A Reuters report released earlier this week hinted at Hyundai Motor Co’s possible intentions to enter the U.S. pickup truck market through a partnership with Chrysler Group.
Instead of building a truck model from the ground up, Hyundai has put forward a proposal to Chrysler, where the Korean automaker would use Chrysler’s Ram truck platforms to build a truck for the Hyundai brand.
The report claims Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne rejected Hyundai’s initial approach earlier this year, on the grounds the automaker was focused on Fiat’s turnabout plans.
Undeterred by previous efforts, Hyundai is said to be continuing to look at its truck options with Chrysler. The partnership could be beneficial for both parties with Chrysler able to reduce costs for the Ram.
The deal may also benefit Chrysler as its currently not running its factories at full-capacity.
Despite the aftermath of the global financial crisis affecting car sales, sales of full size pickup trucks represent over a tenth of the overall light vehicle sales in the U.S. market with the Dodge Ram still remaining a profitable model for Chrysler.
A few hours ago Hyundai issued the following statement:
“Hyundai Motor Co. denies that there are any current plans to bring a pickup truck of any type into the U.S. now or in the foreseeable future, Hyundai is not in discussion with Chrysler in regard to a selling a rebadged Chrysler Corp pickup truck, or any other vehicle, in the U.S,” the statement said.
Even if Hyundai does indeed partner up with Chrysler or build a pickup truck on its own, it will face the tough challenge of changing the mindset of U.S. pickup truck buyers, who are traditionally loyal to their brands.