Back in early 2015, Hyundai brought a concept pickup truck to the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. It was called the Santa Cruz and it received no small amount of attention as a small truck concept, ultimately bringing home the Concept Truck of the Year from the North American Concept Vehicle Awards held later in 2015. Lots of people liked it, and the automaker had the wheels turning on a production version, though curiously enough it seemed Hyundai had cold feet about launching it in the United States.
Now, it seems those feet have warmed up. Speaking to Reuters, Hyundai Vice President of Corporate and Product Planning in the U.S. Michael J. O’Brien said that the automaker’s top brass has given the nod to launching a pickup truck stateside. The report stops short of saying it will be a production version of the Santa Cruz, but rather a truck similar to the show vehicle. As for exactly when it will arrive, that’s not been established however the manufacturer is planning to launch updated versions of the Santa Fe SUV in the next two years, as well as a new Tucson for 2020.
It’s believed the new pickup – whether it’s called Santa Cruz or something else – will be based on the Tuscon’s compact crossover architecture. We previously reported the truck could go on sale in 2018 as a 2019 model, though if it’s tied to the new Tucson a debut could come a little bit later.
When it does go on sale – as well as the updated Santa Fe and Tuscon models – we suspect Hyundai dealers in the U.S. will be quite happy. The automaker’s sales have fallen 11 percent so far in 2017, much worse than the average 3 percent drop across the industry. The nosedive in sales could well be tied to Hyundai’s focus on sedans, which buyers are abandoning in droves for crossovers, sport-utility vehicles, and pickup trucks.