NAIAS Is Broken–and the Hyundai Santa Cruz Is to Blame
“Hyundai Introduces Convention-Shattering Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept at Detroit International Auto Show,” stated the official press release. The convention is the only thing the Santa Cruz has damaged.
Why the Hyundai Santa Cruz Is Our Fault
Hyundai representatives at the press conference in Detroit explained that the brand wanted to meet the needs of its customers by providing a revolutionary new vehicle. With the pickup and CUV segments of the market increasing, and Hyundai’s current focus only on the car market, the automaker’s growth hasn’t been keeping up with industry standards. Everyone–critic or fan–could agree the automaker needed to take a new direction to remain successful.
But no one was expecting this bizarre mutation.
The Hyundai Santa Cruz is the result of years of consumer feedback and suggestions that have been considered by the automaker (a little too seriously, it appears) and combined into one giant crossover pickup truck. It’s derivative of the ute (utility coupe) popular in Australia and New Zealand, and according to Director of Corporate Planning for Hyundai America, “The Santa Cruz crossover truck concept meets the unspoken needs of a growing Millennial lifestyle we call ‘Urban Adventurers.'”
In other words, Hyundai is giving you what you asked for.
In a tragic twist, Hyundai delivered its customers what they asked for, only to be spurned by the customers it’s trying to please. Apart from a few urban hipsters on Twitter yearning to drive a vehicle everybody dislikes, reaction to the Hyundai Santa Cruz has been overwhelmingly unfavorable–purely for its appearance. The overwhelming question being asked is, “Will anyone actually want to drive this?”
The Korean brand’s new experimental truck might have sounded great on paper–heck, it even did when Hyundai’s representatives were describing the Santa Cruz as it was being paraded on stage–but clearly it didn’t translate well into the real world. It winds up resembling the offspring of a loveless sexual encounter between the Youabian Puma and the Silver Surfer.
I’m a big fan of Hyundai Motors. The automaker has become successful because of its dedication to customer satisfaction and actively listening to the feedback it receives. But, that doesn’t always mean we should all get whatever we ask for. Hyundai cares about what its customers want, but at a time when the automaker is already at production capacity and struggling to keep up, it should’ve used some discretion and stuck to alternative energy avenues.
Otherwise, the brand’s appeasement of its customers’ “unspoken” needs may be its undoing.
Aaron is unashamed to be a native Clevelander and the proud driver of a 1995 Saturn SC-2 (knock on wood). He gleefully utilizes his background in theater, literature, and communication to dramatically recite his own articles to nearby youth. Mr. Widmar happily resides in Dayton, Ohio with his magnificent wife, Vicki, but is often on the road with her exploring new destinations. Aaron has high aspirations for his writing career but often gets distracted pondering the profound nature of the human condition and forgets what he was writing… See more articles by Aaron.