Best seen is Stellantis, the parent company of both Dodge and Alfa Romeo. The badge engineering you embarked on with the Dodge Hornet and Alfa Romeo is fraught with peril. Just ask GM. The notorious badge engineering of the ’70s and ’80s contributed significantly to its bankruptcy in 2010. That’s one reason Alfa Romeo is so crazy about the whole thing.
Could a Dodge Hornet and Alpha Tonale exist together?
Dodge unveiled the Hornet Cross just this week. Insiders say Alpha was shocked after seeing Hornet, according to The Drive. The differences between the two models are minimal. But the price of each will not be.
It would be very difficult for Alfa, which is already struggling, to stand Tonale next to Hornet and say with a straight face that the differences are enough to justify a much higher MSRP. But Dodge needed something, anything, to restore its 1920s lineup of products.
Why does Dodge do a Hornet?
The Hornet is their first new model in 10 years. A confidential source told The Drive: “Dodge leveraged Tonale to make a compliance car – their own Aston Martin Cygnet moment if desired.” “Suffice to say that domestic politics won the day, and Dodge needed to increase the CAFE numbers, so Hornet was born.”
This is the way things work in Detroit sometimes. What appears to be something has many justifications and needs to be achieved. But other than the soft front bumper, grille, badges and interior details, they’re identical. And of course, social media calls out Stellantis about this typical GM move of the 1980s.
One of the problems was that there was no budget to make major changes. “Margins are poor on Part C, especially in the non-luxuries, so the OEM is very limited on all new sheet metal, as this is a huge investment from a tooling perspective,” the source said. For decades, Detroit manufacturers said it was nearly impossible to make money on low-priced econocars.
Why is Tonale such a big deal for Alfa?
Alfa Romeo has been developing the Tonale for years. It was Alfa’s first new model in six years, and it was heralded as its most important car in years. Alpha expected it to be a unique alpha. But not now.
You see, the Tonale’s competitors are the BMW X1, Mercedes GLA, and Lexus UX. But now, the image of a discounted Dodge Hornet undermines Alfa’s intentions and expectations. How can Alfa stand up to its straight-faced Tonale target competitor, while the Hornet is swirling in buyers’ minds?
A Dodge spokesperson says, “Customers appear to be very pleased with the Dodge Hornet, with more than 14,000 orders received in less than 24 hours after its unveiling. The Hornet features unmistakable Dodge DNA with distinctive Dodge design cues, such as the grille hatch on the front. “Mail hatch” model and width tail lamp with center-lit Dodge Romby logo.Unique performance features like the on-demand PowerShot for the Hornet R/T, which delivers an extra 25 horsepower boost.
The same spokesperson says that Hornet will be $10,000 less than the Tonale. ouch. The MSRP of the base Hornet is $29,995. As unambiguous as DNA Dodge must be, it will be interesting to see how different the two are once we can get our hands on them. But until then, it doesn’t look like this will end well for Alfa Romeo.
Related: Is Alfa Romeo in trouble with this latest change?