Hyundai Officially Announces It Will Build Santa Cruz Pickup in 2021

Hyundai Santa Cruz Pickup Truck Front Angle Profile

Manufacturer images

By Aaron Bragman

It's official: The Santa Cruz compact crossover-based pickup that Hyundai Motor Co. showed at the 2015 North American International Auto Show is headed to production. The company confirmed it in a press release, stating that the truck would enter production in 2021 at the company's Montgomery, Ala., plant alongside the Santa Fe crossover SUV, Elantra compact sedan and Sonata mid-size sedan already built there. This would likely mean that the Santa Cruz would arrive either as a 2021 or 2022 model, depending on when in the year the vehicle enters production.

Related: Hyundai Santa Cruz Concept: First Look

To accommodate the new pickup, Hyundai said it would begin a $410 million expansion to support the addition of the Santa Cruz at the plant. This will bring in additional space for panel stamping, welding and parts processing at the plant complex. Hyundai estimates that it will hire about 200 direct employees to support the expansion, and expects about 1,000 additional jobs will be created in the region by parts suppliers and logistical support companies.

Hyundai hasn't released any more details about the Santa Cruz other than what we've seen from the original concept's reveal in 2015. The company says it's targeting millennials with the Santa Cruz, a compact crossover-based pickup with two half-doors instead of a full crew cab. The concept is similar to that of a Honda Ridgeline, the other front-wheel-drive platform-based, crossover-style pickup on the market, but it's smaller than the mid-size Ridgeline. The concept was powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter diesel engine making 190 horsepower and 300 pounds-feet of torque, but it seems unlikely that this engine will make production, given diesel's increasingly unfavorable passenger car use in the wake of the Volkswagen "dieselgate" emissions scandal. The bed of the Santa Cruz concept is a 4-foot-long plastic molded bucket that is extendable by 2 feet to allow for temporary accommodation of longer payloads; the vehicle also has all-wheel drive.

What form the final Santa Cruz will take is yet to be seen, but now that Hyundai has announced a firm production plan for the pickup, we won't be surprised to see something much closer to the final version at an auto show sometime in 2020.

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