Hyundai Exploring Diesels for US Market

Colum Wood
by Colum Wood

The list of diesel models in U.S. dealerships is steadily growing and Hyundai could be the next automaker to add to that list.

Referring to the brand’s new pickup truck concept Hyundai Motor America product boss Mike O’Brien commented that, “This particular platform could have the diesel shown, which is in production today.”

While just a concept for now, the Santa Cruz is far from theoretical, with the engineering feasibility and market research already completed.

“The diesel is the most promising because of the fuel economy it delivers,” O’Brien said. “It best matches in our research what these customers are looking for,” namely, fuel economy, torque and driveability.

SEE ALSO: Why Hyundai Will Build the Santa Cruz Pickup

He thinks it also has to do with, the entire concept” of the vehicle. “It gives a sense of durability and ruggedness,” he said.

According to O’Brien, in focus groups the diesel engine is the one potential buyers of the Santa Cruz preferred.

Diesels have faced an uphill battle in North America, though O’Brien points out the success some automakers have had with them, attributing it to better marketing. “It’s not that the market isn’t ready for them,” he said.

In fact, the market may very well have to be ready for diesels as the current push by automakers to add diesel engines to their product mix is being driven by government mandated Corporate Average Fuel Economy regulations.

O’Brien outlined how these regulations depend on two factors, the first being advancements in fuel economy technology by automakers and the second being a switch by consumers from truck category vehicles to car category vehicles. “We’re doing out part,” he said, but when it comes to the consumers, “the opposite is happening.”

To combat that Hyundai is looking at ways to convince consumers into products that meet those regulations. And that answer might just be a compact pickup truck called the Santa Cruz.

GALLERY: Hyundai Santa Cruz Live Photos

GALLERY: Hyundai Santa Cruz Official Photos

Discuss this story at our Hyundai forum

Colum Wood
Colum Wood

With AutoGuide from its launch, Colum previously acted as Editor-in-Chief of Modified Luxury & Exotics magazine where he became a certifiable car snob driving supercars like the Koenigsegg CCX and racing down the autobahn in anything over 500 hp. He has won numerous automotive journalism awards including the Best Video Journalism Award in 2014 and 2015 from the Automotive Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). Colum founded Geared Content Studios, VerticalScope's in-house branded content division and works to find ways to integrate brands organically into content.

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  • Gandalf Gandalf on Jan 27, 2015

    One of the potential problems, one that I have with my DuraMax, is that biodiesel isn't compatible with many, if not most, injectors....and the percentage of biodiesel in diesel fuels just keeps on going up. And a replacement of injectors and rails can run up to $9,000.00.

    • David Peters David Peters on Jul 31, 2015

      I know people running biodiesel in Duramax without issues. The problem wasn't with the injectors, it was with the extra injector and regeneration on the late models. If you tune that out, all was good. If the fuel is clean and the ph is neutral, your good. The Duramax is a good reliable engine once the improvements are made.

  • Smartacus Smartacus on Jan 28, 2015

    This is awesome! Nobody sells a small pickup anymore, much less a diesel. I can't wait till someone makes a dually conversion kit for it, like I've seen for the Ranger.