Home » The Dodge Hornet Owners Forum Is Full Of People Who Regret Buying Hornets

The Dodge Hornet Owners Forum Is Full Of People Who Regret Buying Hornets

Dodge Hornet Mad Bro Ts2
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When the Dodge Hornet launched, it almost seemed like a cut-priced Porsche Macan for the rest of us. For its first mainstream crossover sold in America since the Journey, Dodge swiped Alfa Romeo’s Tonale off the windowsill while it was still cooling, then disguised it as Auburn Hills’ own cooking. Unfortunately, the Dodge Hornet is currently living up to Italian car stereotypes, as owners on the dedicated Hornet forum seem absolutely livid.

In case you’ve never been on a new model-specific car forum, they’re typically self-defensive circlejerks of unhealthily obsessed individuals vigorously edging over options sheets until some registered flex offender comes bearing the rarest example of all, at which point the biscuit, as Fred Durst would say, gets limp. And being made up of people who spent enough money on a car they joined a forum about it, they are often knee-jerk defensive critiques of said vehicles. Needless to say, broader forums are often more fun. Ask anyone who was on VWVortex for the “hit two a crub and 2 fents” incident.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

However, the Hornet owners forum is even more entertaining than that, because it’s full of Hornet owners shitting all over Stellantis.

A common thread is electrical issues. From dashboards that go blank to blinded adaptive cruise control, owners are reporting all manner of miscellaneous errors wreaking havoc with basic functions. Oh, and as the complaints roll in, a mountain of evidence continues to pile up. Sure, you can buy a Dodge Hornet off the dealership lot right now thanks to a 517-day supply, but after reading what owners have to say, would you really want to?

While the jokes write themselves, they certainly won’t help troubled Hornet owners. Take this owner, for example, who claims to be on a schoolteacher income and is absolutely beside themselves with how unreliable their new crossover is.

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I purchased my Dodge Hornet September 9, 2023 and it has already broken down. I had to have it towed Monday to the Dodge dealership and the mechanic just called me and said that there are 200 different codes going off. I am so upset and scared that I was sold a lemon. … This was the first vehicle I purchased on my own and now I am so disappointed. … My parents live in Michigan, are extremely worried about me, my safety, and the cost and inconvenience this is causing me.

So Disappointed

Dodge Hornet Lemon 1

If you’re buying a new compact crossover, you shouldn’t have to worry about backup transportation, or the presence of a purported 200 codes. I’ve seen tenth-owner Bangle-era BMWs with fewer stored codes, and this is a brand new car!

Oh look, another Hornet owner claiming electrical issues. Constant cruise control deactivation is aggravating, random triggering of the alarm system is a surefire way of making all your neighbors hate you, and heated steering wheels shouldn’t get too hot to touch. On the plus side, this owner by the username Merlyn might not be a Hornet owner for much longer. As they wrote, “Ah HA – so the [lemon law] buy back is FIVE TIMES!!!! I do believe I’m on the 4th time.”

First little trip, cruise control kept malfunctioning – popping out and I had to keep messing with it to activate it – it did this every 10 miles or so. The all warning lights came on – alarm sounds off for no reason when doing simple errands. Service said – it pops out of cruise control to “make sure you’re paying attention” LOL – alarm – …  he said, “maybe a loud Harley went by triggering the alarm” – It’s in service for the 4th time today. It won’t stay in cruise control for even 2 miles … The crash warning starts beeping for no reason also, which is a bit startling. The heated steering wheel got way to hot to touch twice. Ah HA – so the buy back is FIVE TIMES!!!! I do believe I’m on the 4th time.

Dodge Hornet Lemon 2

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This owner has it particularly bad, since they claim “Of the 14 days I have owned the vehicle it has been in the shop for 4 full days and should have been in longer.” Ouch. As is starting to seem typical from this little crossover, a single issue isn’t the culprit, but multiple problems from the hyperactive alarm system to malfunctioning power mirrors seem to be at play.

While coming over an over pass, my dash lit up and I lost all acceleration. … my adaptive cruise control had failed. I am so grateful I was driving the vehicle not my new driver son. He would have ended up in the ditch. … I noted my sideview mirrors are not opening every time the car powers on. The car has 2 different alarm sounds and it went off intermittently. The front and rear collision system lights continued to go off … The service tech advised there is not currently a fix for the issues, but Chrysler engineering has assured there will be something in Q4 of this year … Of the 14 days I have owned the vehicle it has been in the shop for 4 full days and should have been in longer. My dealership has advised there is no way to cancel the deal or reverse it, no but back option, and my only recourse is to complain to Chrysler Customer Service and hope they will offer some discount to apply to a trade in on a different vehicle.

14 Days

Owners report that last month, an update came out for, among other things, the adaptive cruise control system. Could this be the cure Hornet drivers were waiting for? Well, yes and no. While the consensus is that the updates have made adaptive cruise control better, it still reportedly gets foiled by something everyone experiences: direct sunlight.

Dodge Hornet Acc Update

Of course, some owners are going beyond expressing concern over specific issues, giving it a little bit of vitriol without any semblance of pushback. As forum user rachelg wrote:

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This is by far the WORST investment I have ever made in my life. HUGE HUGE fail on Dodge’s part. Releasing a vehicle without even making sure the damn interior lights work not to mention all the other electrical issues on top of that?
Can not wait to get rid of this piece of crap car. :joy:
Good luck to everyone else, cause I can guarantee if you don’t have issues now, you most certainly will!!”

And forum user G-Mann takes a surprisingly meta approach, writing that:

I have purchased 5 different vehicles over the last 3 years and on all the forums and I have never seen a forum like this one riddled with problems and issues galore. It won’t be long before the car magazines & internet articles start pointing it out and resale value kaput.

Unsurprisingly, many of the issues owners complain about are backed up by technical service bulletins–manufacturer communications for common problems. Care to guess how many technical service bulletins apply to the Dodge Hornet? That’s right, 67, for issues as varied as prematurely worn spark plugs and imperial speed limit signs being incorrectly translated to metric units. Curiously, the vast majority involve firmware-related or software-related issues, which certainly doesn’t alleviate Italian car electrical system stereotypes.

Dodge Hornet Acc TSB

One of my favorites is a technical service bulletin claiming that the adaptive cruise control system somehow requires defined road markings to work, otherwise an “ACC Temporarily Blocked” message displays on the instrument panel. While it would make sense if poor road markings affected lane-centering assistance, adaptive cruise control should only control vehicle speed and following distance, so it’s a little strange that worn road markings would render the adaptive cruise control inactive. There are plenty of cars that don’t have this issue because they can follow the lead car.

2024 Dodge Hornet Gt

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We are currently living in the era of what manufacturers call the software-defined vehicle, in which a substantial chunk of a vehicle’s identity and experience comes through software, graphics, and gizmos. While cars have featured firmware in their powertrain computers for more than 40 years, and software for cabin technology for decades, modern advancements like integrated modems and over-the-air updates have quickly put software at the front of the conversation. While this has enabled automakers to offer slicker interior electronics, it also means more code to write, test, and revise, and that it’s possible to push cars out the door before they’re digitally finished under a “fix it in post” mentality.

Back in 2013, Jeep delayed delivery of its Cherokee crossover because the ZF nine-speed automatic transmission wasn’t calibrated to an acceptable consumer standard. The hardware was all there, but the firmware wasn’t. Judging by issues owners are having with the Dodge Hornet, Stellantis may have been wise to pay attention to its history and pump the brakes until the majority of electronic bugaboos are worked out. Granted, Dodge needed this car since the rest of its lineup consists of emissions-intensive bruisers, but the Tonale that it’s based on has been on sale since 2022. Oh, and of this is before we even get into the fire-risk recall affecting plug-in hybrid models.

The Dodge Hornet Features A Vehicle Width Taillamp With A Center

Judging by owner reports and the sheer number of technical service bulletins out there, the Achilles heel of the Dodge Hornet is its own electronic suite. While it’s theoretically possible for many of its issues to be fixed or mitigated with time and updates, it doesn’t seem like owners feel their problems have been resolved. Until then, be cautious. If you need a compact crossover that simply works and offers a little bit of fun, a Mazda CX-5 probably remains your best bet.

However, all these issues haven’t stopped a tiny number of Hornet owners from viewing things through rose-tinted spectacles. As Hornet Owners user ralplpcr wrote:

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Thank you for writing this post! I was honestly getting somewhat tired of all the negative “horror stories” and complaints. It’s good to see someone saying positive things about our cars!

Like many, I have a few gremlins with my Hornet. I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not perfect….but I really like it a lot in spite of all that! It is fun to drive, and definitely gets a lot of attention when cruising around.

Yes, I have some annoying issues with the ACC randomly turning off. Yes, my heated seats/steering wheel will sometimes refuse to turn on. But none of this prevents me from being able to enjoy driving it – – it’s mostly an inconvenience, and since I’ve never had these features in a car before, it’s not as though I can’t live without them?

Spoken like a true Alfa Romeo owner.

(Photo credits: Dodge, Hornet Owners)

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TXJeepGuy
TXJeepGuy
5 months ago

You should check out the Jeep 4xE forums.. pretty similar experience.

Duke Woolworth
Duke Woolworth
5 months ago

It’s Italian. What did these folks expect? Anything more complicated than pasta is bound to end up in the shop.

Last edited 5 months ago by Duke Woolworth
86-GL
86-GL
5 months ago

Your description of new model forums is hilarious and accurate. “Flex offender” Lmao.

Christo Arvanitis
Christo Arvanitis
5 months ago

Lucas, is that you???

What a shame as it is a very good looking vehicle IMHO.

Rafael
Rafael
5 months ago

I was about to point a finger to cousin Lucca, but turns out the original Alfa isn’t like this, apparently…

Ariel E Jones
Ariel E Jones
5 months ago

Sounds like these owners got stung by their hornet. I’ll be in town all week.

Rafael
Rafael
5 months ago

I wonder if “infotainment delete” will become a valid business model in the future. You bring your smart, but confused and insecure car in, and they give it back dumb, but confident and reliable.
You now have to operate (oh the horror!) all amenities yourself, but the car will never again be bricked by a failure on the glare sensor.

Christo Arvanitis
Christo Arvanitis
5 months ago
Reply to  Rafael

Points for “smart, but confused and insecure car…”!

VanGuy
VanGuy
5 months ago
Reply to  Rafael

I have a 2012 Prius v I swapped out the (fairly minimal) infotainment system with an Android Auto head unit. Had to pay extra for an iDataLink Maestro interface to maintain some “car features” like the ability to change the fob chirp volume, whether it locks on shifting into drive, whether it unlocks on shifting to park, etc. On the other hand, it actually added some features–now I can drive with my rear view camera always on (such as when my mirror is blocked by cargo), and now I can use an actual tachometer on-screen.

On the other hand, the rental 2023 Corolla I had for a few days had some sensor(s) in the steering wheel to tell whether your hands were on it. If you turned on the adaptive cruise control, it also helped with steering, but would threaten to stop in a couple of seconds if you took your hands off.

I’d be really impressed if someone could do what you describe on a newer car (like 2015-ish or later?) and it not throw codes or otherwise complain.

Rafael
Rafael
5 months ago
Reply to  VanGuy

I was joking, but maybe in the distant future electric conversions will be viable, and you could perhaps choose your flavour of operating system? I hope they create a good standard for this…

Spectre6000
Spectre6000
5 months ago
Reply to  Rafael

Infobotomy.

Ecsta C3PO
Ecsta C3PO
5 months ago
Reply to  Spectre6000

I’ll perform that service, where’s my hammer and awl?
No warranties on potential side effects

Rafael
Rafael
5 months ago
Reply to  Spectre6000

Considered calling it that, but the idea is to add functionality by getting rid of tech that has gone foul, holding the car back. Maybe an infotainectomy?

Oldskool
Oldskool
5 months ago
Reply to  Rafael

Let me buy it that way to start with.

Starhawk
Starhawk
5 months ago

Speaking as a Friendly Neighborhood [Computer] Nerd, and a pedestrian by force of disability — suffice to say the fellow who wired up my brain back at the factory was <ahem> learning on the job, and happened to be, by way of talent, neither teacher, nor scholar, and most certainly not brain-electrician…

Remember back when cars were more, y’know, “car”, and less “computer with high speed wheels”? (I don’t, I’m not that old.)

Maybe that wasn’t such a bad thing, after all…

Also, as an aside — I wonder if there’s a way, without all those fancy sensors and electronics, to make a simple, compact, practical vehicle that gets one from A to B and still meets emissions regs, without having to C a guy in a garage somewhere every few days? Y’know, something that isn’t fast, won’t put on a performance for you mid-flight, and won’t get you laid in the back seat on Saturday nights… but is simple and honest and basic and reliable and has so little in it to go belly-up that it just, y’know… doesn’t. AND it meets emissions laws so well you can drive it in downtown L.A.

There’s GOT to be a way.

Starhawk
Starhawk
5 months ago
Reply to  Starhawk

Point of Clarity: NOT ELECTRIC.

Maybe hybrid. Maybe. But not electric.

Rafael
Rafael
5 months ago
Reply to  Starhawk

This is one of the more entertaining comments I’ve read in a while, and it seems that they gave you a voucher for the “gud w/ dem words” package to make up for the wiring issue 🙂
As a fellow nerd of the computer persuasion, I agree with you 100%. I am a bit older, so I remember the time when our cars were “dumb”, and I was horrified at the trend of more and more software creeping up on the auto industry – everyone that dabbled both on car and computer culture could see from a kilometre away that it was a terrible, terrible idea.
It seems that we’re finally done traversing that kilometre, and the consequences of that push are finally catching up with us. We now live in a world where you can “brick” a car and someone can hack into your doors and engines, but all this will pale in comparison to the litany of service packs, knowledge articles and hot fixes that will be necessary just to operate the vehicle. I just hope they have the good sense of not forcing a reboot mid-highway!

Racer Esq.
Racer Esq.
5 months ago
Reply to  Starhawk

Remember back when cars were more, y’know, “car”, and less “computer with high speed wheels”? (I don’t, I’m not that old.)”

I do. Cars were worse. Complexity is the enemy of quality, and in every generation less complex cars will generally have higher quality. But cars are MUCH better than they used to be. FI is simpler and more reliable than carbs. 1970s cars had byzantine nests of crap under the hood to meet emissions. Something like Apple Car play has replaced $5,000 in shitty navigation and audio options that would have been required to get that feature set in a car (which is why companies like GM are cynically getting rid of it).

A $17,000 stick Versa is an incredible car by historical standards.

There are legitimate concerns with DMCA abuse and the right to repair, but the issue here is not technology. It is other people not old enough to remember when Alfa Romeo used to be sold in the US (or more unfortunately unaware they are effectively buying an Alfa).

The sad thing is that Dodge does make a really good SUV for the price. The Durango is one of the best SUVs that can be had for a transaction price of $37,000 or less new.

Manuel Verissimo
Manuel Verissimo
5 months ago
Reply to  Racer Esq.

I think the is a sweet spot when it comes to cars and that sweet spot is the late ’90s to early ’10s.

No touch pads, no OTA updates, little gizmos BUT EFI, ABS, ESP…

You get the modern-ish reliability and safety without the modern failure prone gadgets.

Scottingham
Scottingham
5 months ago

This is exactly what I was going to say. My ’04 Volvo has all the tech I need.

I maay replace the dash with an android head unit eventually, but I don’t I could justify its cost given how much it’s driven.

If I had to commute though, I would look into ACC that went down to zero mph so it would make traffic jams less of a pain. But I think I would have a hard time finding one that also still had physical buttons for climate control. That reason alone is keeping me away from the modern Volvos.

Oldskool
Oldskool
5 months ago

For me the sweet spot is late 80s to early 90s. Reliability of fuel injection, but no more complicated tech to go wrong. One ECM to run the basics of the engine. No integrated body control modules, etc. Anything is straightforward to fix. Super reliable and I barely have to do anything to them.

Rafael
Rafael
5 months ago
Reply to  Racer Esq.

Not all tech is bad, of course. And reliability and build quality did improve, but due to advancements in other areas (QC, assembly line automation etc).
I don’t want to be a luddite, but adding SW complexity where it isn’t needed is not an improvement.

Starhawk
Starhawk
5 months ago
Reply to  Rafael

I agree with you, sir, more than anyone else who replied. You hit the nail on the head.

“MOAR TECH!!!” is, in truth, no more reliable a solution than the proverbial “parts cannon” at your local repair garage — and, *unlike* said parts cannon, very much has the ability to do more harm than good.

My stepmother, for example, has a late 20teens Nissan Altima, which she bought because of how impressed she was with the one she bought roughly a decade before. (Note to the inevitable comment hacks, she is very much a responsible driver.) She has long hated her decision to upgrade… why? “MOAR TECH!!!” The ‘infotainment unit’ is, to put it bluntly, silicon sewage. It is almost impossible to get it to do anything useful because of how genuinely awful the UI is. My father and stepmother inevitably just use their phones for navigation and in-car music instead, because Google Maps makes sense, even in an era when a Pioneer head unit with a written manual that is literally longer than a single ream of paper does not, can not, and never will.

I suspect I hardly need to ask Racer Esq what he thinks of the likes of Hillborn and Kinsler — or of simple TBI — since they’re simple, mechanical approaches to fuel injection (or very simple EFI) — surely such things aren’t advanced enough for them?

I would like to remind him that a basic float carburetor was advanced enough for 90+% of motoring engines, on and above the ground both, clear from Karl Benz through the part of WW2 just before practical gas turbines, where piston-and-propellor engine driven dogfighters were doing more barrel rolls than you’d see at a Starfox-themed lanparty. That’s literally a longer period of time than I’ve been alive. Reliable? How about the Ford Model T? I don’t think that came with fuel injection. Want something newer? Sure, I can do that. My mother’s first car was a 68 Beetle. It was secondhand, $1500 in north Jersey in the early- to mid-1970s, in a sort of beige-y tan color. It ran until terminal rot started to eat away properly at its structural integrity, by which time most of the floorpans were long gone and it was about a half dozen different colors… but, of all the things my father did to that car (for better or worse, learning to weld was where he drew the line), I’m pretty sure the engine was still roughly stock when it got hauled off for scrap, and I’m pretty sure Reagan was in office at that point.

Carburetors are plenty reliable… as is mechanical FI, as is TBI. I think Racer Inc has their head lost in a cloud of hot rod smoke — after all, if you want that kind of performance, a near-constant need to tinker is going to come with it.

As for 1970s emissions… my father also had a 1982 Honda 1300FE for… about six months. Wasn’t his fault, somewhere in the wilds of North Carolina there’s a four-way just below the top of a hill… guy came flying over at 55 in the wrong lane. Needless to say, that was the end of the 1300FE… still, I think Racer Inc would do quite well to study that engine and how it avoided even a catalytic converter in that very same era as “byzantine nests of crap under the hood” — which, from everything I’ve ever heard, had more to do with Malaise Era landyachts with vacuum hoses driving everything, up to and including friggin cruise control, because that was the cheapest way to do that, then. Nothing to do with emissions.

Manuel, I kind of agree with you — the early 90s Ford Escort, stateside at least, is a thing of simple economic efficiency and reliability at its best, and nearly indestructible to boot — but at the same time, I look back at that 1300FE I mentioned, and wonder if there isn’t a way to improve on near perfection.

Scottingham, Volvo has always had a reputation for safety, but… that isn’t a turbodiesel model, I hope? (Sorry, I’m not all that familiar. My mother’s last car was a Saturn, though, and those were just as legendary in the safety category, so maybe that counts a little, by proxy? Heh.)

Rafael…thank you for BOTH of your thoughtful replies… I think you ‘get it’ far more than anyone else here… and, in a word, yes, I got that package ;3 I’m a computer nerd and retrotech lover (C64 foreva!), electronics hobbyist, artist, and writer — I have a VERY promising literary career as a novelist ahead of me, stuck at the end of Ch.4. (Ha!)

Geoffrey Reuther
Geoffrey Reuther
5 months ago
Reply to  Racer Esq.

A $17,000 stick Versa is an incredible car by historical standards.

Only if the shifter doesn’t grab two cables at once like it loved to do in mine. It’s kind of hard on the car to be shifted into both 1st and 3rd at the same time.

Likewise, the reverse ring on the shifter was finicky, and if you didn’t get it just right, it would grab 1st instead of reverse. THAT really spiced up driving it…

OrigamiSensei
OrigamiSensei
5 months ago

I read “I have a few gremlins with my Hornet” and started laughing.

Geoffrey Reuther
Geoffrey Reuther
5 months ago
Reply to  OrigamiSensei

I laughed.

Dick Teague rolled over in his grave.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
5 months ago

“Hornet” is millennial slang for “Aspen.”

Philip Robinson
Philip Robinson
5 months ago

So, when Dodge lifted the design from Alfa, the Alfa electrical engineers were not expected to install gremlins out of spite? Someone did not think this through.

Boulevard_Yachtsman
Boulevard_Yachtsman
5 months ago

Horrified
Owners
Receive
Never
Ending
Trouble

Baja_Engineer
Baja_Engineer
5 months ago

COTD

Pedro
Pedro
5 months ago

well, we all know that Stellantis’s real problem is those pesky CARB rules. Yeah – that’s the ticket!!!

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
5 months ago
Reply to  Pedro

And the unions!!!11!

PL71 Enthusiast
PL71 Enthusiast
5 months ago

“it almost seemed like a cut-priced Porsche Macan for the rest of us”

What?

Giulia Louis-Dreyfus
Giulia Louis-Dreyfus
5 months ago

My Giulia’s ACC also doesn’t like direct sunlight. However, its distaste for it only occurs this time of year during dusk and dawn when the sun is at that directly-in-the-eyes level. I certainly can’t see directly into the sun this time of year. I’m not sure why we expect the ACC to.

Last edited 5 months ago by Giulia Louis-Dreyfus
Giulia Louis-Dreyfus
Giulia Louis-Dreyfus
5 months ago

Whoops, I meant sunrise and sunset*

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
5 months ago

Not to blame the victim, because Dodge is criminally bad and schoolteachers are criminally underpaid, but buying a 1) new 2) Dodge doesn’t show a lot of discernment or life skills.

Utherjorge
Utherjorge
5 months ago

everyone’s credit is approved at Dodge. And Kia.

Vic Vinegar
Vic Vinegar
5 months ago
Reply to  Utherjorge

Given the choice, I think I roll the dice at Kia/Hyundai. At least they have a stronger warranty on paper.

And personal experience – I know more people with trouble free Kia/Hyundai ownership experience than Chrysler.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
5 months ago

“schoolteachers are criminally underpaid”

If you think schoolteachers are criminally underpaid try spending over a decade as a graduate student and maybe a couple/few post docs only to discover many industry Ph.D. jobs pay even less than schoolteacher wages…

Utherjorge
Utherjorge
5 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

yep. I’m sorry for your loss…if it’s you

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
5 months ago
Reply to  Utherjorge

Me and others.

Of course YMMV. That said my own experience was poor. Much of the time it was living a “produce or perish” Glengarry Glen Ross nightmare with similarly inspiring *motivational* pep talks from management, less helpful advice, less pay, more side gigs to make rent and no visible ways out but forward.

Post academic life in start ups (after a job search of over a year with no help from my alma maters) was much better but still not THAT lucrative and much less stable than that of public school teacher.

Do not recommend.

Jb996
Jb996
5 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

This is a complete tangent, but this is curious.
Graduate students and post-docs are certainly just slave labor by another name.
School teachers are criminally underpaid.

I’m curious about what field you are in?
My Engineering/Physics PhD job paid pretty well right out of school, and that was for a Government job, not even industry which typically pays even better.
My experience is that STEM fields consistently pay pretty well at PhD level.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
5 months ago
Reply to  Jb996

Thankfully I did not post doc myself, I had spoken to enough folks trapped in a rotating cycle to be determined to avoid that.

My field is physical/analytical chemistry in biotech. It took me a year after defense to land my first *real* job despite over a hundred resumes submitted to 85%+ fit jobs. Very few called me back. My universities couldn’t have cared less. I was an inconvenient truth to their business model. Only the alumni centers ever called me and that was only to beg for money.

When I called one small business owner I was told he was looking for – and I’m reading between the lines as here – for someone to come in and invent something he could make big money on in a short timeframe. This was for a relatively entry level position.

“My experience is that STEM fields consistently pay pretty well at PhD level”

You also have to define “pretty well”. For reference my stipend as a graduate student 20 years ago was $15.6k in San Diego, a high cost of living area. That was an increase from the $12.8k of a masters student.

Non tenured university lecturer teaching gigs with the parchment paid about $30k. The post docs I knew claimed to have made $45kish.

As far as industry jobs went one of my colleagues interviewed at the biggest environmental analysis lab in San Diego and was told he’d get $30k and would be expected to work his ass off for it. I believed him since he had been referred to the company by a masters student whom we knew, she was putting in 60 hr weeks for much less. We figured the boss really didn’t want to hire anyone but was going through the charade of hiring to pacify his overworked and underpaid staff. If someone took his ludicrous offer so much the better.

My first job as an actual scientist started at $68k. This was in Palo Alto, an even higher cost of living area than San Diego. Granted my boss confided in me much later that the main reason I was hired was I was the only one willing to take that low salary but after over a year of searching I didn’t have many options. Yes there were salary increases but not enough to match the explosion of the housing market. At my second annual performance review my CEO literally laughed in my face when I tried to use Salary.com as a benchmark. That was…discouraging. I was told the Radford survey is the only benchmark anyone in management actually pays attention to and that’s not publicly available. You’d need to beg someone in HR to see a copy.

After about 6 years and a new job I was not quite into six figures. Most of my colleagues were making less than their non STEM spouses. when the recession hit I was let go and a few of my more talented colleagues left the field to the emerging field of marijuana dispensaries. A few years later I interviewed at a similar nearby biotech company and found some of my former colleagues there. They looked sad. One new face who was part of my interview team took me for a walk around the building and when safely out of earshot bluntly said “I like you…don’t work here!”. One look at the stock price showed why – at a time when biotech was supposedly booming this company was crashing hard. During my job searches I ran across more than a few Ph.D. holders (not just biotech) who did not put that on their resumes for fear of being “overqualified” for the few positions that were available. I went to one biotech job fair where the lines of applicants went out the door. I watched one particularly attractive hopeful stand in line for 45 minutes just to chat with and hand her resume to a recruiter at the Genentech booth. Tell me again about this STEM talent shortage.

Of course as I pointed out earlier YMMV. Some folks do exceptionally well in STEM, however with few exceptions none I know did so doing actual hands on science work, at least not since the early 1990s (programmers being one notable exception). You can make a decent living doing actual science but on a single salary that living is modest, especially if you have kids.

From what I have seen in biotech and chemistry the big bang for the bucks upper management, sales, HR, finance and programming is where to be. A STEM parchment no longer a gatekeeper for such positions, at least not in the companies I worked at. Those positions were held by a rainbow of MBAs, finance, and STEM degree holders from every level.

Jb996
Jb996
5 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Wow, I’m sorry for your experience in that.
I was looking just after recession recovery, although recession fears did drive me to a more secure government job, and I’m in a research position now, but I also help find and vet new R&D hires (mostly PhDs). We can’t find enough, and starting pay is around 6 figures, +/- depending on the candidate, in a very low cost of living area in the Midwest. We also have trouble getting hires sometimes, losing them to offers from the Coasts. It’s difficult for some to see that the pay doesn’t scale as much as the cost of living.

I did have an offer pre-recession, after my MS with a company in the LA area. I didn’t really consider it since it was laughable vs the cost of living, so I can definitely relate to you there. Maybe it’s a regional issue? I see the STEM shortage nationally, but maybe it’s saturated in southern CA? Maybe Biotech/Chem is different too.

Either way, I think “YMMV” is the key here.
Good luck!

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
5 months ago
Reply to  Jb996

“I see the STEM shortage nationally.”

While we both agree YMMV in in my experience the “shortage” was a tragic myth in the San Diego and SFBA so that’s a good chunk of the West coast biotech strongholds. I dunno about the east coast strongholds of Boston or Raleigh. As far as the midwest goes just the other weekend I just spoke with someone who recently moved to Sacramento from Chicago who claimed the opportunities there in his field of pharma were slim. He had transitioned into marketing which as someone with a touch of autism he didn’t particularly like but it was more tolerable than sales and much more lucrative than research. The facility he works at is a token US manufacturing site. The bulk of their products are made in China or India.

As far as chemistry goes my wife is a manager at an international analytical services company with facilities around the world but her team is spread across different facilities throughout the US. Whenever they have an opening anywhere in the country they have a stack of 5-6 VERY qualified Ph.D. level applicants within 3-4 weeks and the position is filled soon after. More often than not that position is filled with someone they’re happy with (and they’re not very generous with the compensation – their shtick is work-life balance) so you’ll understand when I have a tremendous amount of skepticism to your observation of a nationwide STEM shortage. YMMV indeed.

To further my point please indulge me to tell this story: Several years ago I read such a STEM shortage lament in a rag from Stockton, a nearby city in the central valley. It was by the CEO of a company I had never heard of.
I was surprised I had never heard of the company as the CEO mentioned they manufactured X-ray photo electron spectroscopy instruments directly related to my wife’s expertise. I took a look at their website. They had absolutely no careers section that I could find. No job openings posted at all. Gee I wonder why they were having problems finding people.

Which in my mind begs the question, why do you think there is an overall STEM shortage? Why do you think you are having a hard time filling openings especially if you are offering a generous for your area compensation package? Why are people turning you down for less lucrative positions on the coasts? Is it the dream of striking it rich? How intense is your search? How much are you reaching out to universities? Are you using external recruiters? How realistic are your expectations? Are you rejecting highly qualified purple unicorns because they have silver polka dots and not gray ones? Are you willing to train or do you demand your hires hit the ground running?
Age discrimination is very common even though its illegal: Truth be told is it possible your company is weeding out older applicants before you see them?

There are many plausible reasons you are having staffing problems that are not caused by an actual talent shortage. In some companies especially startups up its a thing to have phantom positions open to give the illusion of growth or as in my previous example to passivate overworked staff.

Or perhaps your problem is a lack of fun startup culture. Try adding a few foosball tables, twisty slides, fire poles, crappy vending machines and smelly crash couches (all real SFBA startup “perks” designed to keep workers working longer hours).

Bigger companies offer park like campuses, fine dining, laundromats, gyms and other things to make sure their salaried employees have as few reasons as possible to leave.

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
5 months ago
Reply to  Cheap Bastard

Been there, left academia for that reason. I don’t miss not knowing if I’d be able to pay rent in 3 weeks.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
5 months ago

“The reason you sacrifice so much now is to learn to do with less later.”

– Some professor somewhere

Younork
Younork
5 months ago

With all that being said, I saw my first one today, and it certainly is a handsome little cuv

Racer Esq.
Racer Esq.
5 months ago

The quality of an Alfa Romeo, the prestige of a Dodge.

Rafael
Rafael
5 months ago
Reply to  Racer Esq.

But the Alfa version, surprisingly, hasn’t been plagued by those issues. Either that or Alfa owners are much more lenient.

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
5 months ago
Reply to  Rafael

My brother’s Alfa 146 started second time, every time. He was grateful.

Rafael
Rafael
5 months ago
Reply to  Captain Muppet

I’m no mechanic, so I might be talking bullshit, but when I had a Fiat in my old country, I had to turn the key halfway to start the electric system, and after a second or two I could turn the rest of the way. My mechanic told me that the fuel pump wasn’t ready if I turned the key all the way with the car cold.

Captain Muppet
Captain Muppet
5 months ago
Reply to  Rafael

We tried everything, slowly turning it on with a delay at each position and anything else we could think off over four/five years with the car. It would never start first time. Sometimes it wouldn’t start at all, obviously, because Alfa. He also took it to the dealer (who didn’t fix it but did smash his fog light), a specialist and our trusted mechanic.

I had a Lotus Elise that wouldn’t start without the fuel pump priming for a couple of seconds, the Alfa issue wasn’t that.

I’m also not a mechanic, but I am a mechanical engineer, and former OEM ICE designer, as far as I could tell the Alfa problem was “character”, or maybe it was haunted.

The car is long dead now though, because it was built 26 years ago out of Italian steel.

Cam.man67
Cam.man67
5 months ago

Alfa’s gonna Alfa.

Rabob Rabob
Rabob Rabob
5 months ago

as someone who grew up riding a plated dirt bike as a teenager for transportation, the parents freaking out about their adult children’s safety driving a brand new crossover is just weird

Cerberus
Cerberus
5 months ago
Reply to  Rabob Rabob

Similar to my thoughts. As new drivers, we had shit boxes that would stall, die while driving—hell one guy’s car had a door that sometimes flew open in turns—and everyone dealt with it with a shrug. Even non mechanical, non-car people knew some special trick they needed to do to start the car or keep it running or what have you. I am often disgusted at how soft I let myself become, but then I read shit like that and I’m just grateful as it means our extinction is just a short span of tech disruption away and it can’t come too soon.

Younork
Younork
5 months ago
Reply to  Rabob Rabob

I think the bigger factor is that she is alone on the opposite side of the country with no one to come get her from the side of the road

Rabob Rabob
Rabob Rabob
5 months ago
Reply to  Younork

You’re in a first world country with cell coverage everywhere. Unplug and plug the battery back in. Google solutions. Call AAA. What is this “come get me from the side of the road”?

Alan Christensen
Alan Christensen
5 months ago

I had to drive an AMC Hornet as a company car. Except for the engine it was total crap. Chrysler acquired the Hornet name when it bought AMC. So I guess it’s only appropriate they use the name on another piece of crap. Or does the name carry a curse that turns okay cars into crap?

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
5 months ago

The Hudson Hornets had a decent rep

Alan Christensen
Alan Christensen
5 months ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

True.

Geoffrey Reuther
Geoffrey Reuther
5 months ago

I had a ’74 Hornet for a while. It was no worse than any other early 70’s American car I drove.

Not that “Malaise” is a terribly high bar.

SirRaoulDuke
SirRaoulDuke
5 months ago

I just spent 30 minutes reading through the forums…holy shit lol.

Attila the Hatchback
Attila the Hatchback
5 months ago

Dodge Hornet vs. Vinfast VF8: which one leaves you on the side of the road first??

SNL-LOL Jr
SNL-LOL Jr
5 months ago

A country with a long and storied history of unreliable autos vs. a country with no history of auto manufacturing. Hmm….

Kurt Hahn
Kurt Hahn
5 months ago
Reply to  SNL-LOL Jr

Actually, Vietnam does have some history in auto manufacturing: they used to produce a localized version of the Citroen Méhari, which was a Jeep-style body on a 2CV chassis and engine/gearbox. It was colloquially called the Citroen Dalat, because the factory was in or near the city of Dalat (Da Lat). They probably imported the chassis/floor plan with the engine and gearbox already installed, and manufactured and installed their own body and interior. The body was a little different, a little boxier and somewhat cruder in appearance , and it was made out of steel instead of fiberglass like the Méhari.
There was also a Honda factory producing their famous 50cc bike (SS50 or Honda 67 in Vietnam, or Benly in the UK).
😉

HowDoYouCrash
HowDoYouCrash
5 months ago

I’ll never understand folks buying cars like they are wealthy enthusiasts. Could have picked up literally any Toyota, Honda, Mazda, Hyundai/Kia, Subaru, hell even Ford product in this price range and been fine for at least 3-4 years (Ford, Subaru, Hyundai) or much much longer for the others.

Style really does sell these cars. I guess so too does Stellantis’ laissez faire attitude towards credit worthiness.

Poor teachers of the world. Just buy a Nissan Rogue. Same shitty dealers, same slimy finance guys, but at least the car will work.

Seth Simon
Seth Simon
5 months ago
Reply to  HowDoYouCrash

Will it though? It’s not like Nissan hasn’t had its fair share of durability and reliability issues.

Brent Bevis
Brent Bevis
5 months ago
Reply to  Seth Simon

The Rogues are fine, just not very fun to drive.

Seth Simon
Seth Simon
5 months ago
Reply to  Brent Bevis

Current ones perhaps, previous Nissans can be iffy.

Ecsta C3PO
Ecsta C3PO
5 months ago
Reply to  Seth Simon

Nissans at least usually work fine when under warranty, as long as you pass along the CVT time bomb before 5 yrs

SarlaccRoadster
SarlaccRoadster
5 months ago
Reply to  HowDoYouCrash

I feel like adaptive cruise not working seems less of an issue than the non-repairable JATCO CVT in the Nissan doing its thing

Vic Vinegar
Vic Vinegar
5 months ago
Reply to  HowDoYouCrash

Most people don’t do that much research. Not saying it is an excuse, but they don’t.

“That looks like a nice car”.
“Oh it has heated seats!?”
“I can afford those monthly payments.” (also see “Wow, you can get me a loan? The Honda/Toyota dealer couldn’t”)
“I like that red one (or any of the several others based their 517 day supply) on the lot that I can drive home today”

There you go, you now own a Dodge Hornet.

Or maybe you’ve heard Dodge quality isn’t great, but surely it can’t be that bad! And I like this car and it has a lot of features for the money.

Meanwhile there are tumbleweeds blowing through the new car lot at Toyota. Want a RAV4? Well we got one over there, and the GM thinks it is worth $5k more than sticker.

HowDoYouCrash
HowDoYouCrash
5 months ago
Reply to  Vic Vinegar

haha, fair points all round. I thought the crazy markup days were done at Toyota? (besides PHEVs, all my boomer friends and uber drivers want one)

Vic Vinegar
Vic Vinegar
5 months ago
Reply to  HowDoYouCrash

For a basic old RAV4, maybe. You aren’t getting a discount like at the Dodge dealer though. And that is way it has always been.

Voeltzwagen
Voeltzwagen
5 months ago

What a buzzkill.

Last edited 5 months ago by Voeltzwagen
Santiago Iglesias
Santiago Iglesias
5 months ago

Shit all over Italy if you want, but like you said the Tonale has been on sale already for a while. It’s very possible and likely that quite a lot of these systems (acc etc) are different on the Hornet, and Stellantis USA was definitely involved in the calibration of the car as well as “validation” (lolol)

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