“The fastest, fastest, most powerful compact utility vehicle under $30,000” – this is how Dodge described the all-new Hornet when it released official information about it earlier this month. The American company is very proud of its first new model in a decade, although other members of the Stellantis family don’t seem quite happy with the launch of the new product.
The Hornet is largely based on the Alfa Romeo Tonale and both share many body, powertrain, suspension and interior components. The crossover started primarily as an Alfa Romeo and project Drive reported the Italian manufacturer was unhappy with the fact that Dodge got almost all the work done and only had to put on a new badge and a different bumper to launch the Hornet and reduce the price of the Tonale.
“Dodge take advantage of [Tonale] to make a compliance car – their Aston Martin Cygnet moment, if you will. Suffice it to say that internal politics won the day, and Dodge needed to increase their number of CAFEs, so the Hornet was born,” a source at Stellantis told the publication “on condition of anonymity.”
Although nearly identical, the two crossovers are positioned in a different spectrum of the compact crossover segment. In general, the Hornet had to reduce the Tonale by about $10,000, which made it even more difficult for Alfa Romeo to sell its new product in the United States. Some call Alfa Romeo’s new Tonale model the most important in years because the Italian company has high hopes that it will perform better than the Giulia and Stelvio in North America.
However, with the Dodge alternative looking very similar and much cheaper, it seems that Alfa Romeo’s strategy could be problematic, therefore the company is not very happy with the situation. Dodge, in turn, received nearly 14,000 preorders in just 24 hours of the crossover’s full debut.
Reader responses in the comments section of our Dodge Hornet debut article, however, suggest that many Dodge fans are also dissatisfied with the Hornet. Sharing its platform and hardware with the Alfa Romeo Tonale, it seems that some feel the American automaker isn’t doing enough to differentiate the Hornet from its Italian sibling.