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FCA files for trademark of Dodge Hornet name

by Patrick Rall on

Back in 2006, Dodge introduced the Hornet, a small, 5-door crossover concept that was intended to help the brand grow in Europe. The concept was powered by a supercharged 1.6-liter engine that was developed jointly with BMW in Brazil, offering 170 horsepower, which would have made this small crossover fairly peppy. The concept was received so well that the company began moving forward with the program, working with Nissan to use the chassis from the Versa. That was intended to be the first joint venture between Nissan and Chrysler, followed by a Chrysler-built version of the Nissan Titan.

The goal was to put that car on the road by 2010, but when the American economy fell apart in 2009 and Chrysler was sold to Fiat as part of their bankruptcy proceedings, all of the work with Nissan was scrapped. As a result, the Dodge Hornet program was shelved. Although there were signs that FCA was working on the Hornet once again in 2010 and 2011, the small vehicle being developed during that time turned out to be the now-gone Dodge Dart sedan.

In any case, it seemed like the sporty little crossover that we knew and loved as the Dodge Hornet was gone forever, but according to the folks at Motor Trend, that name may soon reenter the FCA lineup. Motor Trend found that on March 3rd, FCA filed for a trademark of “Dodge Hornet” and “Hornet” for “land vehicles, namely, passenger vehicles”, which is the designation given to all trademark-protected automobile names.

Of course, FCA won’t comment on future plans so we really don’t know for sure what plans the company has for the Dodge Hornet name. With the booming popularity of small SUVs/crossovers, it would make sense for Dodge the fatten-up their lineup that right now, only consists of the Challenger, the Charger, the Durango and the Journey. With the PSA merger, FCA now has more access to successful small-car platforms that could be used to bring the 2006 Hornet Concept into the modern era.

Should that be the case and Dodge is working with PSA to develop a small crossover called the Hornet, we can expect that it will vary greatly from the concept. The exterior styling is now 14 years old, so we can expect that it will look very different from the concept, even if it is the same type of vehicle. It obviously won’t have a BMW engine, as both FCA and PSA have access to their own, strong 4-cylinder power plants.

Ideally, a Dodge Hornet built on the current Peugeot 208 or 308 platform could rival similar vehicles already on sale in the United States, such as the Kia Soul. Using one of those platforms would mean that it was front-wheel-drive, but with a little SRT magic, a small, turbocharged Dodge crossover could be a fun, popular vehicle in the U.S. market.

For now, we can only speculate and wait to see what, if anything, FCA has planned for the Dodge Hornet name.

Patrick Rall was raised a Mopar boy, spending years racing a Dodge Mirada while working his way through college. After spending a few years post-college in the tax accounting field, Patrick made the jump to the world of journalism and his work has been published in magazines and websites around the world.


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