As reported by Leisure Wheels earlier in the year, Hyundai is still considering manufacturing a pickup truck. The bakkie – likely to be very close to the Kia KCV4 Mojave pickup concept we saw at motor shows in 2004 – is being considered with renewed interest in South Korea. The Kia concept was meant to be a mid-sized, four-wheel drive bakkie. It’s unlikely to skip our shores if it’s made, and this is just about the only market that the growing automotive company does not compete in. “We do not have a pickup truck,” said Lee In-cheol, vice-president of international sales, speaking to web-based Automotive News. “We are studying that one very hard – what kind of pickup truck we should produce, if we have to. Is it a big-size pickup truck like in the United States or a small kind of pickup truck?”
So what’s the hold up? Kia’s excuse in 2008 was that the rising oil prices and declining light commercial market made for bad timing. Now, while a trade agreement between the US and South Korea signed in March last year allows the Korean company to sell their vehicles in America without paying import tacks, this does not extend to light commercial vehicles. With America as their biggest potential bakkie market, Hyundai may be losing out on major sales, but seems to be willing to wait for a change in the import tax of 25%. The so-called “chicken tax” should be lifted in 2021.
But, according to their team, Hyundai is certainly looking into the concept, and the proposal now reportedly lies with their new R&D centre. He went on to say that the brand has done well up to date without a bakkie, and that it’s not their first priority.
The company won’t give an exact date, but rumours are that the Santa Fe based bakkie, to be produced in South Korea, should be released by 2017.