Alfa Romeo Tonale Production Boosted To Keep American Buyers Happy

Industry News / 5 Comments

But with the near-identical Dodge Hornet also on the way, is Stellantis increasing production of the wrong crossover?

In anticipation of strong demand in the United States, Alfa Romeo has increased production of the Tonale to 400 units a day, reports Automotive News.

The automaker recently announced US pricing and opened pre-orders for the range, excluding the base model. Sales have already commenced in Europe, with local deliveries expected to take place in the second quarter of this year. Stellantis has had to cut a shift for Fiat Panda manufacturing in order to double down on Tonale production at its Pomigliano plant so that it has enough inventory for export markets, such as ours.

Last year, the automotive group produced 20,000 of Alfa's compact crossover and 145,000 examples of the Fiat Panda. Those numbers are expected to change in the coming year. Thus far, the baby Alfa has proven popular and in 2022, 11,171 examples were sold in Europe.

But will this success continue with North American buyers?

2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale Front Angle View Alfa Romeo

You see, the Tonale may have had its thunder stolen by the Hornet. While the newcomer was designed to be an Alfa Romeo from the get-go, Dodge saw an opportunity and decided to make use of the crossover for its lineup. With a few tweaks here and there, the American automaker quickly revealed the Hornet - much to the excitement of consumers. In less than 24 hours, the vehicle had garnered more than 14,000 pre-orders.

This has left the Italian marque in a bit of a quandary. While both vehicles boast distinctive front and rear fascias, and unique interiors, Alfa was reportedly displeased that Dodge didn't go further. To be fair, both vehicles share the same profile, and there's an undeniable resemblance between the two.

2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale Rear View Alfa Romeo

As a consumer in the US, would it be worth going for the Alfa Romeo? The cheapest model Americans can buy, the Sprint derivative, weighs in at $42,995, which is only $2,000 less than the top-spec Hornet. In fact, the Dodge can be had for as little as $29,995.

Sure, the Alfa will certainly have a more-premium feeling cabin, but the Dodge badge carries more weight on the local market. The Hornet is will be built alongside the Alfa at Stellantis' Pomigliano plant in Italy. Production is expected to commence in the coming weeks, with deliveries to follow in the second quarter.

Last year, Dodge CEO Tim Kuniskis said he expects the Hornet to surpass 40,000 sales a year. To put that into perspective, Alfa sold just 12,845 vehicles altogether in the USA in 2022. The Tonale was supposed to be the car that changed these dire sales figures, but it may be thwarted by its own cousin.

Front-End View Dodge

The Alfa is also hampered by the limited powertrain choices. In the USA, the Tonale will only be offered with one engine option, a 1.3-liter plug-in hybrid that puts out a combined output of produces 272 horsepower.

Dodge will provide consumers with a choice of two powerplants. A base 2.0-liter engine with 256 horsepower will be provided, along with the aforementioned 1.3-liter PHEV derivative. And, to rub more salt in Alfa's wounds, the Hornet R/T will produce more than 285 hp, making it one of the most powerful vehicles in its class.

Hopefully, the chic design and upmarket persona of the Alfa go down a treat with upmarket buyers, and the brand will reap enough profit to develop the sports cars it has long been promising.

Aft View Dodge

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2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale Front Angle View
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