Is it too late for Hyundai to bring the Santa Cruz to market?

Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept

The 2015 North American International Auto Show in Detroit was a big year for many manufacturers. Honda finally showed off the production NSX. Ford dropped the Shelby GT350, new Raptor, and new Ford GT in a hammer blow to the industry. Hyundai showed off a small concept pickup truck.

The two door crossover concept gained a lot of attention at an already busy show, and it felt more production-ready than some of the concepts we’ve seen.

As time progressed, Hyundai admitted that the vehicle is on their radar and that if the time was right, they’d consider bringing it to market. That time, I feel, might be quickly passing.

Small pickup trucks are hot right now, even if midsize trucks are getting larger. In an ideal world, the Santa Cruz would slot underneath the current swath of truck — except maybe the still tiny Nissan Frontier — and offer utility to someone who might need a bed but doesn’t want the whole pickup truck experience.

At that time, the Ranger was dead and there was no word if it was coming back. The Dakota was gone for awhile and the market was ripe for more competition.

Fast forward to now, where VW showed off a pickup truck concept that might enter production. The Ranger is coming back early next year. Plus, a new midsize truck from Ram — maybe called Dakota — will be on the streets by 2022.

People are buying trucks at a rapid pace, but as the marketplace gets more crowded with competition, the time for Hyundai to strike might be over.

That would be a shame, because I think the truck would be a funky alternative to the status quo and bring more people into the truck fold.


Chad Kirchner
the authorChad Kirchner
In addition to Chad Kirchner's work here, he's a freelance automotive journalist for outlets around the world.