By on July 13, 2016

Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA)

As U.S. customers await the unannounced Santa Cruz-like sort-of ute they’ve been promised for some time, Australia is getting traction from Hyundai on a genuine midsize pickup.

Following much lobbying from down under, Hyundai Australia’s chief operating officer Scott Grant told Car Advice that company brass in South Korea are slowly coming into agreement on the need for a bona fide pickup, but fans will have to be patient.

“It’s been advanced as we understand it,” Grant told the publication. “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.”

Because of the automaker’s global plans, any Hyundai-badged pickup given the green light won’t appear before 2020.

Grant wasn’t talking about the Santa Cruz concept, which bowed in early 2015 and was focused mainly on the U.S. market. That vehicle — a youth-oriented four-seat unibody runabout with an abbreviated cargo bed — has been rumored for production since last year, though Hyundai hasn’t said when it will appear, or what form it will take.

No, the executive meant a real pickup that intends to play with the big midsize boys.

Australia already has a slew of midsize pickups to choose from, including the Ford Ranger, so sales success in that marketplace wouldn’t be surprising. The country remains a small market, so convincing an automaker to build a new product solely for the buyers of one (non-China) nation is a tall order. However, midsize pickup sales are healthy in North America, too — even Honda’s oddball Ridgeline is finding a surprising number of buyers.

Grant said corporate opinion began to shift recently, with the thinking now being “there’s a similar requirement in other markets, so we’re working towards something.”

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29 Comments on “Australia is Trying to Give the World a Hyundai Pickup, and is Succeeding...”


  • avatar
    Kenmore

    And here, as the day wanes and the thoughts of all turn to stops-on-the-way-home, stealthily emerges the post that will keep tepid temp IQs employed for the next 5 days.

    300 comments or I’m a chest freezer.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Build the Santa Cruz anyway and sell it in Australia too. Aussies love a good ute.

  • avatar
    JimC2

    Hyundai Bongo anyone?

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      God, the Bongo is in no way ready for first-world, everyday use.

      However, this Bongo all-terrain custom thingy is EFFING sweet.
      http://autoction.com/images/skogen_15.jpg

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        @CoreyDL,
        Does not even get classified as a truck here. Then again it sold as well as the Jeep Wrangler..not very well.
        It can carry heavy soviet era machine guns and a few light antiaircraft guns.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      I thought they only sold bongo trucks in the sort of countries we like to invade.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    *don’s Bono sunglasses*

    YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAHHHHH!

  • avatar
    RobertRyan

    I heard this sometime ago. ” 1 tonne ” market unlike the US Midsize Pickup, is on fire outside NA. Koreans are not going to let the Japanese and now Europeans let the booming market to them selves.
    Ford showed a video of a 2,400lb payload being dropped into the back of a Ranger from about 12ft up, the equivalent of 4,000lbs in the tray.. No dents this time.
    Outside of the SSanyong ,Koreans only build Vans( Global) light trucks( ISIS Specials) and Heavy Trucks( Korean Market only)

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @Steph Williams
      This Pickup was not SOLELY intended for Australia, but our Market heavily influences, Global Pickup tastes as we now test them for the European safety people and have a lot of input into the development of the Japanese models and have designed the current Ranger
      Honda Ridgeline is a US only product, not that suitable outside as other Pickups have a lot more capability

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        The utes are viable (didn’t you say that?), even though they are less capable.

        The Ridgeline will be closer to actual truck capabilities than utes, while still being a car-like unibody. Perhaps that could fill a niche nobody thought of. I could see it finding some takers.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          @JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N
          Got it the wrong way around. Ford Ute can tow 5,000lbs, has a 2,700lb payload,, cab chassis , pretty reasonable Off Road. I wonder what you think a Ute is? No they are not those mini pickups from Mexico
          http://i11.photobucket.com/albums/a186/RobRyan7/image_zpsp3sszjjw.jpeg

  • avatar
    JK43123

    Whatever happened to this:

    http://www.kia-world.net/334/

  • avatar
    bd2

    One issue (if this is to come to fruition) is where Hyundai would build it.

    Even if the “chicken-tax” weren’t going away, Hyundai has no extra capacity in NA and capacity in Korea is tight – esp. as Hyundai has a slew of additional models coming out (starting with the Ioniq, a couple of new crossovers, purportedly the Santa Cruz and all the new Genesis models).

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      They have a plant in Alabama.

      And if not…seems the Asian manufacturers are ready to play tag-team. Mazda is going to get Isuzu to build pickups for them. Hyundai may solicit space from Mazda in their Flat Rock plant.

      Or, they may try what’s become standard business practice: Pay-To-Play. BRIBE to get either an exemption from the Chicken Tax, or repeal altogether. Why not make their lobbyists work for their millions?…because they DO have lobbyists; every business has them and needs them. Those without them, become PREY.

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        “Hyundai may solicit space from Mazda in their Flat Rock plant.”

        No such place anymore. FRAP is a Ford owned plant now; home of the Mustang, Fusion and Continental.

        Hyundai’s plant in Alabama is at full capacity building Santa Fe Sports, Elantras and Sonatas. http://www.hmmausa.com/vehicles/

        They could buy the old Mitsu plant in Illinois to expand production, although Illinois seems to be labor union heavy.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      Not going to compete with Toyota or the rest of the Japanese in NA. Very little return for investment. That Hyundai Cruz was a NA initiated styling exercise

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    This has been an ongoing saga for around a year or so. I do believe Hyundai will end up making a good mid size pickup. It will need to be made in Thailand to be competitive in pricing as a Korean made pickup will cost too much and would most likely price it with the Amarok, Ranger, BT50 and HiLux.

    Hyundai does have a few engines at it’s disposal already for the pickup. The R22 German designed diesel (car orientated diesel) with around 140Kw and 440Nm, The nice V6 that’s available in the US in the Sorento/Santa Fe and a 2 litre gas four for an entry level work ute. Or a Korean version of a turbo EcoThirst.

    Another engine a diesel is a 2.9 litre inline 4 that’s used in the Kia 2900 forward control midsize truck with a lust for payload 1800kg (3 960lbs HD territory). A good little truck engine, but I do not know if it will meet our Euro VI emissions standards.

    I’d say Australia’s input into it’s design will be a necessity as Australia is now a leading pickup truck designer and developer for global pickups and SUVs. This is good as it displays the capacity in country to design and develop a flexible vehicle to suit all markets and not just a singular market, which would be easier.

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