Back in January 2015 Hyundai revealed the Santa Cruz concept pickup, going so far as to say that the concept was “beyond the approval point” for production. However, the Korean automaker has been mostly mute on the subject since the initial reveal until now.
According to a report from Australian publication Car Advice the idea of a Hyundai pickup isn’t dead, but postponed to sometime after 2020. The news is actually fairly official as it came from an interview with Hyundai Australia chief operating officer Scott Grant.
Grant told Car Advice, “It’s been advanced as we understand it. it won’t be anything this side of 2020. 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. I can’t confirm what or when, but it’s a slightly different message. Not any time soon but it’s starting to feel like there’s some movement.”
Essentially it sounds as if the pickup truck idea has been a fairly low priority within the ranks of Hyundai. This is perhaps a bit of a surprise given the current dynamics of the marketplace. With gas prices lower truck sales are on a significant upswing, with a 13-percent gain year-to-date in the U.S.
The Santa Cruz concept was a pickup primarily in function more so than form. With a unibody platform, the Santa Cruz follows the Honda Ridgeline form factor versus a traditional body-on-frame pickup. Hyundai admitted at the time of the reveal that the car-based pickup concept is difficult to pull off in the market, but that they felt they had it figured out. The concept version was also powered by a diesel engine.
So it sounds as if Hyundai will eventually enter the pickup truck market, but it’s going to be next decade at the earliest. It will be interesting to see if it ultimately proves to be too late for them given the truck segment is booming now.