If you can't beat 'em, build pickup trucks to join 'em. That's what Hyundai is doing with its announcement on Wednesday that it will build the Santa Cruz pickup truck, previewed in 2015 by a concept of the same name, at its plant in Montgomery, Alabama, starting in 2021.

The Alabama plant is where Hyundai builds the Elantra, Sonata and Santa Fe. The latter is expected to share underpinnings with the Santa Cruz, meaning we're looking at car-like unibody construction (as opposed to truck-like body-on-frame construction). Honda does the same for its Ridgeline pickup which is related to the Pilot crossover SUV, and Ford has also promised to launch a small, car-based pickup.

Hyundai Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept

Hyundai Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept

This comes as no surprise as Hyundai said at the reveal of the Santa Cruz concept that the vehicle wasn't an alternative to traditional pickup trucks, as it didn't prioritize towing, payload, or ground clearance. Rather, Hyundai said it wanted to appeal to crossover buyers who want the extra utility of a bed without having to opt for a truck. Hyundai even refers to the upcoming production Santa Cruz as a “crossover.”

Hyundai will spend $410 million in upgrades at the Alabama plant to support the Santa Cruz and add 200 direct jobs in the process. The flow-on effect at suppliers and logistics companies is expected to add a further 1,000 jobs in the region.

Hyundai Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept

Hyundai Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept

One aspect of the Santa Cruz concept that likely won't see production is its powertrain. The 2.0-liter turbodiesel from the concept is likely to have been shelved due to the fallout of the emissions scandals that followed the 2015 reveal. It's possible a diesel will be offered in other markets, like Hyundai does with the Santa Fe, though the automaker remains quiet on sales of the Santa Cruz outside of the U.S.

Hyundai has seen its sales in the U.S. slide since a high of 768,057 units in 2016 due to a sedan-heavy lineup and a complete lack of a pickup, with 2018's tally coming in at 667,634 units. The automaker is turning the ship around with new additions like the Kona, Palisade and Venue crossovers, and now the Santa Cruz pickup.