Hyundai’s latest vehicle to get the green light for production will go where the automaker has never gone before in the United States market.
Based on the Santa Cruz concept unveiled at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, the small pickup truck got the green light for development along with updates for the rest of the South Korean automaker’s lineup of SUVs.
Though it’s not immediately clear when we can expect to see the truck on American roads, sources close to the automaker told Reuters that Hyundai will debut a new version of its Santa Fe Sport SUV next year, as well as an all-new three-row crossover expected to replace the Santa Fe SUV. A replacement for the seven-passenger crossover is expected in the States in early 2019, and a redesigned Tucson is rumored for 2020, according to Reuters.
With America’s insatiable appetite for all things crossover and truck, these offerings are expected to help reverse the automakers recent sales slump. After receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback on the Santa Cruz concept, Hyundai will finally make a pickup truck for the U.S. for the first time in its history.
The concept truck – featuring a unibody design and a 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel four-pot – sports design cues similar to the automaker’s recently introduced design language, which has slowly made its way onto Hyundai’s car and sedan offerings, such as the 2018 Elantra, 2018 Sonata and 2018 Ioniq Hybrid.
As Hyundai has struggled on the sales front, a majority of the decline has been in the sedan segment. The automaker’s flagship sedan’s sales have plummeted 30 percent in 2017, while SUV sales are up 11 percent. In the U.S., crossover SUVs account for 30 percent of all car sales.
Later this year, Hyundai will sell an all-new subcompact crossover SUV called the Kona, which will be slotted below the compact crossover Tucson. In addition, Hyundai may also release an electrified version of the Kona by the fall of 2018, as the automaker begins fulfilling its promise to pivot towards more EV offerings.
The upcoming pickup, likely to share underpinnings with the Tucson crossover, is expected to slot beneath the midsize truck segment, offering buyers a more favorable size for those living in urban environments in which the Ford F-150, Honda Ridgeline or Toyota Tacoma could prove to be too hulking on narrow one-ways. A city-friendly footprint combined with adventure-ready utility for weekend excursions could make the trucklet a hit with those who want the best of both worlds.