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Hyundai Plans New Pickup – Unibody, El Camino Remake Probable

Hyundai is talking about building a pickup to appease their fans and dealer requests. Will it be a full-size HD crew cab model with a 5.7L V-8? Probably not. Most likely it will look like a Honda Ridgeline?

Hyundai Plans New Pickup

What would a Hyundai pickup look like? How about a Santa Fe with a bed?

For most of the past decade, Hyundai has been talking about building a pickup with a unibody, FWD pickup. This makes a lot of sense with their current lineup. They could modify an existing platform like the Santa Fe. By adding a bed, they could tweak the suspension while keeping the engine, transmission and interior the same. This is essentially the formula that Honda took with the Ridgeline and has had some success (not a lot, some).

Most true truck buyers vocally disdain this type of vehicle and many truck sites have conflicting views on it. There is also a long debate on whether the Ridgeline is a full-size, mid-size/compact or a grown up El Camino. The truth is that this type of vehicle does have a future in North America. The full-size truck segment is struggling with improving fuel economy plus ride comfort and the mid-size/compact truck market is struggling to re-establish itself. A segment of unibody trucks could meet future demand of buyers who want the truck features without all the towing capability and fuel costs.

The truth probably is that a new Hyundai pickup isn’t going to set the world on fire. The Ridgeline sells just over a $1k units a month and a Hyundai pickup would probably sell less than that. This is all the more reason that Hyundai would look to adapt a current platform model to offer a vehicle in this segment.

In an Autonews story, the speculation is that with the change in the U.S.-South Korea free trade agreement the chances of a new import pickup are much higher. Why? The so-called chicken tax on these imports would be phased out by 2021. This would open the door to the South Korean automaker to import any of its vehicles without the 25 percent surcharge.

What does Hyundai think?

“We are doing a good job in recent years without a pickup truck,” Lee Lee In-cheol, vice president in charge of international sales said of Hyundai’s sales. “A pickup truck is important, but it’s not a big priority for our company. But we have to consider how to respond. It is under study.”

What do you think? Is there a market for these types of trucks?

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