Every since Hyundai unveiled the Santa Cruz Concept pickup (pictured) in 2015 there has been endless speculation about when the Korean automaker would launch the production version.
That time is coming soon, apparently, and it will target buyers who are not traditional truck owners. That’s not really surprising, given the Santa Cruz Concept’s unusual and fresh approach.
The study that debuted at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show was a crossover-type five-seat vehicle featuring a 2.0-liter turbo diesel engine and a tailgate with a sliding extension.
Speaking with Bloomberg, Hyundai USA vice president of product, corporate and digital planning, Michael O’Brien, said the carmaker expects to enter the U.S. pickup market soon with a North American-made model.
“It’ll be a very versatile vehicle. That has the promise of creating a whole new class of buyers,” O’Brien said. While he wouldn’t reveal information about the pickup’s release date and its specifications, the executive did offer some strong clues that it will be produced in the United States.
“It would have to be made in North America,” he said, without naming a specific country. However, he noted that automakers which decided to build new vehicles in Mexico have drawn the wrath of U.S. President Donald Trump. Hyundai probably doesn’t want that.
Building the new truck in the U.S. would be a logical choice too as the majority of the pickup trucks will be sold there anyway. The carmaker would need to produce the new truck in North America to avoid the so-called “Chicken Tax,” a 25-percent tariff on imported trucks.
Hyundai already builds the Elantra and Sonata sedans and the Santa Fe crossover at its plant in Montgomery, Alabama. The facility has an annual output of around 400,000 vehicles a year.