But it needs to see demand before that.
At this year's Los Angeles Auto Show, CarBuzz had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Hyundai's Olabisi Boyle, Vice President of Product Planning and Mobility Strategy. During our interview with Boyle, we spoke about Hyundai's plans for the future and potential plans for two of its more popular models - the Hyundai Santa Cruz and Palisade.
Hyundai has found some success in the small truck space, even taking sales from what it says otherwise would've been traditional SUV or crossover buyers. Boyle thinks there's a few reasons for this and says Hyundai could even consider a hybrid version of the truck.
"We've been making conquest sales, and we found people who were considering SUVs will come and consider [Santa Cruz]. It's when your needs are not such that you're using it as a 'construction truck,' but you're using it for, 'I run to Home Depot every now and then. It's also bringing in a younger consumer that likes the styling," Boyle explained.
The subject of the conversation turned to the Tuscon, which is closely related to the Santa Cruz and is offered as a hybrid. When pressed about the potential of a hybrid Santa Cruz to pull sales away from the Maverick Hybrid, Boyle had this to say: "If we find a customer draw for it, it'll be part of our planning."
Put another way, Hyundai needs to see demand from consumers. With the Santa Cruz netting a combined 23 mpg compared to a Maverick Hybrid's 37 or more mpg, we think demand could certainly be there.
We also spoke with Boyle about the brand's HEV and PHEV lineup, which tends to lend itself to high-volume models like the Tuscon and Santa Fe. That leaves models at the very top (like the Palisade) and bottom (like the Venue) unassisted by wattage for now. Boyle says there's a reason the largest and smallest ends of the lineup haven't gone there yet.
"It's not so much because of 'high-end low-end,' but core. Tuscon is a core model for us, Santa Fe is a core model for us," Boyle says. She tells us that not everyone is ready to get into a fully-electric vehicle.
Again, when pressed about the potential for a hybrid Palisade, Boyle says the consumers have to speak up. "If we find that consumers want it, we will make it." Hyundai appears comfortable with its efforts across both the Santa Fe and the Palisade, but it's always looking for a way to expand and push the envelope. If Ford continues to pull buyers into Maverick seats, Hyundai may be forced to respond.