Hyundai has confirmed it will put the Santa Cruz pickup concept into production as it looks to achieve more sales in North America. Hyundai’s president of corporate planning in the U.S., Michael O’Brien, told Reuters in a recent interview the company’s top brass has given the go ahead to put a vehicle similar to the Santa Cruz Concept into production. The Santa Cruz, first shown in 2015 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, was a small two-door unibody pickup with a 2.0-liter, 190 horsepower diesel engine.
The production version will likely be very similar to the concept, which shared its unibody platform with the Hyundai Tucson crossover. A turbocharged four-cylinder engine and all-wheel drive seem like strong possibilities and while the concept was a two-door, both two- and four-door versions of the production model should be available. A Motor Trend article published last year indicates Hyundai has been working on the “lifestyle pickup” for a couple of years and plans to roll it out in 2018 as a 2019 model year vehicle.
Hyundai is currently looking to gain more sales in the U.S. as the popularity of sedans takes a nosedive in North America. Its U.S. sales are down almost 11 percent in 2017, but sales of its SUV lineup were up 11 percent in the first seven months of the year. The new Kona compact crossover will arrive at dealers shortly and will be followed by an EV version in 2018 and an updated Santa Fe in 2019. A redesigned version of the Tucson is expected in 2020 as well.
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