And it’ll be built right here in America.
After an interminable amount of will-they-or-won’t-they, Hyundai has confirmed they will be building the much-rumoured Santa Cruz pickup truck. It’ll be assembled in Alabama, at the same facility that currently produces the Santa Fe, Sonata, and Elantra.
This time around, the Santa Cruz is just more than speculation and conjecture. Hyundai is investing over $400 million into an expansion of their plant in Montgomery to support the addition of this vehicle. The company figures they’ll add about 200 jobs right at the factory, with ancillary supply and logistics companies employing about 1000 more in the Montgomery area.
“Bringing the Santa Cruz to HMMA demonstrates that Hyundai Motor Company is confident our more than 3,000 Team Members are ready to build a quality crossover for the U.S. market,” said Byungjin Jin, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama.
That statement is the clearest one yet as to the type of vehicle we should expect bearing the name Santa Cruz. While it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that the vehicle will be a unibody, the use of the word ‘crossover’ is very telling. Hyundai says Santa Cruz will be for those who want “all the traditional attributes of a compact utility vehicle, but need the day-to-day versatility of an open bed.”
Does that sound essentially like a Santa Fe with an open cargo area? It does to us, as well. Hyundai goes on to say the vehicle will create “a whole new segment”, one that combines capability and utility to meet the unspoken needs of a new generation. Stripping away the marketing speak, it sounds like we should expect a vehicle that’ll tow its own weight while being able to carry stuff in an open bed and carry passengers in typical Hyundai comfort.
With confirmation Santa Cruz will be built at the Montgomery facility, it’s a safe bet that this new machine will be built on the bones of Santa Fe, perhaps using its powertrains if not styling cues. The rig shown here is the one which showed up at the Detroit show in 2015. Here’s hoping Hyundai adds a bit of off-road kit to the mix.