Hyundai Exploring Diesels for US Market


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