Hyundai Denies Intention of Launching Full-Size Pickups
By Chris Haak
There were numerous stories circulating earlier this week that Hyundai was considering an entry into the high-volume US full-size pickup market. Adding fuel to the fire is the fact that Hyundai apparently slapped a Hyundai grille onto a current Dodge Ram and displayed that rebadged truck to a number of potential consumers in clinics to gauge their reaction to the vehicle. Although the fact that the vehicle shown in the clinics was a Ram, that may not necessarily mean that Hyundai had been planning on a Ram rebadge. However, we’ve seen several reports indicating that, in fact, Hyundai and Chrysler Group were negotiating a manufacturing agreement to do just that. Apparently, though the carmakers couldn’t agree on production volumes to better-utilize Chrysler’s underutilized plants.
Now, perhaps feeling a bit tentative based on the lack of success that Nissan has enjoyed with its Titan full-size pickup (not to mention Toyota’s Tundra pickup not meeting its aggressive sales projections), Hyundai today poured cold water on the concept. It’s interesting to note that in this situation, Hyundai has very nearly followed Nissan’s path to the tee, albeit without actually reaching a production agreement with Chrysler.
Our friends at PickupTrucks.com are reporting today that Hyundai has officially denied that it has any intent of offering a pickup truck in the US in the foreseeable future. The exact quote:
Hyundai Motor Co. denies that there are any current plans to bring a pickup truck of any type into the U.S. now or in the foreseeable future. Hyundai is not in discussion with Chrysler in regard to a selling a rebadged Chrysler Corp. pickup truck, or any other vehicle, in the U.S.
The same article at PickupTrucks.com linked above does mention, however, that Hyundai is still considering launching a line of commercial vehicles in the US later this decade. If so, that move would likely closely mirror what Nissan is in the process of implementing in its Canton, Mississippi factory with its new commercial vans. Chrysler and Hyundai actually already have an agreement in place for commercial vehicles, with Hyundai providing the Dodge H-100 vans in Mexico. (The white vans at the top of this article at Dodge H-100s, in spite of the Hyundai H on their grilles. Even the vehicle’s official website shows the Hyundai H.)
Hyundai clearly has big ambitions for growth, and must be licking its chops at the thought of getting a piece of the million-plus full-size pickup market. But it is probably taking a practical stance in the matter, knowing that there are extremely high barriers for entry in that market, and a very loyal buyer base. Perhaps Hyundai is also aware of the illustrious history of pickups rebadged for smaller automakers – witness the Suzuki Equator (Nissan Frontier), Mitsubishi Raider (Dodge Dakota), and Isuzu I-series (Chevrolet Colorado).