Erin Mays caught some interesting news coming out of Hyundai at today's session of the annual Management Briefing Seminars. The South Korean automaker has confirmed that it will be producing an upper mid-size CUV called the VeraCruz that will have three rows of seating, available AWD, lots of airbags (duh, it's a Hyundai), more cargo space than a Mercedes-Benz GL-Class and be bigger than a Honda Pilot. The seven-passenger vehicle will be built on an expanded Santa Fe platform, and be similar in size to Ford's Explorer SUV.
We've known this CUV existed for some time based on spy shots of the vehicle being tested. Once thought to be called the "Mesa", the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration spilled the beans on the name "VeraCruz" when it uploaded a place for the vehicle on its Safercar.gov site in anticipation of crash testing it.

Hyundai already markets a seven-passenger SUV in Asia and Europe, the Terracan, but with the market for full-on, body-on-frame 4x4s shrinking daily, developing a new model probably looked like a better bet.

John Krafcik, Hyundai's VP of Product Development and Strategic Planning, made the announcement today and said we'll see the production VeraCruz for the first time at the North American International Auto Show in January.

Of note: Krafcik also said Hyundai would be launching four new vehicles by 2010, some in new segments.





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