Light trucks now account for two-thirds of the U.S. new vehicle market, and while utility vehicles might dominate the American market, demand also is booming for pickups, something planners at Hyundai soon hope to tap into.
The Korean carmaker told CNBC it expects a production version of the Santa Cruz will launch in the U.S. market in 2020 or sometime the following year. The Santa Cruz pickup concept was revealed at the January 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Originally intended as little more than a styling exercise, the compact pickup will become a central part of the push by Hyundai to expand its presence in the booming U.S. light truck market.
Targeting what it has described as "Urban Adventurers," the production Santa Cruz is expected to be the lone entry into the compact pickup segment that effectively disappeared several decades ago, in part due to hefty tariffs on imported trucks. Hyundai will still face those challenges, and potentially a rival from Ford.
"We just had a meeting to look at the design," Kyung Soo "Ken" Lee, Hyundai Motor America's CEO told CNBC in an interview during the preview of another critical entry in its truck line-up, the complete makeover of its Santa Fe crossover-utility vehicle.