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Talking Poop and Santa Cruz With Hyundai's Product Planner ? News ? Car and Driver | Car and Driver Blog
Of course, the Hyundai on everyone’s mind is still the Santa Cruz concept, a small crossover with an open pickup bed and the promise of diesel propulsion first exhibited at the Detroit auto show this year. Rumors have been swirling that Hyundai will actually build it, so we asked the executive whether it’s a realistic daydream.
“We’ve been working on that very actively,” O’Brien told C/D. “It’s still not an approved production program, but we’ve got a significant, big team of engineers working on it. Once we understand the cost and feasibility, then it gets raised up through our product planning. It’s basically progressing, and so far very positive, but no production go-ahead yet. We’re still working on that.”
O’Brien says the Santa Cruz would fill a void in the market in terms of size, price, and capability. “It’s for people that generally end up in a compact or subcompact SUV, but that’s not really what they wanted,” he said. “From our perspective, there’s this big unmet need, people that want something that’s easy to park in a more urban environment, that’s easy to garage, that gets good fuel economy. There’s no open-bed product that gets 30 mpg yet.”
The Hyundai executive made a good point: Years ago, you could buy a new compact truck for roughly the same price, and with the same features, as a comparable economy car—a Ford Ranger for the price of an Escort was O’Brien’s example. “For us there’s all these factors that are basically boiling together and creating a nice planetary alignment for a product like Santa Cruz.” And the price? “Our image all along has been to keep it priced similar to a subcompact CUV,” O’Brien told us. “So you think of a RAV4 or a Tucson.”