Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup concept hints at new developemnt directions image

Hyundai researchers have turned to customers to gain insight into what the South Korean brand needs to build up on the success of its current lineup.

According to numerous customers, it turns out – something in the line of the striking Santa Cruz concept car that is now touring the automotive events. Hyundai’s model line has grown to the span that sales increase opportunities are now a needle in the haystack. The South Korean automaker, which is the world’s fifth biggest (together with affiliate Kia Motors), has seen that adding sales in the US market – one of its largest – is not as easy today as it was before. “We’re looking to step outside the traditional vehicle segments,” comments Hyundai product planning manager Brandon Ramirez. By simply skipping the easy entry in a new segment, Hyundai is trying to unveil new niches. For example the smallish Santa Cruz concept, a compact pickup with a small rear seat and short bed.

The model was unveiled back in January in Detroit during the North American International Auto Show and – if produced – would not go after traditional pickups, instead trying to snatch market share from the current run of compact SUVs – such as the Honda CR-V and Nissan Rogue. Before deciding if the Santa Cruz would be viable, they do launch a traditional offensive – mainly an entry-level SUV to sit below the Tucson and rival the likes of Chevrolet Trax, Fiat 500X, Jeep Renegade, Honda HR-V and Mazda CX-3.