Hyundai Confirms Pickup Truck for Alabama Plant
Hyundai Motor Co. confirms it will begin producing the Santa Cruz compact pickup truck at its U.S. assembly plant in Montgomery, Ala., in 2021.
The company described the truck in July as a versatile utility vehicle that will define a new market segment. The Santa Cruz debuted in concept form (pictured) at the Detroit auto show in 2015.
The coupelike concept has four doors, with the second-row pair hinged at the rear. The vehicle’s short cargo bed has a sliding tailgate extender. Hyundai says the truck was designed to appeal to non-traditional truck customers.
Hyundai plans to spent $410 million to expand the Alabama complex for the Santa Cruz, adding 200 jobs at the plant and another 1,000 in the region. The project will install new metal stamping, welding and parts processing areas for the vehicle.
The Alabama complex currently builds the Santa Fe SUV and Elantra and Sonata sedans. Hyundai indicated earlier that its Kia brand may eventually get its own variant of the truck.
Several years back, one of the authors visited a major North American assembly plant engaged in the launch of a new vehicle program. A "ramp-up" schedule was prominently displayed on a bulletin board deep in the heart of the plant. The schedule indicated that the day of the visit was the same day the plant was originally planned to achieve full capacity production of its new product. Yet the plant was actually producing only a few units an hour! The assembly plant's tardiness is certainly not uncommon, but did contribute to our interest in the wide range in vehicle launch performance across major vehicle firms.
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