Multiple cab configurations are at least under consideration.
The production version of the Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup is reportedly closer than ever to seeing the road because Hyundai Australia CEO John Kett says that early development is underway. The company showed the original concept for the truck way back at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show.
Gallery: Hyundai Santa Cruz could spawn a Kia pickup truck
"What’s clear to us is that if we’re going to bring a ute out, it had better be a ute," Kett told Which Car from Australia. "We’ve got past the first hurdle of what it needs to look like, but it needs to be functional as well. That’s the important part."
He says that Hyundai's truck uses a ladder-frame chassis and that Kia is sharing the development costs, which fits with earlier rumors of both brands getting a version of the pickup. Kett also hints at two- and four-wheel drive drivetrains being available and the possibility of multiple cab variants. These decisions are still in flux, though. "We want to be smart about it and that’s what we’re going through at the moment," Kett told Which Car.
Hyundai has previously said that if a production version of the Santa Cruz is available in the United States, then it would need to have an assembly location in the country. The infamous American Chicken Tax puts a 25 percent tariff on imported pickup trucks and some commercial vans.
The automaker also intends to make the production version of the pickup look different from the concept. For such a different product from other Hyundais and the brand's first pickup in the U.S., the styling strategy makes sense.
A debut date for the pickup is still a mystery, though. The most recent rumor is that production would begin in 2021, suggesting there's still quite a wait before Hyundai's pickup is in showrooms.