Después de coquetear con varios concepts y anunciar su intención de entrar al segmento, Hyundai por fin confirmó que su primera pick-up se fabricará en Estados Unidos. La automotriz coreana realizó el anuncio durante una entrevista con la agencia Reuters (ver cable completo abajo).

El modelo se podría lanzar a la venta en 2020 y estará basado en la idea de la Santa Cruz Concept, que se presentó en el Salón de Detroit 2015. Si bien aquél prototipo estaba basado en la Tucson de actual generación, la pick-up podría utilizar la plataforma de las próximas Tucson/Santa Fe.

La idea de Hyundai es avanzar sobre el desarrollo de una pick-up con carrocería autoportante, sin chasis de pick-up tradicional. La automotriz coreana no competirá en el segmento de las full-size (donde en Estados Unidos reina la Ford F-150) ni en el mercado de las medianas (donde compiten las Toyota Tacoma y Chevrolet Colorado/S10).

La Santa Cruz propone una pick-up para el segmento compacto, con carrocería de doble cabina y cuatro puertas, para los usuarios que buscan un vehículo de dimensiones más contenidas.

El plan de Hyundai coincide con los rumores que existen hace tiempo de una posible comercialización de la Fiat Toro en Estados Unidos. Gran parte del desarrollo de esa pick-up se realizó en América del Norte, donde se vieron varios de los primeros prototipos de pruebas. De hacerlo, la Toro podría venderse bajo la marca Ram, como ya ocurre con muchos utilitarios de Fiat.

Mientras tanto, Hyundai ya tiene otro proyecto de una pick-up, pero de dimensiones todavía más compactas. La idea está basada en la Creta STC Concept, que se presentó el año pasado en el Salón de San Pablo (leer nota).

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Cable de la Agencia Reuters Hyundai will launch pickup, more SUVs to reverse U.S. sales slide

DETROIT/SEOUL (Reuters) - Hyundai Motor plans to produce a pickup truck in the United States as part of a broader plan to catch up with a shift away from sedans in one of the Korean automaker's most important markets, a senior company executive told Reuters.

Michael J. O'Brien, vice president of corporate and product planning at Hyundai's U.S. unit, said Hyundai's top management has given the green light for development of a pickup truck similar to a show vehicle called the Santa Cruz that U.S. Hyundai executives unveiled in 2015.

Hyundai currently does not offer a pickup truck in the United States.

O'Brien also said Hyundai plans to launch a small SUV called the Kona in the United States later this year.

People familiar with the automaker's plans said the pick-up truck is expected to be launched in 2020.

They said separately that Hyundai plans to introduce three other new or refreshed SUVs by 2020.

Under the plan, Hyundai Motor plans to roll out a new version of its Santa Fe Sport mid-sized SUV next year, followed by an all-new 7-passenger crossover which will replace a current three-row Santa Fe in early 2019 in the United Sates. A redesigned Tucson SUV is expected in 2020.

So-called crossovers - sport utilities built on chassis similar to sedans - now account for about 30 percent of total light vehicle sales in the United States. Consumers in China, the world's largest auto market, are also substituting car-based SUVs for sedans.

Hyundai's U.S. dealers have pushed the company to invest more aggressively in SUVs and trucks as demand for sedans such as the midsize Sonata and the smaller Elantra has waned.

"We are optimistic about the future," said Scott Fink, chief executive of Hyundai of New Port Richey, Florida, which is Hyundai's biggest U.S. dealer. "But we are disappointed that we don't have the products today."

Hyundai's U.S. sales are down nearly 11 percent this year through July 31, worse than the overall 2.9 percent decline in U.S. car and light truck sales. Sales of the Sonata, once a pillar of Hyundai's U.S. franchise, have fallen 30 percent through the first seven months of 2017. In contrast, sales of Hyundai's current SUV lineup are up 11 percent for the first seven months of this year.

"Our glasses are fairly clean," O'Brien said. "We understand where we have a shortfall."

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