Hyundai Group Still Considering Launching a Pickup Truck

Remember the 2004 Kia KCV4 Mojave pickup concept? Well, it’s 2013 and Hyundai and Kia still don’t have a pickup truck in their lineups. That could change in the future, as Hyundai is once again pondering the launch of a pickup truck model, according to the carmaker’s sales boss, Lee In-cheol.

Engineers and product planners in South Korea are at the stage of studying what size truck would be best, said Lee In-cheol, vice president of international sales.

“We do not have a pickup truck. Other than that, we cover almost every segment,” Lee told Automotive News at the Seoul Motor Show. “We are studying that one very hard – what kind of pickup truck we should produce, if we have to. Is it a big-size pickup truck like in the United States or a small kind of pickup truck?”

Despite the fact that dealers in the U.S. are asking for a pickup, Hyundai says it has no firm plans to produce one at the moment. Lee didn’t offer a timeline for a decision and added that Hyundai doesn’t know which market would be the first to get a pickup. However, the carmaker could choose to make a small truck for emerging markets.

Hyundai is suffering from the lack of pickups in its U.S. lineup, which are the country’s best-selling vehicles. The U.S. – South Korea free trade agreement that took effect in March 2012 allows Hyundai to sell Korean-built vehicles in the United States without having to pay import duties, but not pickups, as light-duty trucks and vans made in South Korea will still have a U.S. tariff of 25 percent until 2021. Apparently, this is a good enough reason for Hyundai to wait.

“A pickup truck is important, but it’s not a big priority for our company. But we have to consider how to respond. It is under study,” Lee told the publication.  

By Dan Mihalascu

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