Hyundai is testing reaction to a small bakkie aimed at young urban consumers.
The Santa Cruz concept has been in development for two and a half years and would be at least three years away from production if consumer reaction continues to be positive, Dave Zuchowski, president of Hyundai Motor America, told reporters. The model is based on the same chassis design as the ix35 sport-utility vehicle, he said. Small SUVs are sometimes called cute utes.
“We’re not into ploughing the same old groove as everyone else,” Zuchowski told reporters after the diminutive silver pick-up was shown to reporters today at the Detroit Motor Show.
The smaller Santa Cruz is aimed at buyers who can’t afford the cost of the average pick-up, said Mike O’Brien, vice president of corporate and product planning for Hyundai Motor America. Because of the costs and other limitations, 80% of buyers won’t consider a pick-up, he said.
As “urban adventurers” move into cities, they are plagued by tighter parking and other restrictions that make larger pick-ups impractical, said Mark Dipko, director of corporate planning for Hyundai Motor America.
The all-wheel-drive prototype, which can hold five passengers, is designed to get fuel economy in the 9l/100km range, Dipko said. The small pick-up bed has a hard cover that encloses the cargo, Hyundai said. Buyers under 30 represent just 7% of pickup customers, Dipko said. “Clearly there are customers out there the current market is not serving, It’s a vehicle for the next frontier and the urban adventurers who are leading the way,” he said.