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Australia is Trying to Give the World a Hyundai Pickup, and is Succeeding

Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA)

As U.S. customers await the unannounced Santa Cruz-like sort-of ute they’ve been promised for some time, Australia is getting traction from Hyundai on a genuine midsize pickup.

Following much lobbying from down under, Hyundai Australia’s chief operating officer Scott Grant told Car Advice that company brass in South Korea are slowly coming into agreement on the need for a bona fide pickup, but fans will have to be patient.

“It’s been advanced as we understand it,â€� Grant told the publication. “We’ve got a planning horizon in place where they’re looking at the vehicle quite seriously, but there is yet to be a commitment to produce.”

Because of the automaker’s global plans, any Hyundai-badged pickup given the green light won’t appear before 2020.

Grant wasn’t talking about the Santa Cruz concept, which bowed in early 2015 and was focused mainly on the U.S. market. That vehicle — a youth-oriented four-seat unibody runabout with an abbreviated cargo bed — has been rumored for production since last year, though Hyundai hasn’t said when it will appear, or what form it will take.

No, the executive meant a real pickup that intends to play with the big midsize boys.

Australia already has a slew of midsize pickups to choose from, including the Ford Ranger, so sales success in that marketplace wouldn’t be surprising. The country remains a small market, so convincing an automaker to build a new product solely for the buyers of one (non-China) nation is a tall order. However, midsize pickup sales are healthy in North America, too — even Honda’s oddball Ridgeline is finding a surprising number of buyers.

Grant said corporate opinion began to shift recently, with the thinking now being “there’s a similar requirement in other markets, so we’re working towards something.”

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