The Santa Cruz pickup concept Hyundai showed off January 2015 at the Detroit auto show has long been rumored to be making the leap to a production vehicle, but those rumours were quelled recently when Hyundai USA executive Michael J. O’Brien confirmed the brand’s South Korean head honchos have said “yes” to adding a truck to the American marketplace.
As you might expect, the decision is part of a stronger push into utility vehicle segments to counter slumping sedan sales, Reuters reports.
While we’d assume the Hyundai pickup coming north of the 49th parallel would be kind of a given, Hyundai Canada’s senior manager of public relations, Chad Heard, said the company is not ready to commit to its inclusion in the lineup here.
“Hyundai Auto Canada is aware of U.S. reports about the Santa Cruz,” said Heard. “The company is evaluating the concept vehicle and its applicability for this market. As a result, it’s too early to discuss the vehicle’s potential or product details.”
In the U.S., Hyundai’s 2017 sales are down nearly 11 percent through July compared to the same period last year, while its Canadian numbers have fallen 9.1 percent. Those are stats the company’s American execs think could be reversed by swapping out car models for utility vehicles, which now make up nearly a third of new vehicle sales in the U.S.
While O’Brien didn’t give a date for the pickup’s arrival, other unnamed sources within the company said it’s expected to go on sale in 2020. In the meantime, Hyundai will roll out three other new or redesigned SUVs, including an all-new small utility called the Kona.