Interview

Is Hyundai Secretly Working On A 'Real' Pickup Truck?

Because the Santa Cruz concept technically isn't a "real" truck.

The Hyundai Santa Cruz looks like it will eventually see production, although what year that release will be in hasn’t been announced. However, it looks like a pickup could possibly join the Santa Cruz, although this model would be a proper competitor in the light truck segment. CarAdvice spoke to Hyundai Australia’s COO, Scott Grant, about the possibility of the South Korean automaker building a true ute or light pickup. Apparently the word is that the Hyundai head honchos are warming up to the idea.

“We’ve got a planning horizon in place where they’re looking at the vehicle quite seriously, but there is yet to be a commitment to produce,” Grant said. He also made sure to mention that any potential Hyundai pickup won’t see the light of day “this side of 2020.” Apparently the idea has gained steam due to demand from various markets. Unbeknownst to us Americans, pickup-crazy Australians have been asking Hyundai to make a real ute/light truck for years. Grant says that for a while the automaker listened to Hyundai Australia’s pleas for a pickup halfheartedly but now they are seriously considering the project. If produced, the Hyundai pickup would be different from the Santa Cruz.

The Santa Cruz will be more like the Honda Ridgeline in that it will feature a unibdoy design, be FWD and share a platform with an existing SUV. A Hyundai pickup, if indeed it is “proper” and a rival to the likes of the Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux like CarAdvice says, would need to have a body-on-frame design and be rear-wheel drive. Developing this platform, or working out a deal to partner with another automaker, would take time, hence the not “this side of 2020” outlook from Hyundai Australia’s Scott Grant. Perhaps our biggest question regarding the possibility of a “real” Hyundai pickup is if the truck would make it stateside or if it would stay away like the not-for-the-US Ford Ranger.

Americans are racing to dealerships to buy light trucks, which could make this model a potential goldmine. However, Hyundai may hedge its bets and see how the American public reacts to its Santa Cruz pseudo-pickup before making any moves. For now the idea of a Hyundai pickup seems to be on the right side of limbo. Glass half full, right?

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