Kia & Hyundai to launch pickup after securing SUV market
Yes, we'll have to keep on waiting for a Hyundai/Kia pickup. The difference this time is now you can better set your expectations on when to expect its launch. That is, after Hyundai/Kia has capitalized enough on the massively growing SUV segments. Till then don't expect to see anything.
Ever since sister-brand Hyundai unveiled the Santa Cruz pickup concept more than 4 years ago, there have been rumors about Kia planning a similar vehicle, too.
Now, those rumors have been fueled by an interesting statement made by Kia North America’s COO, Michael Cole, in a sit-down with MotorTrend.
The exec said that Kia might indeed launch a pickup in the future, but now is not the time to think of it as they have other priorities, like rolling out more SUVs and strengthening their sedan range.
“Yeah, I think it is”, said Cole when asked whether there’s a possibility of seeing a Kia pickup. “I mean it’s a long way down the road. We think that there’s enough opportunity. We look at our core segments right now and we want to become a stronger SUV brand. We want to reaffirm our strength in the sedan lineup, and there are things that we still think we can do in those areas that offer us the best opportunity.”
“Down the line, if we can tick all those boxes and say we’ve got this sorted and thinking about the electrification, and all of these other issues, could some sort of pickup be part of the future Kia lineup? It could be, but it’s not in our thinking right now”, Cole added. “We’re focusing on what we believe to be the core territory for us: SUVs and cars.”
Apart from a future pickup, what’s also interesting is that Kia isn’t ditching passenger cars. Unlike, say, Ford, which will drop most of its passenger cars in the U.S. in favor of more high-riding vehicles, the Korean car firm won’t discontinue their four-door models.
Meanwhile, Hyundai seems to be committed to launching a pickup, which was previewed by the Santa Cruz. The vehicle should go after the Nissan Navara and its two siblings, the Renault Alaskan and Mercedes-Benz X-Class, the Mitsubishi L200 and others in Europe, and is believed to be coming to North America, too.
Unlike most rivals, which use a body-on-frame chassis, the Hyundai pickup is believed to be based on a unibody crossover platform. This would make the ride more comfortable, but would also limit its off-road capability. However, if it keeps those looks, we think most customers won’t mind that much.