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Hyundai May Build New Pickup, SUV in U.S.

Move would require expansion of Alabama plant.

by on Nov.10, 2017

Hyundai won raves for the Santa Cruz concept, a car-based pickup, which it sorely needs in its U.S. line-up.

Slow to adapt to the shift from passenger cars to light trucks, Hyundai Motor Co. is racing to add new SUVs, as well as its first pickup truck, to its line-up, and it is giving serious consideration to producing them in its Alabama assembly plant.

Hyundai was one of the fastest-growing brands coming out of the American economic recession, but its growth has stalled over the last few years, analysts largely pointing to the Korean carmaker’s limited SUV options — the Santa Fe and the Tucson – at a time when light trucks account for nearly two-thirds of the American automotive market.

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Hyundai officials have confirmed plans to expand the mix, with at least one, and likely two more SUVs coming. A version of the wildly popular Santa Cruz pickup is also nearing production and expected to be launched as early as the 2019 model-year.


Hyundai Set to Bring First Pickup to Market by 2021

Production version of Santa Cruz concept could be offered with electrified drivetrain.

by on Aug.22, 2017

Hyundai could sorely use a production version of the wildly popular Santa Cruz concept first shown in 2015.

Hyundai has reconfirmed plans to put into production a version of the wildly popular Santa Cruz concept truck that was unveiled at the North American International Auto Show in January 2015.

But Hyundai officials are hesitating to use the term, “pickup” to describe the compact model, preferring to think of it as an “open bed” vehicle aimed at Millennials and other urbanites who “might need to occasionally toss their sports gear in the back or help move a friend’s dresser,” a well-placed source told

Future Products!

Expect the production model – which many expect to retain the Santa Cruz name – to reach the U.S. market by the 2020 or 2021 model-years. And while some key details are still being finalized, the Korean carmaker is giving strong consideration to offering an electrified powertrain option which could range from a conventional hybrid to a full battery-electric system, sources confided.


Hyundai Set to Launch 1st Pickup, Flood of New SUVs

Official Santa Cruz announcement to come by April.

by on Jan.29, 2016

Hyundai won raves for the Santa Cruz concept, a car-based pickup unveiled in early 2015.

In a market increasingly dominated by pickups and utility vehicles, Hyundai is “out of whack,” with a car-dominated model mix, but that’s about to change, says the company’s top U.S. executive.

Sometime before April, the Korean carmaker is formally planning to announce it will build the well-received Santa Cruz pickup that debuted in concept form at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. But it will be just one in a flurry of new crossover-based models for both the mainstream Hyundai and new Genesis luxury brands, officials have confirmed.

“We’re out of whack, a fish swimming upstream,” in the current environment, said Hyundai Motor America CEO Dave Zuchowski, noting that while truck models currently account for 58% of the U.S. vehicle market, they make up barely 27% of Hyundai’s American volume.

Keep on Truckin'!

And without getting more in line with market trends, Hyundai is beginning to see its steady growth begin to sputter, officials acknowledged during a media preview of the new Elantra sedan in San Diego.


Ford Recalling Ranger Pickup for Duty in US

Ford expected to respond to growing demand for midsize pickups.

by on Aug.26, 2015

Ford would need to make major changes to the global Ranger for the U.S. market.

Ford may be ready to do an about face and return to the American midsize passenger car market. After repeatedly insisting that buyers were more interested in full-sized trucks like the company’s big F-150, Ford is reportedly preparing a U.S. version of the midsize Ranger model it launched overseas two years ago.

The move appears to be triggered by the unexpectedly strong response to the all-new Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon models General Motors launched last year. Ford abandoned the segment in 2011 when it stopped production of the older version of its Ranger. It has frequently said the new model was not intended for the North American market, but a revised version is apparently under development.

The Back Story!

The move not only could fill a big hole in Ford’s otherwise strong and profitable line-up but also solve a political problem for the carmaker as it races to reach a settlement with the United Auto Workers. The two sides have until September 14th to reach a new four-year contract, and a potential sticking point was Ford’s earlier announcement it would end production in Michigan of two compact models. The same plant now appears likely to handle the new Ranger.


General Motors Sweeps Top Spots in “Made in America” List

Maker took top 11 spots with Ford coming next.

by on Jun.08, 2015

According to a recent study from American University, the Buick Enclave is tied atop the list of "most American" vehicles.

While the “Buy American” campaign isn’t quite as omnipresent as it once was, new vehicle buyers wanting the “most” American car they can buy are going to be shopping for General Motors’ products.

American University’s 2015 Kogod Made in America Auto Index revealed that GM produces vehicles with the highest levels of U.S. content at 87.5%. Those vehicles included the Buick Enclave, Cadillac CTS coupe, Chevrolet Corvette, GMC Acadia and GMC Acadia Denali.

Automotive Insight!

The new index reflects a significant change at the top of the list from last year when the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Corvette were tied at the top of the list with 87.5% of their content from the U.S. (more…)

Hyundai Mulls Addition of Full-Size Sport-Utility

Maker looks to shore up weak line-up of truck-based offerings.

by on Jun.08, 2015

The Hyundai Genesis sedan could be the basis for a full-size SUV for the South Korean automaker.

With sales of crossovers and sport-utility vehicles climbing in the U.S., Hyundai Motor is considering developing a larger sport-utility vehicle based on its Genesis luxury sedan, according to reports surfacing in South Korea.

It wouldn’t hit dealer showrooms for two or three years at the earliest. However, the South Korean firm’s worries over a lack of brand power in the higher-priced SUV segment and whether oil prices could surge again and erode the market for gas-guzzlers may scuttle the program, according to Reuters.

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Dave Zuchowski, chief executive officer of Hyundai Motor North America, told recently that the South Korean automaker is very close to moving forward with a new pickup truck based on concept vehicle shown at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this past January and adding a new small crossover vehicle to its model line. (more…)

From Concept to Customer, Rating the NAIAS Show Cars

You may see some of these in showrooms soon.

by on Jan.15, 2015

The Chevy Bolt is among the most likely concept vehicles from this year's auto show to end up in showrooms. Photo credit: Len Katz.

With his roots in Hollywood, General Motors’ first styling director, Harley Earl, loved a bit of showmanship, introducing what is today seen as the first true concept car, the Buick Y-Job. It introduced such revolutionary features as hidden headlamps, wraparound bumpers and an electrically operated convertible roof. Ever since, concept cars have been a staple on the auto show circuit, often the primary draw for the public.

In decades past, these show cars tended to be little more than what former Ford design director Jack Telnack likes to call “fantasies in chrome,” such as the wild, turbine-powered Firebird concepts of the ‘60s.

What a Concept!

There are still a few off-the-wall show cars – they’re a staple of the bi-annual Tokyo Motor Show where one recent Toyota concept looked like a telephone booth on wheels – but these days, what you see very well may be what you get.  (more…)

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.