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Discussion Starter #1
Good read from motoring au

Hyundai ute future fluid - motoring.com.au

Despite reports to the contrary, however, it appears the future of Hyundai's first ute is far from fixed, with plenty of research and development ahead for the vehicle.

"The concept car is not a preview of the production car at all -- it was designed to show intent and gauge public reaction and test the styling concept," Hyundai Australia's director of marketing Oliver Mann told motoring.com.au during last week's launch of the i30 Series 2.

"The reaction to the [Santa Cruz ute] concept was certainly positive. We think that Hyundai intends to build a ute but nothing has been announced.

"The hard product planning, the review process is ongoing internally at HMC," he said.

It's clear there's still angst within Hyundai Australia at what some have called the US arm's hijacking of the ute project to suit its own aims.

"We've been lobbying for a one-tonne forever. We're very excited by the concept as we've seen it, but what we're seeing at the moment is more a lifestyle vehicle. In Australia that's probably a smaller volume niche – it's a tough sell here," said Mann.

Australians' appetite for one-tonne utes, known as mid-size pick-ups in the US, represents huge volume potential for car-makers and even Mercedes-Benz has just confirmed it will enter the fray with a Nissan Navara-based ute.
 

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So they want a midsize truck based Hyundai with more capability. That might do ok in Australia, but that is what Hyundai is trying to avoid in the US. The US auto industry is 7 times larger than Australia's. Good sales volume in Australia for something like this would be about 10k-15k a year. Toyota sells the same amount of Tacomas in a month in the US. They are unfortunately too small to get any major attention. That's the reason the local Australian auto manufacturing industry is collapsing. They'll have to get used to this. They'll get over it. :p
 

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I just figure that its not completely clear what we are going to be getting once the Santa Cruz comes out in production form. It probably won't be a close copy of the concept. WE could get something pretty different. We will have to keep close tabs on Hyundai to see if they hint at the direction they are going to take the Santa Cruz.
 

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Mark my words - the number one reason the SC has received such a positive response is its styling. I don't care what they do to it functionality wise, but if it loses its styling and becomes just another pickup, it will just become another Ridgeline or Baja.

Considering Hyundai is capable of coming up with and following through with the Veloster, I think we have a good chance of them following through with the SC relatively close to as the concept stands now. Hyundai execs have mentioned several times how the styling and proportions were one of the main focuses when working on the concept.



 

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The Veloster is a bit more traditional in its body type, but I see your point. It will be very interesting to see what the production version ends up like. Different from the concept, but hopefully it holds true to its spirit.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Them taking on a sporty angle with the SC will be awesome, along with the kind of styling it will have with that sporty focus.

Imagine that... Santa Cruz R-Spec ;)
 

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Speaking of the Veloster, I could see them taking some design elements with respect to the door configuration to provide 4 doors yet maintain the coupe styling.

 

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Problem with suicide doors is the front door has to be open to open the rear. I have them on my extended cab truck which isn't an issue since people hardly ever sit back there. Unless Hyundai can design a suicide door where the front or rear can be opened independently, I have a feeling they will change it to conventional doors.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Good point but what also has to be factored in is how often people will be using the rear doors and for what, and finding that out could help in supporting or shooting down the idea to go suicide.
 

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I got the suicide doors on my tacoma and LOVE them. It makes it so easy to get something out of the back when you don't have to step around and open the door from the rear. I could only imagine it would be the same for anyone with young kids that need assistance getting buckled in.
 

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Except that's more of a disadvantage when you're in a parking spot next to someone. With the rear door open you get trapped between the doors. Or to get something into the rear, it has to be ahead of the rear door before you open it.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I got the suicide doors on my tacoma and LOVE them. It makes it so easy to get something out of the back when you don't have to step around and open the door from the rear. I could only imagine it would be the same for anyone with young kids that need assistance getting buckled in.
Glad to hear.
Everyone I know that has had them have nothing bad to say. Fact is they're useful with vehicles like this.
 

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Oliver's comments are disheartening -- I was hoping the concept was a preview of the production version to some extent.
From everything else we've read and heard, the concept is very close to what they expect to put out for production. You can see from that article that the Hyundai Australia branch was hoping for a more utilitarian truck and is not happy with the design direction of the SC - saying that the US arm "hijacked" the project to create a niche vehicle to suite its market.

I never paid close attention to this initially, but this sounds like an internal battle is going on between Hyundai's different markets. Unfortunately for Australia, they have a very small market, so with the US branch being in control of most of the design and engineering so far, and with having a larger market, there's a better chance we'll get our way.

Sounds like Australia wanted something like this rendering:

No thanks.

This interview done by another Australian publication talks about how production ready the concept is. The interviewer seemed pretty impressed with it as it is, so not everyone in Australia is unhappy about it.

https://youtu.be/gGpGF6ev59E
 

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Discussion Starter #17
With the U.S. being a big market for this type of truck, I think the trend of current brands that dominate it, which have for a while, will continue to in this emerging segment.
 

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Here's some more news this week from Australia. Sounds like they have very little involvement with the SC.

Hyundai Santa Cruz ute a ?speculative product?
The Hyundai Santa Cruz ute concept shown at the Detroit motor show in January this year remains a “speculative product” that isn’t in the company’s mid-term Australian launch plans.

That’s the line from Hyundai Australia COO John Elsworth, who told us this week that any prospect of a much-needed utility vehicle of any stripe remained up in the air at best.

“To be honest with you we haven’t even been asked to submit any of our requirements,” he said. “I’d say it’s a really speculative product to be honest with you, certainly if the American team are able to get it up and running it’d more for their local market [anyway].”

As we reported from the US last month, Hyundai’s North American subsidiary believes the case for Santa Cruz production is strong, for that market at least.

The Santa Cruz concept raised eyebrows when it appeared earlier this year, being a bold show car that looked to preview a car-like and sports-focused utility vehicle. Such a car would be an interesting new direction for the company.

The Korean car maker’s local arm has made no secret of its wish for more commercial vehicles. A proper Toyota HiLux rival remains priority number one, but a production Santa Cruz would still occupy a niche defined at present by the Holden Commodore and Ford Falcon ute derivatives.

Getting more commercial vehicles into its ranks would in fact position Hyundai nicely to take the mantle as Australia’s top full importer, and potential number two brand, away from Mazda. Commercial vehicles are about 20 per cent of the total market.

There’s another Hyundai commercial vehicle overseas — the new H350 large van. But that remains a left-hand-drive only proposition.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Funny how that works, meanwhile they have a type of truck similar to what the Santa Cruz is, suggesting they'd be a good market to look for answers and use as part of the foundation for getting this off the ground.
 
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