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Hyundai to Build Santa Cruz Pickup in Alabama

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Production for this offbeat and long-awaited truck will begin in 2021

Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup
Photo: Hyundai

After years of hints, rumors, and speculation, Hyundai has finally committed to a timetable and a location for building the production version of its offbeat Santa Cruz truck concept.

Starting in 2021, this pickup will be assembled at the automaker’s Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama plant in Montgomery. First, though, the facility will undergo a $410 million expansion and hire 200 more workers to gear up for the extra production.

“Bringing the Santa Cruz to HMMA demonstrates that Hyundai Motor Company is confident our more than 3,000 team members are ready to build a quality crossover for the U.S. market,” said Byungjim Jin, HMMA president and CEO.

Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup
Photo: Hyundai

Although Hyundai is calling it a “compact utility vehicle,” the five-passenger Santa Cruz has a bed and looks more like a pickup. Its truck features are folded into a streamlined unibody frame, and its overall size is closer to that of a crossover. Hyundai’s target market for the Santa Cruz is younger, city-based drivers who might not have the space or desire for a conventional truck but still want some of the same features and capabilities.

Details about the Santa Cruz are still a bit hazy. Most of what we know about the model comes from the concept version that was introduced in 2015. Its key features include HTRAC all-wheel drive, a tailgate extension to expand the bed, rear-hinged rear doors, oversized wheels, and a sleekly sathletic silhouette. The concept also featured a 190-horsepower 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine under the hood, but we don’t know yet if that will carry over to production.