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Hyundai Santa Cruz Pickup Likely to be Greenlit in November

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 4/1/2015 Angus MacKenzie

Hyundai’s Santa Cruz pickup concept, unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit earlier this year, has a strong chance of being approved for production in November, says Hyundai Motor America CEO Dave Zuchowski. “We feel pretty good about it,” Zuchowski confirmed at the reveal of the new Hyundai Tucson on the eve of the New York International Auto Show’s first press day.

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“Our intention at Detroit was to prove to Korea that we have to build [the Santa Cruz],” says Zuchowski. “The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, and that has been fed back to Korea.” A decision on whether to green-light production will be made in Korea at Hyundai’s next global product review in November. These latest comments confirm earlier reports last month.

Zuchowski says basic engineering work needed to turn the Santa Cruz concept into a production vehicle is already underway, and Hyundai Motor America is pushing hard for the vehicle to be built in the United States.

Hyundai Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept© Provided by MotorTrend Hyundai Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept Hyundai Santa Cruz Pickup Likely to be Greenlit in November

The Santa Cruz is part of a push toward a greater focus on trucks and SUVs by Hyundai Motor America. Trucks, crossovers, and SUVs account for about 56 percent of new vehicle sales in the U.S., and sales growth in this segment is comfortably outpacing that of cars. However, Hyundai’s product lineup is currently about 20 percent truck; of all the mainstream brands in the U.S., only VW has a lower share of trucks (10 percent) in its lineup. Hyundai Motor America officials believe offering more trucks will boost the company’s sales significantly.

As a result, the U.S. market allocation of the new Tucson, which is built in Ulsan, Korea, will be doubled in 2016. “We currently sell 45,000 Tucsons a year,” says Zuchowski. “We could sell 90,000 a year without any additional investment in marketing.” Zuchowski also says sales of the recently revamped Santa Fe could increase from 70,000 a year to 125,000 a year if more vehicles could be made available from the company’s West Point, Ga., plant.

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