It’s no secret that Hyundai has been considering entering the growing bakkie segment. And now an executive Down Under has confirmed that the project is “moving forward”.
Speaking to CarAdvice, Hyundai Australia chief operating officer Scott Grant said that his efforts to convince the automaker’s bosses in Korea were “starting to come to fruition”.
“For a number of years now we have made through our product planning team a number of submissions to HMC [Hyundai Motor Company] about the market conditions in Australia, and it’s pretty obvious that LCVs in general are substantial in terms of sales percentage in our market,” Grant told the publication.
“We have done some significant detailed studies on the competition over recent years, and there has been a number of recent entrants to that market as well, so we’ve continued to update that material with HMC.
“They’ve been listening and, back five years ago, they told us they are busy with other things. In the last couple of years, they’ve said ‘we’ve received similar enquiries from other markets’ and the project is now moving forward,” Grant explained.
Interestingly, Grant confirmed to CarAdvice that the vehicle he has in mind is not a lifestyle bakkie in the vein of the Santa Cruz concept. Instead, he hopes to tackle the likes of the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger with a full range of one-tonne commercial vehicles.
“We’ve requested the whole shooting match: 4×2, 4×4, single-cab, extra-cab, dual-cab, a number of combinations. If we’re going to do it, we’ll do it properly and have a good crack at it. Who knows, off the basis of that structure we can then do a high-riding SUV, for example,” Grant said.
“We understand that it is starting to come to fruition. Mr Rhim [executive vice president of the brand’s international operations division] commented to us the other day that it’s commencing within the next couple of years.”
When can we expect to see the finished product? Well, if earlier reports are anything to go by, it won’t be on this side of 2020…