Hyundai Says Santa Cruz Pickup Still Coming, but You'll Need to Be Patient

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
hyundai says santa cruz pickup still coming but youll need to be patient

Remember that Santa Cruz Concept pickup that miraculously appeared at the 2015 North American International Auto Show? Well, according to Hyundai, it’s still earmarked for future production, but the brand has really dragged its feet on its development.

Despite a warm welcome from the automotive media, the Santa Cruz hit a major speed bump when former CEO Dave Zuchowski left Hyundai Motor America. At the time, Zuchowski was pushing hard for more SUVs and especially the pickup truck, but sliding domestic deliveries forced home office to oust him from his position. Tragically, Hyundai’s preponderance of cars is probably the largest factor contributing to lackluster U.S. sales — something Dave seemed to understand.

Hyundai continued its pursuit of SUVs and crossovers without him, but the pickup was lost in the mix. Originally planned for a 2018 release, development of the Santa Cruz stagnated. Now, the automaker says it intends to get things back on track.

“We love it,” Brian Smith, chief operating officer of Hyundai Motor America, told Motor Trend in a recent interview. “We talk about it a lot.”

It seems the management shakeup set back development quite a bit. Smith said the pickup probably won’t arrive until 2020 now. That’s a bummer for Hyundai, as rival automakers have begun dabbling in the modestly sized truck market. Mercedes-Benz has the X-Class, Ford brought back the Ranger, and Volkswagen is teasing the idea of an Atlas-based pickup.

Meanwhile, General Motors and most Japanese automakers already have a slice of the pie. Even Mitsubishi has said it might be a good idea to get a mid-sized truck back into North America, while BMW’s Australian arm is practically begging for a ute. Hyundai could have been an upstart, but now it looks like it’ll be another brand tagging along in a segment that’s regaining relevance.

When the Santa Cruz does come, Smith said it will have four-doors, five seats, and be based on the Tucson. It also won’t look like the concept vehicle from 2015. But it will be real, and that’s the important thing.

[Images: Hyundai]

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  • Dwford Dwford on Apr 20, 2018

    It's so infuriating when automakers hedge on an amazing concept due to internal politics etc. GM botched the Fiero because at the time they needed it pitched as some commuter car instead of a cheap mid engine sports car it was meant to be. More recently, Toyota botched the CH-R by hobbling it with front wheel drive, no upgrade engine, and a crappy interior. Now Hyundai is doing the same with the Santa Cruz. Of course, Subaru has being doing that to us for years with amazing Impreza/WRX concepts that get totally ruined in production form. Hint to automakers: if you have an amazing idea (an ACTUAL amazing idea) PUT IT INTO PRODUCTION!! Don't chicken out and let the weasels in the accounting office or marketing department ruin it.

    • See 6 previous
    • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Apr 23, 2018

      @Big Al from Oz Art, I don't know about the Santa Fe exports. But I do know the US gets the previous model. So, wherever the US exports gets an older vehicle. We get the US made Highlander renamed Kluger for the past several years. But Toyota has the Fortuna (Hilux version of a Surf) which is around the same price, size, BOF, hi-lo tx case, diesel, etc. These are made in Thailand and represent far better value and real off road ability.

  • RHD RHD on Apr 20, 2018

    The vehicle doesn't sell the vehicle, the financing sells the vehicle. (In most cases - the B&B are a different group of cats.) Put this thing in the showroom with a few mini spotlights and a 199/month lease or an 84-month loan and the suckers will drive it home. "At Hyundai, your job is your credit!" Waiting around for well-informed buyers with good credit will make for a lot of laid-off salespeople. So I'm feeling a little cynical today - but that's the truth. If the salesman can shoehorn that butt into that seat, the unit gets moved. That's why so many Scions went to grandparents, and single mothers are driving new Chargers. Waiting for a truly matched pair just ain't reality. So as long as Hyundai puts this sparkly little warmed-over Subaru Baja under the shiny lights to attract the bugs, they will sell them, whether it's actually useful or not.

    • Vulpine Vulpine on Apr 22, 2018

      It's too bad you don't understand the REAL reason so many grandparents moved into Scions (and similarly-sized vehicles.) Sure, the cheap price is obviously one factor but the simple fact is that not every elderly individual needs or wants a giant car; they just want something easy to get around in that doesn't cost an arm and a leg in fuel. Remember, those retired people don't have the advantage of working overtime to supplement their (minimal) base pay.

  • Xidex i haven't even turned the dial to AM since the 90's I think at that time it was only because there is one station i liked was on the AM dial (it is no longer around) Someone had to point to the station otherwise i wouldn't have even scanned the AM dial. I still think the AM dial should be left on radios though, If no one listened to it then there wouldn't be any stations would there.
  • Kwik_Shift I have five AM stations preset, each different from one another in terms of content. Some politics, some day to day, some do it yourselfing or help. Focus is more on local news and events. FM is just about pushing crap music and djs pushing the MSM message for their corporate overlords. FM is about making radio sound exactly the same all over North America. I like ONE FM station that plays different varieties of country music and has an entertaining dj. Overall, to each their own.
  • Kat Laneaux What's the benefits of this as opposed to the Ford or Nissan. Will the mileage be better than the 19 city, 24 hwy? Will it cost less than the average of $60,000? Will it be a hybrid?
  • Johnster Minor quibble. The down-sized full-sized 1980-only Continental (which was available with Town Car and Town Coupe trims) gave up its name in 1981 and became the Town Car. The name "Town Coupe" was never used after the 1980 model year. The 1981 Lincoln Town Car was available with a 2-door body style, but the 2-door Lincoln Town Car was discontinued and not offered for the 1982 model year and never returned to the Lincoln lineup.
  • Zipper69 Some discreet dwebadging and this will pass for a $95k Lucid Air...