Case strengthens for Hyundai dual-cab ute
Tray delay: Middle East and African markets help a commercial pick-up program stack up, but that program is moving slowly.
Hyundai admits Asian-built pick-up is being assessed, but nothing due before 2022
16 June 2017
By TIM ROBSON in SEOUL
EVERYONE likes the idea, but it’s still a while away. That’s the message from
senior Hyundai Motor Company (HMC) figures on the fate of a commercial pick-up
program that would form the basis of Hyundai’s first dual-cab ute.
A pick-up product has been the subject of discussion at Hyundai for the better
part of seven years, but discussions with senior officials at the launch of the
Kona small SUV in South Korea this week reveals that plans may finally be
The strongest affirmation that the program is under way comes from Hyundai
director of Asia Pacific, Africa and Middle East group Bang Sun Jeong who
discussed the ute with Australian journalists at the Kona launch in Seoul this
Mr Jeong said the company is definitely assessing a pick-up program, and is in
the process of deciding what country will manufacture it.
“It would not come out of Korea,” he said. “More like Thailand or Indonesia.”
Mr Jeong, whose department is responsible for the sale of more than a million
units per year, acknowledged that the ideology behind a pick-up is something
that is not a part of Hyundai’s largest – and home – market, with Korean
consumers opting for either a passenger vehicle or a commercial vehicle.
“Here (in Korea), customers will have a sedan, or they will have a small LCV
(light-commercial vehicle),” he said, “but not a combination of both.”
The Asia Pacific, Africa and Middle East markets contribute almost a quarter of
total sales to the company’s bottom line, and Mr Jeong acknowledged that the
Middle East and Africa, in particular, are also asking for the ute.
However, Hyundai head of design Luc Donckerwolke played a straight bat on any
potential design programs for the car.
“From a pure design point of view, yes, we would love to design it, but there
has to be a business case behind it,” he said, also speaking at the Kona
“First we will have to see what kind of customer it is for, and what the volume
is and what the segment would be.”
Hyundai Motor Company Australia (HMCA) chief operating officer Scott Grant was
far more bullish about the prospect.
“We’ve been talking about it for a number of years, and you’d be familiar with
that,” he said via video link from HMCA’s head office in Sydney. “The response
from HMC for a number of years has been ‘yes, thank you very much. We hear what
you're saying’, and then the program is put it on the shelf.
“More recently, in the last maybe 18 months or so, it’s moved to ‘yes, we hear
what you're saying, and other markets have got the same requirement we're
studying’. That's a different signal.”
Mr Grant said that HMC has committed to developing a pick-up, but specifics
around timing were scarce.
“The details around exactly when and where it would be produced were yet to be
determined, but I think we're on a journey,” he said. “I don't have all the
information, but I think it's coming closer than we might think.”
The US-born Santa Cruz concept (pictured) is still used around the wider
company as a reference, according to Mr Grant, but it is unlikely to make it to
“The truck-based version is more the reality for this market, and I think other
markets are now very firm on it as well,” he said. “HMC can see that it is a
requirement in the future and that's why we've moved to the next sort of stage
of actually, preparing in some way or other to make it happen.”