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Hyundai Santa Cruz Concept Asks: When is a Truck Not a Truck

by on Jan.13, 2015

Hyundai hopes show-goers will give thumbs up to the potential segment-busting Santa Cruz concept. Photo credit: Len Katz

In today’s crowded market, automakers are constantly looking for new opportunities, so called “white spaces” where they can target a new niche of buyers.

After years of toying with the idea of entering the pickup truck market, Hyundai may have come up with an alternative in the form of the Santa Cruz Concept making its debut at this year’s North American International Auto Show.

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Santa Cruz , starts with a 5-seat crossover-like cabin mated to a shortened, pickup-style bed. But don’t call it a pickup, insists Hyundai Director of Corporate Planning Mark Dytko. “No everyone who needs an open bed wants a pickup,” he says.

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Hyundai Kills Plan for Dodge Ram-based pickup.

Korean maker instead to focus on commercial vehicles.

by on May.13, 2010

Hyundai has shelved plans to partner with Chrysler on a Korean-badged version of the Ram pickup, opting instead to focus on commercial trucks.

Hyundai has decided to cancel plans to bring a rebadged version of the Dodge Ram pickup to market and will instead focus on expanding its presence in the commercial vehicle market.

Looking to further expand its growing presence in the U.S. market, the Korean maker had been holding discussions with Chrysler about producing a Ram-based truck that would carry the Hyundai badge, but those plans were shelved recently after both parties couldn’t agree on production volumes that were being negotiated as part of a manufacturing contract between the two automakers, the source told us.

It was the second time in recent months that Chrysler had a potential partner pull out of plans to use the Dodge pickup.  Nissan has also shelved a project that would have replaced its slow-selling Titan with a Ram-based model.

Hyundai Motors Company subsidiary Hyundai Motor America provided the following statement about its rumored pickup truck development to PickupTrucks.com (for which Mike Levine serves as editor):

“Hyundai Motor Co. denies that there are any current plans to bring a pickup truck of any type into the U.S. now or in the foreseeable future. Hyundai is not in discussion with Chrysler in regard to a selling a rebadged Chrysler Corp. pickup truck, or any other vehicle, in the U.S.”

Sources say that Hyundai’s research into pickup trucks was motivated by a possible new strategic direction in North America. A pickup truck would be a bridge product between Hyundai’s consumer-focused car and crossover business and the company entering the commercial truck market in the U.S. later in the decade, which could broaden Hyundai’s product portfolio with passenger and light commercial work vans and other commercial truck platforms.

While Nissan appears to have abandoned any possible partnership with Chrysler, there could still be a deal between the U.S. maker and Hyundai in the works.

The Koreans could still partner with Chrysler in the future on other work vehicles besides pickups, as it does today supplying the Ram H-100 for Hyundai in the Mexican market.

(Mike Levine is editor of PickupTrucks.com. Click Here for more on this story.)