Michael J. O’Brien, vice president of corporate and product planning at Hyundai’s U.S. unit, said Hyundai’s top management has given the green light for development of a pickup truck similar to a show vehicle called the Santa Cruz that U.S. Hyundai executives unveiled in 2015.
And besides, a vehicle with its more modest size and capabilities will have an easier time meeting future fuel economy and emissions guidelines. As a white-space product, Hyundai’s pickup could capture a new audience while setting the blueprint for a class of unibody-based small trucklets that America hasn’t really seen since the early eighties.
The truck will join more Hyundai SUVs — namely the company’s new compact utility, the Kona. Hyundai also appears to be rolling out a new version of the Santa Fe Sport, a Santa Fe replacement and a refreshed Tucson before 2020.
Hyundai still hasn’t revealed when the pickup will go on sale or where it will be built, although the 25 percent “chicken tax” tariff on import pickups almost guarantees it will be manufactured in the NAFTA zone, unless the rule is changed as part of the Trump administration’s reset on global trade.