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

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain

“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.

Timothy Cain
Timothy Cain

More by Timothy Cain

Join the conversation
2 of 57 comments
  • Jeff S Jeff S on Sep 23, 2017

    If you add weight to a vehicle and a tall boxy profile it will get less mpgs. That is the problem when you add two extra doors and safety equipment. There are no true compact trucks offered by the manufacturers just as there are no true mini-vans (mini-vans in name only but not mini in size).

  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on Sep 24, 2017

    We don't need any more "proper" pickups. We need some Rancheros and El Caminos. Ford did it first, using the compact Falcon platform, then GM made the El Camino from its mid-size Malibu platform. The modern equivalent would be a Focus-based Ranchero and a Cruze-based El Camino. Landscapers, small time haulers, and home gardeners need a replacement for their Rangers, and married men need the upscale models to avoid having to take the kids and mother-in-law to the hardware store with them. That's a big market that wouldn't impact the full size pickup market.

  • Mike Some Evs are hitting their 3 year lease residual values in 6 months.
  • Tassos Jong-iL I am just here for the beer! (did I say it right?)
  • El scotto Tim, to be tactful I think a great many of us would like a transcript of TTAC's podcast. 90 minutes is just too long for most of us to listen. -evil El Scotto kicking in- The blog at best provides amusement, 90 minutes is just too much. Way too much.
  • TooManyCars VoGhost; I was referring more to the Canadian context, but the same graft is occurring in the US of A and Europe. Political affiliation appears to be irrelevant.
  • The Oracle Going to see a lot of corporations migrating out of Delaware as the state of incorporation. Musk sets trends, he doesn’t follow them.