Hyundai Australia’s long wait for a proper ute will soon be over, with the Korean brand at last confirming its Toyota HiLux rival will arrive “on the other side of 2020”.
Hyundai's local arm has been pushing for an entrant into one of Australia’s most popular segments for years, but their pleas had so far fallen on deaf ears, with Hyundai HQ instead prioritising the Santa Cruz “urban pickup” utility for the North American market instead.
The Santa Cruz is pitched as an urban crossover for "active millennials", and roundly fails as a credible ute option in Australia. And so asked whether the Santa Cruz would make an appearance here, Hyundai’s local COO Scott Grant didn’t mince words.
The light-commercial segment is absolutely booming in Australia.
“I can give you a quick answer: there is no plan for Australia for the Santa Cruz ute,” he said.
The good news, then, is that the company's wish for a genuine HiLux rival has at last been granted, with "action" finally being taken on a light-commercial vehicle for Australia.
The light-commercial segment is absolutely booming in Australia, with the Toyota's HiLux and the Ford Ranger often trading blows as Australia's best and second-best selling vehicles. And after years of prodding, Hyundai Australia will finally be able to stake a claim to a piece of that very profitable pie.
“We’ve been taking about it for a number of years now, and HMC (Hyundai Motor Corporation) has been listening, but not necessarily taking a lot of action due to priorities in other markets and other developments and so forth,” Mr Grant said.
We’re confident of having something on the other side of 2020. But there’s no official launch plan at this moment.
“But about 12 to 18 months ago, HMC began studying about developing a light commercial vehicle for our part of the market, as well as for what North America likes. And you’ve seen the developments in North America.
"Our market program is still in development. We’re confident of having something on the other side of 2020. But there’s no official launch plan at this moment.
"But it is a far more vigorous study program in HMC, and previously they were more listening, but not acting. Now they’re acting.
“There’s a lot more happening, and something will happen in the early part of that decade."