Your Semi-regular Reminder That a Hyundai Pickup Is on the Way
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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Sadly, it will be just another midsize, not a small pickup!
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.