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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Unibody Hyundai Santa Cruz pick-up heading for production in 2021

Santa Cruz will be bespoke to North America as it will feature a unibody platform

Hyundai has announced that the long awaited production version of the Santa Cruz pick-up will enter assembly in North America from 2021.

In an official statement, the South Korean automaker said that its first ever pick-up will be built alongside the Elantra, Santa Fe and Sonata at its Montgomery Plant in the state of Alabama that will result in a $410-million (R6.1-billion) factory overhaul creating 200 direct jobs, and employing a further 1 000 in the area related to suppliers and logistics.

“Bringing the Santa Cruz to Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (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,” HMMA CEO and President, Byungjin Jin, said.

A model that has been the topic of much speculation ever since bowing as a concept at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit four years ago, the Santa Cruz will be bespoke to North America as it will feature a unibody platform like the Honda Ridgeline and its SUV offerings, whereas the confirmed ‘world pick-up’ destined for other markets will employ a traditional ladder-frame architecture like the Toyota Hilux, Ford Ranger, Volkswagen Amarok, Isuzu D-Max, Nissan Navara and Mitsubishi Triton.

Rumoured to have underpinnings derived from the Tucson, the Santa Cruz could therefore feature the same assortment of engines, which in the States consists out of two normally aspirated petrols; a 2.0-litre producing 122kW/205Nm and a 2.4 outputting 135kW/237Nm, both of which are paired to a six-speed automatic gearbox.

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