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Hyundai Santa Cruze pickup is a when, not an if

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A production version Hyundai HCD-15 Santa Cruz concept looks all but certain to arrive in showrooms to compete in the growing small truck field, and Hyundai Motor America CEO Dave Zuchowski claims the official announcement is now just a matter of scheduling. "Our timing is not crossing our fingers and waiting for approval, it's trying to figure out when we're going to announce it," he said to Motoring.

According to Zuchowski, the people at Hyundai's headquarters in South Korea have a say when the announcement comes, but he didn't indicate exactly how soon the model's production could be official. Zuchowski suggested Hyundai intended to ship the truck to places outside the US, too. "I'm not clear on the other markets, but from our perspective it's a vehicle that will be exported to other markets," he said to Motoring.

The Santa Cruz was one of the most popular concept debuts at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show, and Hyundai execs in the US quickly started working to get a green light for production from headquarters. As of late December 2015, the automaker reportedly had the engineering feasibility and business case complete for the truck, and the bosses just needed to give final approval.

Hyundai would reportedly use the Tucson for the Santa Cruz's underpinnings, and the model might be the company's first with a diesel engine in the US. The production version would enter a booming market for smaller pickups like the Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon, Toyota Tacoma, and newly unveiled second-generation Honda Ridgeline. However, Hyundai's entry would likely be the smallest among them and target young crossover customers who want a little more hauling capability.

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