The Hyundai Santa Cruz compact pickup was confirmed for production today, perhaps in an effort to get ahead of next week’s L.A. Auto Show news wave. Hyundai also announced its first truck for the North American market will be built, starting in 2021, in its assembly plant in Montgomery, Ala. Doing so will require a $410 million expansion of the facility, which currently builds the Sonata and Elantra. In the present political climate, Hyundai was keen to note that the project “will add 1,200 new direct and indirect jobs.”
Like the Honda Ridgeline, Hyundai confirmed that the Santa Cruz will be a unibody pickup, going so far as even dubbing it a “crossover.” In the words of the press release, “Santa Cruz is for those who want all the traditional attributes of a compact utility vehicle, but need the day-to-day versatility of an open bed. It’s the crossover that creates a whole new segment that successfully combines capability and utility to meet the unspoken needs of a new generation of buyers, especially Millennials.”
Digging through that, the “whole new segment” and “compact” bits would imply that the Santa Cruz will be smaller than the Ridgeline, and possibly the rest of the Colorado/Tacoma/Ranger segment that is now typically considered midsize.
The Hyundai Santa Cruz concept truck, pictured above, was first shown at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. As production is set to begin in 2021, it seems likely that it’ll be a 2022 model and that we should see the production version some time next year.