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TFL''s first look at the Hornet R/T

9753 Views 118 Replies 34 Participants Last post by  movaldes
They had to be careful about not giving any actual "driving" impressions yet. And I find it interesting that this "fully optioned" one had non ventilated Alcantara seats indtead of ventilated leather seats...and that it had a sunroof delete. I'm still interested but I also wonder just how fast the cash is going to pile up on the hood, maybe I should wait.

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The Video has been deleted but The Alcantara Seats are a option and Vented/Heated Seats are Standard on GT Plus, plus this is a First Drive meaning it could be Pre Production.
Link was deformed somehow, fixed it
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Tonight I saw a new spot for the Hornet 2 or 3 times. It's similar to the last 30 seconds of this online video, maybe minus the news anchors.
Good, that's the only decent part of the commercial anyway. You can tell Dodge is used to marketing muscle and aren't sure what to do with a corner carver just yet.
To me, that's actually a GOOD thing.
See?...It's all a matter of perception.

Besides...Isn't the ICE set-up going to be eventually dropped anyway, and be replaced by a fully BEV version?
I like Mazda myself, so I don't mind either. I do see the push back mostly from the "classic muscle" crowd as it is a departure from that. But I truly believe Dodge can't survive on muscle alone and needs to expand into other types of performance.
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The problem is Dodge decided some time back to abandon anything other than the tire smoking market and purposefully forfeit several markets.
Hornet makes sense as a bit more performance oriented Journey replacement. Hornet doesn’t really make sense as a “brotherhood of muscle” member.
I guess they’ve now seen the light and Dodge is trying to venture back into markets it said it didn’t want to participate in a few years back.
Yeah, this process can be troublesome. Remember when Cadillac "fired" it's owners, or tried to, and reinvented itself? And the Caddy dealers were in such a rush to tack on cloth tops, Landau bars, and other such things to the new, more modern Caddies to try to keep the old (and dying, frankly) customers? I can maybe see something similar happening here, though I tend to think of it as more expansion than reinvention with Dodge. Unless you're hung up on the V8s going away in favor of turbo I6 and electric motors anyway. But Tesla already proved electricity can also mean performance, no matter what the EPA and Toyota say.
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I agree, Dodge needs more mainstream vehicles to survive, but how about adding to the current HEMI-powered cars instead of completely killing them?! Us Hemi enthusiasts have little to NO interest in a straight 6 or hopped up EV, even if they may have more power and/or torque. Long live the HEMI!
Well, in the part of the V8 Hemis, their hand is being forced by the various environmental governmental boards. They've been buying credits from Tesla for years now, which just increases costs even further, and the screws keep tightening from the government too. I credit them with trying to maintain some element of muscle car product with things like the Banshee (electric motors have HELLA torque) and turbo I6 engines (hey it was good enough for BMW for years, right?). They're doing what they can within the constraints they have to work in. Somehow I don't see the straight-line muscle going away, just evolving. As you (among others) demonstrate, there's still demand for it.
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There would be nothing wrong with non-performance Dodge vehicles. They sell them already. It is called the Pentastar Charger/Challenger.

Hornet does not have the equivalent. They are all performance.

A fully loaded Hornet with just the 1.5T below $30k would be a big winner.
Considering even the Europeans are complaining about that powertrain I don't think it would fly in the US. I think at minimum it would need to be the de-tuned 2.0T that the Compass uses. WHich would compete with...wait for it...the Compass. ;) Frankly, CJDR trying not to compete with themselves is smart.
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And yet, both of their main U.S. competitors are basking in the glory and sales of V8 engines for years to come, with all new engines debuting this year from Ford and next year from GM.
Both of their main U.S. competitors have gas-sipping econoboxes and/or hybrids to balance out the CAFE hit from the V8 engines. Stellantis doesn't, not in the US (the best they have is the Renegade...which isn't that great).
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See, this is the problem. None of the brands are volunteering to be the "volume" brand, and the fans of a particular brand tend to want some other brand to be the volume brand so their favorite can be the higher end one (sort of like the brand chiefs, to be honest). FCA doesn't HAVE a volume brand right now. At all. The de-facto highest selling brand seems to be Jeep, but even though it's "the" volume brand right now, it's not "a" volume brand. Especially with them dropping 2WD models, it's going back to the rough-road brand. As @eastcoaster mentioned, FIAT or Plymouth would be good as a mainstream volume brand..but FIAT is going to become a boutique electric brand in the US, and Plymouth is as dead as the rock it's named for. Reintroducing Peugeot or Citroen would take too long and cost too much. I honestly think Chrysler is the best "mainstream" candidate, based on the fact that their sole product is a minivan now that the 300 is going away. They really don't have an identity right now, and a relatively blank slate is just easier to work with.

Now I do NOT think a "Chrysler Hornet" is in the cards. Unfortunate, but I don't think they can get the price down far enough if they're still building them in Italy, they'd have to set up production here. But a FIAT 500X could be easily restyled and re-badged. And frankly, the wide Chrysler wing is a drop-in replacement for the FIAT "mustache" and logo. Style it to look like a mini Pacifica, and call it the Voyager, or the Cirrus, or the Neon. Or just call it the Chrysler 500, and rename the Pacifica to the Chrysler 1000.

Though come to think of it, I think I prefer a "Chrysler Hornet" of some sort, and the plug-in hybrid version would sit well next to the Pacifica Hybrid. Or maybe not the Hornet, maybe a 2WD Hybrid Compass derivative (we don't get the hybrid Compass here, so it's an opportunity). But then you've got three very similar vehicles sharing the same showroom/lot space. And that worked out SO well for GM....
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I don't think the 500X is competitive. It's already been restyled and rebadged and called the Renegade, after all. I'd just as soon have Chrysler wait for the next generation and start fresh.
The problem with the 500X was that it was in these bespoke FIAT dealers that they didn't have enough of. It and the Renegade are definitely aimed at different markets (off-road versus on-road, like the Hornet/Compass). If it was in CJDR dealers it might have sold more. Then again, it might not have, but by now yeah, it's an old design that would need updating to do anything with.
The 500X sold in the dozens and the Renegade sold in the tens of thousands. They could have had the 500X in twenty different varieties and it would not have sold. Sales per dealer were minimal, too. The fact is that Fiat had one chance on entry, the 500, which was a great car in many ways, but not adapted to Americans until its second year at best, and not well made (or not well engineered, take your pick) - its reliability record had to be great to avoid the "Fix It Again" nickname and its reliability record rivaled Land Rover’s.

The Renegade’s a failure in the US, too, compared with the Compass. It’s a success given that they already make them for Europe in the same plant, and therefore incremental sales work. As a standalone it would have been absolutely dismal.
Of course it sold in the dozens. They had dozens of dealers. And yeah, reliability was always an issue, people remembered FIAT too well. The Renegade isn't going anywhere yet, but I agree the Compass is a better size, which is why I think Chrysler should get a Compass variant. Particularly a hybrid one. But it absolutely can NOT compete with the Hornet in any way, or the Compass, or there will be cannibalization issues. Keep it 2WD hybrid, and if you want a rough roader, then Compass, and if you want more performance oriented (insert V8 fan groan here) then the Hornet. Each one gets a well defined segment.
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Well, the official-sounding reasons given for separating the trucks from Dodge were pure BS, so I believe they were to obscure the true motive - to keep the profitable trucks if the Dodge brand failed or was sold. The official excuses given:
1) To separate the car vs. truck accounting - like this wasn't possible with Dodge/Dodge trucks.
2) To separate car vs. truck styling. Again, no need to split to do this.
3) To combine trucks worldwide under a "global" truck brand - alsi BS because Fiat Professional continued.
In fact, the very way they were able to maintain Fiat vs. Fiat Professional showed they had no need to separate Dodge trucks unless they planned for Dodge to fail or be sold. They wasted a lot of money on the split at the time they were claiming poverty as the reason for slow new model introduction.
I haven't checked lately, but arent' RAM Trucks still built using Dodge-brand VIN codes?
No, the whole company is using a common VIN ID of C.
Doesn't matter if it's a Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, or Ram. They all start out 1C (US made), 2C (Canada made), etc.
The second VIN slot is no longer C/D/J.
Ok. WHen they originally split off RAM, it was C/D/J. And there were questions as to why there was no R. Guess that solved itself.
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Back on topic, I haven’t seen a Hornet yet. I think with so few Alfa’s being sold, most people with simply think the Hornet is a different, somewhat oddly styled Dodge, no more no less.
That might be an advantage, Alfa has some cachet in the US but there's also the Italian reputation for (lack of) reliability.

Personally I'm rethinking whether the R/T is right for me given the information so far. Especially since I don't have a 100 mile a day commute anymore. But I hear the R/T would still have a tax advantage if leased...which is interesting since that might overload the used market pretty quick.
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The EV credit should apply for a lease or purchase. Last year 2022 you had to wait until taxes were filed to get it on a purchase where as with a lease it lowered payments. I thought there was supposed to be a change in that for 2023 for purchase.
It should, yes. But it doesn't because the rules for the EV credit changed this year (at least for purchases). The whole thing with it having to be assembled in the US and the batteries having to have certain mineral content sources, etc etc. That's another thing giving me pause, might want to give them some time to un-do the stupid changes to the EV credit system.
And until now, no new products. What have the stylists been doing for 10 years.
Being inspired by Jay Leno? I say that in jest, but it does actually work, and he's a car guy, so why not? We do need new models to put Jay Leno's Chin(TM) on though.
He's informative but so formulaic... and he kinda reminds me of a car salesman.
Nobody? did you even ask all of us? Because I am very interested in a turbo 6 and electrification.
My house hold has 3 cars in circulation. Only one of them is a 392. And if I had the option to change my “fleet” to all hemi, I would NOT.
I would venture that most people NEED a more practical car. Whether or not they own a v8 as well.

The hemi is dodges biggest problem. It is the life raft they’re clinging to. Everything else was thrown overboard and now what? While everyone else moves on, they dig in, when every one else folds, they double down. I don’t see how that could be a good strategy.
This. Frankly i love the Hurricane engine line. It's flexible. It can be a longitutinal V8 replacement (yes, it can, get over it) in high output 6-cyl guise, and if you chop off two cylinders you've got two transverse compact engines (high output in the Hornet, low output in the Compass AFAIK). Maximum value from the investment, which is what Stella needs. I wonder if it has reasonable power without a turbo, that would be a third option for each block.
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there aren't many people who enjoy the undeniable practicality and performance of a RWD sedan with excuses like "It's not AWD" or "It can't fit 7 people and my dog and tow my trailer while it drives itself!" Or the more common "I'm too fat to get in a car, I need a lifted vehicle"
I just refuse to buy something with a trunk. I was all set to get a WRX...right when they got rid of the hatch. Checked out the Juke, kinda fun, but not comfortable and I hated the CVT. There really hasn't been much in this segment, the Mitsu EVO is long gone. I'm happy to see someone exploring the segment again, and I'm happy it's Dodge. Dodge frankly needs niches where they can excel with and isn't a lot of competition. Even SUbaru is kind of edging away from it, the WRX is kinda turning into a touring car. I just hope the reason there isn't much in the segment isn't because people don't want them. But I'm a people, and I want one.
Oh no, I can just see FCA as a disciple of Generic would be the cloud cars all over again.
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