Dodge is working on its first all-new car in more than a decade. A leaked video from the Alfa Romeo factory shows a crossover-sized SUV with a signature Dodge grille. Is this the eternally rumored Dodge Hornet? Here’s how the alleged Hornet got its name.
The Dodge Super Bee
The first popular hornet was the NASCAR dominant Hudson Hornet. The Hudson company released this early muscle car in 1951. Hudson continued to produce these through the merger with the American Motor Company (AMC) until 1957.
In 1968, the Chrysler company rolled out a new badge for several brands – the scat package. Any muscle car that could complete the ¼ mile in less than 14 seconds was considered part of the Dodge Scat Pack.
Was the name supposed to bring to mind Sinatra’s “rat pack?” Did Dodge mean “go away” or did the company know that “scat” has a less polite meaning? We will never know. What’s important is that the Scat Pack’s logo was and still is a bumblebee.
Also in 1968, sales of the Plymouth Road Runner were so strong that Chrysler Corporation decided to convert the “B-Body” size car into an entry-level Dodge muscle car. Designer Harvey J. Winn suggested the name Super Bee, with a similar bumblebee medallion. Company Brass thought the name worked well with the Scat Pack badge and gave the go-ahead.
Dodge continued to build the Super Bee through 1970. The company revived the Scat Pack name and bumblebee decal for all Chargers and Challengers with its largest 6.4-liter HEMI V8. Dodge also rolled out a limited edition Charger SRT8 Super Bee in 2012.
The first Dodge Hornet
In 1987, Chrysler Corporation purchased AMC for its Jeep brand. But along with Jeep came the Hornet name. It seems they put the trademark in a filing cabinet in Detroit and forgot about it for a few decades.
In 2006, the Chrysler Corporation became part of the multinational DaimlerChrysler. The company wanted to appeal to the European youth market with a European style car with a classic name. What did they come up with? A re-bodied Nissan Versa called the Dodge Hornet.
Whatever people may have thought of the small hatchback, the name was spot on. It was reminiscent of the Hudson Hornet. It also appealed to Dodge’s long Scat Pack and Super Bee traditions.
The company planned to introduce the 2006 Dodge Hornet prototype to the European market for the 2010 model year. But after the 2009 financial crisis, Chrysler had to set its sights on retaking the North American market.
The Dodge Hornet name survived beyond the Nissan-based vehicle. After Chrysler’s merger with Fiat, the new company began looking at small Dodge cars. The project hobbled from the Fiat 199 platform to the Alfa Romeo Giulietta. But all along the rumored name was the Dodge Hornet. Industry analysts were shocked when Dodge unveiled the final product in 2012 called Dodge Dart.
The 2023 Dodge Hornet
At the beginning of February 2022, Alfa Romeo unveiled the all-new Tonale. The sporty crossover SUV is sure to be a winner with both a traditional hybrid and a 256 horsepower plug-in hybrid version. The Alfa Romeo Tonale even shares a platform with the Jeep Compass.
But what we’re interested in is a leaked video from Alfa Romeo’s factory floor. The video, uploaded to Facebook and then deleted, showed a red Tonale with what appears to be a Dodge grille. Check out the screenshots below:
At the same time, Dodge just raised the patent of the Dodge Hornet again. Will the Hornet be an AWD plug-in hybrid, eMuscle SUV that puts out 256 horsepower? Or is it another bait-and-switch like the 2012 Dodge Dart? We’ll just have to wait and find out.