If you collected all of the ink spilled over the Hyundai Santa CruzÂ pickup’sÂ chances of entering production, it would overflow the unibody model’s abbreviated bed.
Well, Hyundai just put a year and a half’s worth of rumors to rest, confirming to Motor Trend that the car-based pickup is definitely a go, and will appear in 2018 as a 2019 model.
â€œWe have made the decision,â€� said Dave Zuchowski, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor America. â€œWe have not made the announcement.â€�
That announcement will come at either the Los Angeles or Detroit auto show.
The youthful Santa Cruz concept first appeared at the North American International Auto Show in 2015, generating plenty of buzzÂ â€” even from those with no personal memories of the long-departed Chevrolet El Camino. Blending a crossover and a pickup, the concept seemed destined to fill an untapped niche market.
Even this past week, speculation was rampant about the model’s looming approval.
According to Motor Trend, the Tucson-based pickup underwent a design review earlier this month. The automaker is close to finalizing a design, and anticipates that it can sell 50,000 units a year. Outsider estimates put the figure at 70,000.
Hyundai engineers are busy developing a diesel engine for European Genesis models, and that mill could find its way into the production Santa Cruz, giving the pickup respectable grunt.
In the interview, Zuchowski laments his company’s car-heavy market share, calling its model lineup anÂ “adverse mix” of vehicles. Adding the Santa Cruz would diversify the company’s offerings, potentially luring new buyers to the brand with a unique product.
The timing seems right for the Santa Cruz, given recent sales growth in the midsize pickup market.[Images: Hyundai]