By on December 3, 2018

Hyundai Grille Emblem Detroit Auto Show, Image: © 2017 Sajeev Mehta/The Truth About Cars 2017

Reservation holders of a base-model Tesla Model 3 aren’t the only consumers who’ve grown tired of waiting. Aficionados of the Hyundai brand have been champing at the bit for a Korean pickup ever since the delightful Santa Cruz concept debuted at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, only to see their dreams of ownership placed in a hazy limbo.

In October, Hyundai Motor Company CEO Wonhee Lee suggested the model still isn’t greenlit, despite earlier assertions to the contrary, with R&D still in the initial phases. With the brand’s U.S. comeback still an uncertain thing, top brass were on the fence about the model’s ability to carve out its own compact niche in the burgeoning downsized truck market. Now, we hear it’s totally a sure thing.

Oh, and there could be a Kia pickup, too.

Speaking to Autocar at last week’s L.A. Auto Show, Hyundai’s dapper design chief, Luc Donckerwolke, said he’s already finished sculpting the future model, which should arrive “as soon as possible.”

“From my side [design] it is finished, the process to put it into production is now under way,” Donckerwolke said.

How soon is soon? Lee stated previously that the model could be on dealer lots within 32 months, which points to a 2021 introduction and late-2020 reveal, but no firm timeline exists at this point. The question of whether Americans would be receptive to the four-seat, sliding bed unibody pickup still weighs heavily on the minds of Hyundai brass. Certainly, overseas markets used to the presence of such vehicles might prove more receptive.

Adding fuel to the speculation fire, Donckerwolke claimed a Kia version of the truck is under consideration. This model, if greenlit, would arrive after the debut of its Hyundai cousin.

When pressed on the Kia pickup, the brand’s U.S. chief operating officer, Brit Michael Cole, said it’s “something we could look at” — hardly an enthusiastic endorsement of the idea — but added that any such model would have to arrive after the brand’s new utility vehicles were already firmly in place (and, presumably, making hay).

[Images: © 2017 Sajeev Mehta/The Truth About Cars, Hyundai]

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19 Comments on “Your Semi-regular Reminder That a Hyundai Pickup Is on the Way...”

  • avatar

    This little truck would attract customers into the showroom. What is to be gained by waiting?

    • 0 avatar

      What’s to be gained (by waiting) is you put off buying the Tacoma (or what ever), based on a pending Korean trucklet, that’ll never really happen.

      Maybe you buy a Korean CUV while waiting? Either way, Subaru total sales increased slightly while the Baja was in production, but total Subaru profits dipped slightly in that time frame.

      • 0 avatar

        I agree. People will delay making a decision until this trucklet can actually convey that up-close-and-personal touchy-feely experience.

        Ditto with the Jeep Gladiator. It will have a profound effect on the sales of Tacoma. Not so much on GM or Ford’s run-of-the-mill offerings.

    • 0 avatar

      There’s really no choice as the Santa Cruz has to wait for the new platform that will be shared w/ the next gen Tucson, as well as waiting for Hyundai’s US plant to be retooled to build both the Tuscon and Santa Cruz.

    • 0 avatar

      We are the only ones waiting, as per the article, the vehicle is in development. It takes a long time to design and produce an all-new vehicle.

  • avatar

    Subaru Baja.

    “With Subaru projecting to sell 24,000 per year,[7][8] 30,000 were marketed over four and a half years.”

    • 0 avatar

      Maybe the Subaru like the Aztek were just a bit ahead of their time, but time is running out on waiting forever for this

      • 0 avatar

        Alternately, Hyundai saw the writing on the wall with Subaru’s performance and realized that premium trucklets don’t sell in the US market.

        Compact unibody trucks seem to do fine just south of the US border, so perhaps there’s still a North American market for the things. I just wouldn’t hold my breath for a U.S. release.

    • 0 avatar

      History is no predictor of the future.
      Ford canceled the Ranger. GM canceled the Colorado and Canyon. FCA canceled the Dakota. Mitsubishi canceled the Raider. Isuzu left North America and took it’s midsize pickup and SUV’s with it. Suzuki canceled the Equator. Honda ended production of the Ridgeline with no replacement.
      Why? There is no market for midsize trucks.

      • 0 avatar

        • Ford canceled the Ranger.
        — Ford is bringing the Ranger back.

        • GM canceled the Colorado and Canyon.
        — GM brought them both back.

        • FCA canceled the Dakota
        — FCA is bringing us the Gladiator

        • Mitsubishi canceled the Raider.
        • Isuzu left North America and took it’s midsize pickup and SUV’s with it.
        • Suzuki canceled the Equator.
        — All true; but they also effectively went broke in the US for more reasons than just their trucks

        • Honda ended production of the Ridgeline with no replacement.
        — Honda brought in a replacement.

        It seems that there’s a bigger market for mid-sized trucks than you want to believe.

  • avatar

    Too late for me, since I’ve already purchased something else, but I’ll be following this thing until it either hits the roads or finally dies.

  • avatar

    Too late for me, since I’ve already purchased something else, but I’ll be following this thing until it either hits the roads or finally dies.

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I may be in the market for exactly what the concept truck is in about 6 months if things pan out how I’d like.
    But, we all know it won’t be anything like that once it hits the lots. It’ll be a Santa Fe with the roof lopped off the back ala the Ridgeline.

    As it stands now, I’m looking at the Colorado/Canyon twins and they are way bigger than I need. The Taco is too expensive for what you get, the Frontier is the same and the resale on those is terrible compared to the others. So I’m stuck with having to pay more for size I don’t want – which is exactly why small trucks disappeared in the first place. They know they’ve got truck buyers.

    Speaking of small trucks, anyone else notice what people are asking for late run low mile Rangers?

    That was a sound investment in 2011.

    • 0 avatar

      @Land Ark: That’s almost exactly where I’ve been standing on a truck for the last four years (after I sold my F-150. The Colorado I purchased is much larger than I wanted… while my 21-year-old Ranger was much weaker than I needed. Still, I got full asking price on the Ranger at least partially because it had ludicrously-low mileage on the clock at a mere 26,000 (it sat garaged for 13 years.)

      For me is was a big toss-up between the Colorado and the Tacoma, with the Colorado winning, for me, on fuel mileage and transmission with tow/haul mode as we’ve decided to search out a towable RV. I also am not a fan of the looks of the Tacoma, even though the extended-cab version–outside of driver legroom–was exactly what I wanted. Toyota just made too many mistakes and waited too long for relevant updates to satisfy my needs and wants. Besides, my Chevy dealer is only about 4 miles away; the Toyota dealer is notably farther, in another state.

    • 0 avatar

      Make that the next gen Tucson w/ the rear lopped off.

  • avatar

    Sadly, it will be just another midsize, not a small pickup!

    • 0 avatar

      Sharing a platform w/ the next Tucson so it’ll be a compact.

      Hyundai is evidently working on a larger (BoF) pick-up and SUV to compete w/ the likes of the Hilux, Navara, etc.

  • avatar

    I never could understand why Kia didn’t build a proper pickup off the Borrego/Mojave SUV. I think it would have done well for them.

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