Your Jalopnik staff are unapologetic, evangelistic fans of small inexpensive pickup trucks. That’s why we lost our collective shit when Hyundai surprised the world with the Santa Cruz truck concept at the Detroit Auto Show this year. Then all we had to do was convince Hyundai they should build it. It looks like someone, somewhere, managed to do that.
Car and Driver reports that the Santa Cruz is on the verge of getting greenlit by the bosses in South Korea. That’s not magazine rumor-mongering, either; it’s direct from Hyundai’s North American CEO.
According to Hyundai Motor America’s CEO, Dave Zuchowski, the U.S. Hyundai team expects the Santa Cruz to be approved by the Korean mother ship this November. The overwhelmingly positive public reaction to the Santa Cruz helped Hyundai America build the case, and the automaker’s shifting of several manufacturing facilities from building cars to building crossovers (and additional factories sprouting up globally) will help carve out the necessary production capacity.
We’ve said for years that the market is starving for smaller, less expensive pickups suited for folks who maybe live in a city and just need a truck sometimes but don’t require a ginormous bed or towing capacity. Right now if you want a really small pickup, you have to get on Craigslist and buy yourself an old Ford Ranger or a Toyota truck. The fact that this niche goes unfilled by any new cars, Chicken Tax or not, is bonkers.
It’s expected that the Santa Cruz will share a platform with the new Tucson small crossover, which we tested recently and generally liked.
Let’s hope the official word this fall is a good one. Maybe other automakers will join Hyundai in this endeavor. Small truck all the things!
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