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Alfa Romeo Is Not Pleased With Dodge's Hornet

The Hornet crossover may be great news for Dodge fans, being the company's first all-new vehicle in over ten years, but the same can't be said for the people at Alfa Romeo. It's impossible not to notice the similarities between the Hornet and Alfa's Tonale, as the crossover twins share nearly all of their components. An anonymous source within Stellantis spoke to The Drive, expressing the company's frustration over the Tonale's far cheaper sibling.

Before Dodge came into the scene, the Tonale was Alfa's entry into the booming compact crossover segment, in an attempt to raise the brand's sales numbers significantly. It began solely as an Alfa Romeo project when the concept version was shown in 2019, but Dodge later jumped in, viewing the Italian crossover as a way to bump up its average fuel economy ratings.

"Dodge took advantage of the [Tonale] to make a compliance car—their Aston Martin Cygnet moment, if you will," said the unnamed source. "Suffice it to say internal politics won the day, and Dodge needed to up their CAFE numbers, so Hornet was born."

One aspect of the Hornet that stings Alfa the most is the major styling similarities between the two vehicles, especially when most badge-engineered cars don't have to be identical. Unfortunately, budgets were too low to support all-new sheetmetal for the Dodge version, according to the source. “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 said.

Alfa is already on shaky ground when it comes to the US market. Since its re-entry in 2016, things haven't been going as smoothly as the automaker had hoped. Understandably so, the company isn't pleased with this downmarket Dodge breaking its image as a luxury brand. The Hornet seems to offer almost as much as the Alfa does, but for over $10,000 cheaper.

On the bright side, there is still a chance that customers might see the Alfa as an upgrade from the Hornet, rather than a Dodge-based attempt at the luxury market. Also, consumer reaction for the Hornet has been very pleasant. "Customers seem to be very happy with the Dodge Hornet, with more than 14,000 orders received in less than 24 hours after its reveal," a spokesperson told the publication. Hopefully, the Tonale will receive the same level of success.

Do you think the Hornet will make or break the Tonale's premium image?

Source: The Drive

Images: Alfa Romeo, Dodge


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