Hyundai's crossover truck is coming to America and being built here.
It was about five years ago that Hyundai's Santa Cruz truck first showed its face as a concept. We all got excited at the idea of a compact truck for the American market. Sure, everyone wants a big rig, but in reality, a lot of people only need small trucks, and affordability is a factor that shouldn't be written off. Hyundai later promised the Santa Cruz would happen, and now the South Korean automaker has announced that not only will it happen, but it will be built at the company's assembly plant in Montgomery, Alabama, as early as 2021.
"Bringing the Santa Cruz to HMMA [Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama] demonstrates that Hyundai Motor Company is confident our more than 3,000 team members are ready to build a quality crossover for the US market," said Byungjin Jin, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama.
The key word there is "crossover," and Hyundai stresses the Santa Cruz has the "traditional attributes of a compact utility vehicle, but the day-to-day versatility of an open bed. It's the crossover that creates a whole new segment that successfully combines capability and utility to meet the unspoken needs of a new generation of buyers, especially Millennials."
Actual details are scarce, but reports suggest the Santa Cruz will be built on a robust ladder-frame chassis as we see on full-size trucks. If that's the case, and we suspect it is, then an all-wheel-drive version is also a likelihood. It won't look exactly like the concept as, when we last checked in, the design wasn't finalized. However, with plans to put the truck into production, we should start seeing prototypes out on the roads shortly.
Hyundai is genuinely committing to the Santa Cruz with the plant requiring a $410 million expansion to support the addition of the new model to the production of Hyundai's Santa Fe crossover and the Sonata and Elantra sedans.