Kia’s also building one, but it’s coming at a later date

Hyundai does not have a pickup in its lineup now, but that’s going to change soon now that a company executive has confirmed that a production model is currently under development. No timetable has been set in place, but the current schedule estimates that it could launch sometime in 2020. At the moment, the design of the production model is said to be finished, and the process of putting it into production is currently underway.

Hyundai Exec Confirms Production of the 2015 Santa Cruz Concept High Resolution Exterior
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We already know what Hyundai’s capable of when it comes to building a pickup. It showed “what was possible” back in 2015 when it introduced the Santa Cruz Concept at the North American International Auto Show. That concept was not only well received by the public; it started a discussion on when Hyundai should build it. It took a few years — four, to be exact — but it seems that the Hyundai pickup that we’ve all been waiting for is now being prepared for production.

Hyundai’s own chief design officer, Luc Donckerwolke, made that clear in a conversation with Autocar. According to Donckerwolke, the yet-to-be-named pickup is currently under development and that it will launch as soon as possible. “From my side [design], it is finished, the process to put it into production is now underway.”

That’s the good news, though. If it weren’t for the company’s focus on electrification, the production model would have already been here. I’m not complaining, though. I’m happy that we’re finally going to see a production version of the Santa Cruz Concept.

The concept had all the makings of a contender in what has become a super competitive segment in the auto industry.

The Santa Cruz Concept was powered by a 2.0-liter turbo diesel powertrain that produced 190 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque, while achieving fuel economy in the high 30 mpg range. Hyundai didn’t mention how much bed space it had or how big its towing capacity is, but those questions are now going to be answered sooner than later.

Hyundai Exec Confirms Production of the 2015 Santa Cruz Concept High Resolution Exterior
- image 610687

Speaking of unanswered questions, there’s no confirmation, either, on where Hyundai plans to enter its first pickup. The more possible scenario would be to for the Korean automaker to target the American “compact” market that’s currently dominated by models like the Ford Ranger and the Toyota Tacoma. This market would also cater to a broader global market appeal, something that Hyundai could tap into to increase exposure of the new model.

The other possible scenario is for the pickup to compete in the full-size pickup segment where it will line up against successful models like the Ram 1500 and the Chevrolet Silverado.

That segment also happens to include the Ford F-150, considered as the top-selling model in the U.S.

Obviously, Hyundai still needs to answer a lot of questions about the pickup before we know more details about its future. That’s fair. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so we’re not expecting Hyundai to rush production of its first pickup, either. The important thing is to have all the details planned out so that when production of the model gets underway, we’re not going to find any surprises along the way.

Speaking of surprises, it appears that Hyundai isn’t the only automaker that’s dipping its toes into the pickup segment. Sister company Kia is also getting into the market, so says its new chief operating officer in the U.S., Brit Michael Cole. According to Cole, a Kia pickup is “something we could look at.” He did temper expectations, adding that the pickup doesn’t take priority over building its entire SUV range. That’s where Kia’s focus is at the moment, specifically on the launch of the production version of the Telluride SUV, which is set to take place sometime next year.

Hyundai Exec Confirms Production of the 2015 Santa Cruz Concept High Resolution Exterior
- image 610686

Regardless of how their respective timetables, it appears that the pickup segment is about to get more crowded than it already is. Hyundai and Kia are throwing their names into the hat, and once those models are launched, we could be looking at a segment that’s going to become more competitive than it already is.

Further reading

Hyundai Exec Confirms Production of the 2015 Santa Cruz Concept Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2015 Hyundai Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept.

Source: Autocar

Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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