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Remember the Hyundai Santa Cruz pick-up truck concept from the Detroit Auto Show at the beginning of the year? American automotive portal Edmunds is now reporting that should it get a green light for production – a decision on which is expected to be made by late summer – it will be based on the Tucson‘s monocoque architecture, rather than the ladder frame construction used by competing models.

Billed as a “crossover truck,” the Santa Cruz is said to be aimed at buyers who want the aesthetic of a pick-up, but without the ruggedness (and the roughness, we’d assume) of a traditional body-on-frame truck. It will reportedly share the Tucson’s platform and many of the latter’s components to cut development time by about one or two years, compared to building a unique architecture from the ground up.

“We would not be starting from scratch with this vehicle, that is fair to say,” said Hyundai Motor America’s director of product planning Scott Margason “[There is] a lot of active work going on within the company in terms of whether we take that concept to production.

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“We introduced the Santa Cruz in Detroit and that vehicle was very well received, not only during the show but since then. We got a lot of consumer feedback from it — very positive.”

An industry source was cited as saying that Hyundai Motor America CEO Dave Zuchowski has been urging the South Korean management to build the Santa Cruz – Automotive News reported that the US executive gave the prediction of a go-ahead for the truck’s production.

The company is in the midst of conducting market research for the vehicle, as well as deciding on the powertrains to be offered – the concept utilised a 190 hp/406 Nm 2.0 litre four-pot turbodiesel claimed to be able to achieve a fuel consumption figure of 12.8 km per litre.

2016 Tucson
2016 Hyundai Tucson

Hyundai’s supposedly slow US growth has been attributed to a shortage of crossovers – its SUV lineup currently consists of the new third-gen Tucson, the Santa Fe and the shorter Santa Fe Sport – to cater to growing demand.

The Santa Cruz is seen as part of the solution, targeted at lifestyle usage rather than commercial buyers. “We tend to refer to it as more of an open-utility vehicle,” Margason said. “It is a personal-use vehicle.”

This wouldn’t be the first pick-up truck to be built on a unibody architecture – the Honda Ridgeline, launched in 2005, also rides on a passenger car platform, based on the US-market Pilot crossover.