Hyundai Australia has not given up on its bid to introduce the upcoming Santa Cruz pick-up (depicted in an artist impression by Kolesa.ru, above) – and has confirmed a separate heavy-duty double-cab ute rival to the Toyota HiLux remains on track despite the coronavirus crisis.
While Hyundai remains tight lipped about its first foray into the booming ute market, it has confirmed the US Santa Cruz is still on its wish list.
“The Santa Cruz is certainly a niche product, but I think it would be an interesting offering (in Australia),” said Hyundai Australia product planner Andrew Tuitahi. “We remain interested in that vehicle for sure.”
The executive said the 2021 Hyundai Santa Cruz would be “a capable car here”, however he cautioned “at this stage it is not (made) in right-hand drive”.
The Hyundai Santa Cruz will be built in the US and based on the car-derived underpinnings of the Santa Fe SUV, rather than a heavy-duty frame on which vehicles such as the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger are based.
“We explore all options we can with all products… we do that as a discipline to see if it fits a business case for us here,” said Mr Tuitahi.
In the meantime, when asked for more details about the upcoming Hyundai double cab ute to be shared with Kia – which will catapult the Korean conglomerate into the same segment as the nation's top two selling vehicles – the boss of Hyundai Australia, John Kett, said it was a “sensitive subject” and he and his colleagues declined to comment further.
CarAdvice understands Korea is well progressed with plans for a genuine rival to the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger, however it is likely at least three years away from local showrooms, and a production location is yet to be announced.
The arrival of a double cab ute has the potential for Hyundai to overtake Mazda for the number two sales spot outright behind market leader Toyota.
In recent years Hyundai has trailed Mazda by about 15,000 sales annually; the addition of a double cab ute would likely be enough to fill that void.