JW Lee, Hyundai Motor Company Australia (HMCA) chief executive officer, announced that Mr Eui-sun is very serious about putting the ute concept to production and is eyeing a 2020 launch. Mr Eui-sun is the son and “heir apparent” to Hyundai Motor Group global chairman Chung Mong-koo.
“Our vice chairman has said recently, (and has) mentioned several times, about this type of pick-up truck, (and has stated this) very seriously,” Lee said.
“We are yet to disclose the entire program, but as this time he is serious, it may be two to three years (away). In my view, a decision has been made, but more detail cannot be disclosed.”
The ute is designed to rival the Mitsubishi Triton, Toyota HiLux, and Ford Ranger in the South-East Asian, European and Australian markets. Demand for these one-tonne utilities is expected to increase steadily.
The project may be produced outside Korea due to limited factory space. There will be an expansion of Hyundai, Kia, and Genesis products hence the consideration. Thailand and Vietnam are considered as possible locations for the Southeast Asian plant.
Hyundai have flirted with the idea of developing a ute concept since the Santa Cruz in 2015. However, Lee clarified that the version it will produce is not intended for sale in Australia and will be made exclusively in left-hand guise.
He added that the Santa Cruz is too small for the market segment they have in mind.
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