Remember the Santa Cruz compact pickup case Hyundai trotted out at the Detroit Auto Show 2015? The company's executives do – because despite skepticism, they still seem to be keen to make this mini truck a reality.
We have had a few "yes it really happens" updates on this vehicle since we first heard about it, but I still raise an eyebrow every time it comes up.
The latest is that Hyundai only announced that "the compact Santa Cruz utility vehicle will join the Santa Fe SUV and Sonata and Elantra sedans at Hyundai's US car assembly facility in Montgomery, started in 2021[ads1]." Apparently, the company is pushing a big pile of money into this dream that makes me think, hey, maybe we're really going to see a convenient US-produced compact pickup truck in the US on this timeline after all!
Right from Hyundai's release:
“The plant will require $ 410 million expansion to support the addition of the car. This includes extra space in stamping, welding and parts of the processing areas in the production complex. Direct employment will increase by 200 jobs, and local suppliers and logistics companies supporting HMMA are estimated to employ an additional 1,000 people in Montgomery and the River Region. "
" Santa Cruz is for those who want all the traditional features of a compact utility vehicle, but need the daily versatility of an open bed. It is a crossover that creates a whole new segment that successfully combines the ability and utility to meet the unspoken needs of a new generation of buyers, especially Millennials. "
but who knows, is described as a" compact utility vehicle, "a" crossover, "and most importantly, as having" an open bed. "
Without digging through the archives, I suppose I probably wrote a breath-taking blog about the Santa Cruz concept when it was fresh four years ago. I definitely remember reading a few of these. A small, convenient, (probably) efficient and (probably) reliable small truck? What's not to get fired ?!
Having had a long time to think about it, I'm pretty much only interested in the prospects of a significant company like Hyundai trying something atypical. I can't seriously argue that I would be in a hurry to line up for a modern Korean El Camino, but I could see the appeal, and I appreciate the diversity of the car's ecosystem.