A Proper Pickup Truck, Not Just a Santa Cruz, Is Being Considered For Production at Hyundai

“We’ve been talking about it for a number of years now,” Hyundai Australia’s chief operating officer, Scott Grant, said at the Genesis G70 global reveal.

No, he’s not talking about the G70, or any Genesis for that matter. He’s not talking about the H-100 pictured above. He’s not talking about the Tucson-based Hyundai Santa Cruz that finally seems destined for production after years of back-and-forth indecision.

Hyundai is now considering a true pickup truck. “We’re confident of having something on the other side of 2020,” Grant says.

Hyundai’s coming for your pickup truck market share, Nissan.

Of course, “the other side of 2020,” is not the most specific of timelines, but it’s one borne out of an otherwise predictable schedule that’s prioritizing other projects.

“About 12 months, 18 months ago, we began a study about developing a light commercial vehicle for our part of the market, as well as for what North America likes,” Hyundai Australia’s COO tells Motoring. Without KDM targeting or the global intentions of, say, the Hyundai Elantra, a HiLux/Tacoma-fighting pickup truck from Hyundai is bound to remain perpetually on the backburner.Indeed, while Grant told Australian journalists that the Aussie subsidiary had been discussing such a project “for a number of years,” he also specified that the HQ in Seoul “has been listening, typically, but not necessarily taking a lot of action.”

That’s changed, Grant contends. While there’s no real timeline, the process of developing a proper pickup truck now involves “a far more vigorous study program in HMC [Hyundai Motor Corporation] than previously.”

“They were listening but not acting,” says Hyundai Australia’s COO. “Now they’re acting.”

In Australia, the Santa Cruz Concept isn’t believed to be capable of meeting the rugged needs of vehicles that top the sales charts. The Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger rank as Australia’s No.1 and No.2 best-selling vehicles, respectively, and in August claimed 8 percent market share, combined.

Stateside, more than eight out of every ten pickup trucks sold are Detroit nameplates, leaving little space for yet another interloper from a non-traditional pickup truck builder.

Of course, there was a time, not that long ago in the grand history of the automobile, when Hyundai owned no slice of America’s passenger car market, either.

[Image Hyundai]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.


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