The newly appointed CEO of Hyundai Australia has confirmed that development of its global one-tonne pick-up has kicked-off ahead of its expected debut in around two to three years’ time.
In an extensive interview with whichcar.com.au, John Kett said that a framework is currently being drawn up for a complete range of versions ranging from single to double cab with two-or-four-wheel-drive, and that every pathway is being traversed to ensure that the yet-as unnamed pick-up is “a bloody ute” when it touches down.
“What’s clear to us is that if we’re going to bring a ute out, it had better be a ute. We’ve got past the first hurdle of what it needs to look like, but it needs to be functional as well,” Kett said.
“When you cut up the ute market, you split it up between 4×4 and 4×2, who owns 4×2 and what powertrain goes with that [internally] and then 4×4 crew cab versus cab/chassis and so on… we want to be smart about it and that’s what we’re going through at the moment”.
Unlike the unibody Santa Cruz that will go into production next year in North America, Hyundai’s global pick-up, as evident by spy images taken last year, will feature a traditional ladder-frame chassis like the Ford Ranger, Toyota Hilux and Isuzu D-Max, with production costs set to be shared with sister brand Kia who will introduce a pick-up of its own soon after.
“The fundamental request [to head office] hasn’t changed in terms of powertrains, drivelines, chassis set-up and abilities, relative to towing and off-road ability. That fundamental request has been consistent,” Hyundai Australia Product Manager, Andrew Tuatahi, told the publication.
“There have been a few other things that have changed recently in terms of other market’s production capacity and facilities, and that’s the dynamic we’re working with at the moment, just to make sure that whatever is agreed to as a solution for the one-tonne pick-up works for us and the other target markets that the car will be developed for”.
Based on the publication’s claims, the newcomer will allegedly be built in Indonesia where an investment of over $1-billion earlier this year will reportedly result in the construction of a new factory that is due to open in 2021.