It’s been three years since Hyundai unveiled the stunning Santa Cruz concept at the North American International Auto Show but it’s not going to arrive in showrooms anytime soon.
Speaking with Motor Trend, Hyundai Motor America COO Brian Smith said “We talk about it a lot” but a production version of the pickup won’t arrive this year or next year. This means the earliest that the model could arrive would be in 2020.
The long gap between the unveiling of the concept and the arrival of the production model is being chalked up to a delay to green-light the truck. Hyundai Motor America’s former CEO, Dave Zuchowski, was a big proponent of the model but the company didn’t approve the truck until late 2016.
The truck was reportedly slated to arrive this year as a 2019 model but Zuchowski was fired days before Christmas of 2016. This reportedly caused plans for the truck to stall before being revived in 2017.
Since so much time has passed, it remains unclear how faithful the production model will remain to the original concept. In fact, little is known about the truck but the report suggests it won’t be offered with a diesel engine. That’s not too surprising but the concept featured an “environmentally-friendly” 2.0-liter turbodiesel that produced 190 hp (141 kW / 192 PS) and 300 lb-ft (406 Nm) of torque.
When the Santa Cruz finally goes into production, it will face a number of new competitors including the Ford Ranger and Jeep Scrambler. The model will also have to fend off other challengers such as the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Honda Ridgeline, Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier. Volkswagen has also hinted at the possibility of entering the highly competitive segment as it unveiled the Tanoak concept at the New York Auto Show.