A relatively new saga involving hornets in the Pacific Northwest begins with the adjective “murder” and gets worse from there. A relatively dated saga involving hornets in the automotive industry begins with the name “Dodge” and is — or could be — much friendlier to plant and animal life. Last year, former Dodge parent company Fiat Chrysler trademarked the term “Dodge Hornet” for the first time. Two months ago, an Italian publication credited its sources with news that current parent company Stellantis will create a Dodge version of the Alfa Romeo Tonale (pictured) and call it the Hornet. Now, Mopar Insiders picked up on Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares sharing a roadmap of the 20 PHEV and battery-electric vehicles coming our way in the next two years between the company’s 14 brands. Dodge merits a single PHEV entry in the 2022 column. MI says this will be the Hornet.
As FCA recast its U.S. lineups to give Dodge more focus and give Chrysler a reason to exist, Dodge lost the Caliber, Nitro, and Journey. The way this new report is put, and as we mused a year ago, the coming Hornet will replace the Journey — a space Dodge could do well to return to. Never given much love by the parent company, the Journey turned into a hoary old thing over its 13 years on the market, but sold in remarkable numbers to the end. According to Car Sales Base, sales increased nearly every year for the first nine years of the Journey’s life. Even during the sales decline over the last four years of its production life, the Journey found 298,594 homes in the U.S. More than 12,000 zombie units have been moved off lots this year.
A Dodge Hornet likely wouldn’t offer the Wal-Mart rollback pricing the Journey was known for. Also, the Hornet would pack in just two rows, whereas the Journey offered three. Nevertheless, we’re now talking about three vehicles sharing major internal organs; the Alfa Romeo Tonale leans heavily on the Jeep Compass platform and internals, and the Dodge is expected to be built at the same Naples, Italy plant as the Alfa Romeo. The economies of scale are there. As for powertrain, we know there’s a Tonale PHEV coming, but it’s thought to get its plug-in system from the Jeep Renegade 4xe that’s based around the smaller 1.3-liter four-cylinder with either 190 or 240 total horsepower instead of the larger 2.0-liter engine in the Wrangler 4xe. We’d expect this for the Hornet, too, and for the Hornet to match the Compass 4xe’s 30 miles of all-electric driving.
Mopar Insiders says the Dodge Hornet even has a codename, either GG or 5920. We’d look for official information to come after the Tonale launches in early 2022.