the Tonale and Hornet is pretty obvious. They’re so similar that it’s almost like it was a badge-engineered rush job. Aside from the mildly different front facias, everything else is damn near the same. Especially their interiors. Heres the Tonale:
And the Hornet:
Whats worse is that Stellantis know this. The source says that there wasn’t enough money to differentiate the Hornet from the Tonale.
“Margins are thin in the C-segment, particularly in non-lux, so an OEM is pretty limited on all new sheet metal as that’s a major investment from a tooling perspective,” they told The Drive.
One can understand why people over at Alfa may be mad. The brand needed the Tonale more than Dodge needed the Hornet. Its U.S. comeback hasn’t exactly gone as planned. And while both Alfa and Dodge have rather light lineups that are in need of product, Dodge needed something that was uniquely Dodge. Customers do seem interested in this new small crossover, but a rushed badge job on a crossover that wasn’t originally intended for them because they learned their gas mileage lesson too late isn’t that great.