Hyundai only increased its sales by 1 percent in 2014 in an up year for the industry that saw sales increase by an average of 5 percent for manufacturers across the board. But the top brass had an explanation for this at the Detroit Auto Show. You see, truck sales have been moving the needle for other companies. And without a true truck, Hyundai has relied on car sales.
All of the hedging that was taking place led up to the reveal of the Hyundai Santa Cruz concept – a vehicle that Hyundai officials feel could “change the industry.” The vehicle features a small bed similar to a truck in back, while still offering seating for five. This is in response to what Hyundai says is a consumer outcry for a crossover type vehicle that has storage options that aren’t in the main cabin. An example was given of sweaty sports equipment or a large chest of drawers that couldn’t be transported in the back of a crossover.
The Santa Cruz would be ideal for those “in-between times when you need more space” they said. I find it hard to believe this one will actually become a reality. While it may come in handy those few times, the fact is, people don’t really buy vehicles because they may, at some point, need more space once or twice. It may be inconvenient those times when you don’t have the space, but having a small cabin with a truck bed that is not being used 99 percent of the time would seem to be even more inconvenient.
Much of the issue is that the beds on these vehicles are never big enough to really do anything with when you do need it. There’s a reason that the El Camino of old and the even more recent Subaru Baja never really caught on. Why Hyundai thinks this idea is original, I don’t know.
Maybe I’m wrong, but I just don’t see it with this one. Time will tell if it becomes a reality, and if so, if the demand can sustain it. If it all happens, kudos to Hyundai for figuring out this “new” segment.