Because it has just been confirmed for production.
Hyundai showed off the flagship of its new Genesis brand, the G90, at the Detroit Auto Show, but the automaker also made waves for a model not on the floor. In talking with Australian reporters, Hyundai US boss Dave Zuchowski confirmed that the Santa Cruz was going into production. “What’s the easiest way to say that? We’re waiting more for an announcement than we are for an approval, right? HMC [Hyundai Korea head office] is going to dictate [when that happens, but] we feel really good about it.”
That’s about as official an announcement as you can get without a corporate press release being issued. Now when the concept first debuted at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show it was quite the shock, but the fact that it’s going into production should surprise no one. The pickup was well-received by the press and there had been rumblings recently and throughout last year that it would go from concept to reality. The pickup won’t be a body-on-frame design, so we don’t expect it to compete directly with the major players in the hot-selling mid-size truck market. In terms of a direct rival, well that would probably be the newly revealed Honda Ridgeline.
Hyundai knows this and sees the Santa Cruz as an alternative to crossovers or sedans, but we still wouldn’t be shocked to see it siphon away some light truck buyers. The reason being is that there currently isn’t any alternative to something like a Toyota Tacoma or GMC Canyon. If you want a bed in the back, you need to buy a traditional truck. The Santa Cruz offers the functionality of a truck (to a point) while eschewing tradition. We should know more about its platform, probably the Santa Fe, and power plant when an official announcement is made.