Hyundai Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept, 2015 Detroit Auto ShowEnlarge Photo
If you can't beat 'em, build pickup trucks to join 'em.
On Tuesday, Hyundai confirmed that it really, actually, seriously, totally will build the Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup based on its popular Santa Fe crossover.
"Hyundai can confirm that the Santa Cruz concept has been greenlighted for development and is planned for the U.S. market," the automaker said in a statement to Motor Authority without releasing any further details.
The statement follows lengthy speculation that Hyundai had shelved its plans for a pickup after a two-year silence between concept and production news. At the 2015 Detroit auto show Hyundai showed off its Santa Cruz pickup concept with plenty of fanfare. More than two years later, the automaker has struggled with a sedan-heavy lineup and limited capacity to build popular crossovers with no pickup for U.S. buyers in sight.
On Tuesday, Reuters reported that a top U.S. exec for Hyundai said the truck would appear, likely in 2020, and that the automaker would add or refresh three crossovers in its lineup to keep pace with buyers' demands, which are clearly visible to the automaker.
"Our glasses are fairly clean," Michael O'Brien, vice president for Hyundai product planning in the U.S., told Reuters. "We understand where we have a shortfall."
It's unclear what the Hyundai pickup would be called. Hyundai owns the trademark for "Santa Cruz," but also owns the trademarks for the names "Pinko" and "Creta," the former would be our favorite.
Although the Santa Cruz name is a strong contender to make it to production for the pickup, the concept's powertrain is not. The 2.0-liter turbodiesel from the Detroit concept may not have much of a future in the States, even though the pickup clearly does now.