Dodge Trademarks the Hornet Nameplate for the North American Market
We recently learned that the Grand Caravan is programmed to cease production this coming May, leaving the Dodge lineup with only four vehicles: the Challenger, Charger, Durango, and Journey. In fact, the newest model in Dodge’s lineup is the nearly decade-old Durango, and the automaker is in dire need of expanding its lineup. Fortunately, judging by recent patent applications from parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), it appears that Dodge will be adding a new vehicle to its lineup. FCA recently applied to trademark the words “Hornet” and “Dodge Hornet” with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Additionally, FCA also applied for the very same trademark in Mexico and Canada. We aren’t sure what exactly the Dodge Hornet model is going to be, but it’s clear that it’s specifically designed for the North American car buyer. So what would a North American-specific Dodge be? Likely a crossover vehicle of some sort. Dodge last dusted off the Hornet nomenclature in the mid-2000s for a subcompact hatchback concept car (pictured above), but it never made it into production. This time around, as the market continues its love affair with crossover SUVs, it feels as if it’s the perfect time for Dodge to strike. It’s been rumored for some time that the automaker was also looking to discontinue its Journey model, so it’s safe to say that the Hornet may be its incoming replacement in the form of a compact crossover.
Of course, all of this is speculation and the Hornet badge can be reserved for a different sort of vehicle entirely, such as a larger crossover that borrows quite a few of its components from the existing Chrysler Pacifica and Voyager models. The plant that currently assembles the outgoing Grand Caravan in Windsor, Ontario, is also responsible for assembling the Pacifica and Voyager. The additional capacity granted by the discontinuation of the Grand Caravan sets the stage for the development of another vehicle. Using key components from the other vehicles produced in the same plant can surely help Dodge lower its development costs in the long run.
Another possibility is that the Hornet name is destined for an FCA/PSA Groupe product. The merger between FCA and PSA Groupe is progressing, making it likely that some Euro-derived products will arrive in North America with market-familiar Dodge badging. As is customary, Dodge declined to comment on the implications of the recent Hornet trademark because the automaker does not usually comment on rumors. Until we have a definitive word from Dodge, we’ll just have to stay tuned to the rumor mill to see what a future Dodge Hornet vehicle might be.
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