After first introducing its pickup concept in 2015, Hyundai is now advancing rapidly with the project. The company has now confirmed that the Santa Cruz truck will be assembled at the Hyundai plant in Montgomery, Alabama starting in 2021.
That facility currently produced the Santa Fe, Sonata and Elantra, and it will receive an injection of $410 million to upgrade so it can handle production of the new pickup. Hyundai says 1,200 direct and indirect new jobs will result.
As for the model, we still don’t have a clear idea of the structure it will be built on – a rather crucial element for a pickup. Originally talk was of a monobody structure, though eventually that gave way to the idea of a ladder chassis. Recent speculation has Hyundai turning back to the initial concept.
Hyundai is making the promise that the model will define a wholly new category for pickups. That remains to be seen. Our wish is for a compact SUV fitted with an open bed – which happens to be more or less the best description of the Honda Ridgeline. But Hyundai says it’s aiming at a different demographic, one that’s younger and not necessarily the one that tends to go for models like the Toyota Tacoma, Chevrolet Colorado or Ford Ranger, for example.
As for the styling, it will be pretty far removed from the concept we first saw in 2015, unsurprisingly.
And so anticipation is high not just for what the model will be built on, but also for what it looks like.