2006 Dodge Hornet concept

Dodge has been wise in reviving old nameplates to inject some excitement into its contemporary model lineup. Recent products like the Challenger and Charger – both named after classics from the brand's past – have drummed up a considerable amount of enthusiasm where names like Stratus and Intrepid could not. But don't expect that formula to be applied to everything Dodge puts out.

Contrary to rumors that the upcoming replacement for the Caliber would bear the name Hornet, a report from The Detroit News suggests that it will not. The nameplate originates from the Hudson Hornet that was built by the American Motors Corporation in the 1950s and the AMC Hornet that followed in the '70s before the company was subsumed into Chrysler. The original re-appeared as Doc Hudson in the computer-animated Pixar film Cars, and was revived off-screen for a concept car (pictured above) which Dodge showed in 2006.

The new production compact, set to compete against the likes of the Chevrolet Cruze and Ford Focus, will fill a critical role for Chrysler, which currently lacks a viable competitor in that vital segment. Whatever it's called, it's being jointly developed with Fiat and is expected to bow sometime early in the new year. We'll just have to wait to see what they call it.
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