The Hyundai Range Will Expand With A pick-up
|   Monday, April 08, 2013
One of the last niches which is not covered by Hyundai is the pick-up segment. And that is a shame as these cars are really appreciated especially on the United States market, where the Ford F-150 remains the best-selling vehicle.

Aware of the importance of this segment, the Korean manufacturer considers launching such a model in the near future. The project of a possible pick-up was confirmed by the In-Cheol Lee, international sales vice president for Hyundai.


Until the launch of the new pick-up, however, several years will pass, at least. The company is still considering the ideal parameters for future vans, including its size and potential market positioning.

In addition to the average three-year process to develop a new model, the uncertainty of the exact date of the launch is amplified by a tax obstacle currently applied in the United States. Known as the "chicken tax" this tax charges 25 percent from the value of all cars and van trucks imported into the U.S. market sites.

The fee, which will be eliminated from 2021, with the free trade agreement signed by the U.S. and South Korea comes into effect, could also be avoided by assembling future pick-up in the United States or Mexico.

If Hyundai actually decides to expand its U.S. range with a light-duty truck, it will have to deal with fierce competition. Domestic offerings from the like of the Ford F-Series, GM's Silverado and Sierra, plus Ram trucks dominate the high-profit segment and have a highly loyal fan base. Foreign competition also comes from Toyota's Tundra and Nissan's Titan, but sales figures can't compare to Detroit's giants. Even so, Hyundai supposedly wants to enter the U.S. commercial-vehicle market by this decade's end.

Hyundai's attempt to penetrate the pickup truck market in North America makes it one of the most ambitious moves for the brand, seeing how this niche is dominated by the aforementioned competitors. So, if the folks at Hyundai were to actually introduce a pickup truck, it must have something to set it apart from the pack, or its future is not at all certain.

With 2021 still a long, long way ahead, a Hyundai (or even Kia) truck may be sold first in an emerging market, in a similar fashion to how Ford sells the Ranger in Thailand, its birthplace, but not here in North America. Lifting the chicken tax will also benefit other automakers, as they will have an open door to import trucks to the U.S produced in places where labor costs are much smaller.

By the way, the rumor that Hyundai and Chrysler will cooperate on this deal has been killed off with this statement:
"Hyundai Motor Co. denies that there are any current plans to bring a pickup truck of any type into the U.S. now or in the foreseeable future. Hyundai is not in discussion with Chrysler in regard to a selling a rebadged Chrysler Corp. pickup truck, or any other vehicle, in the U.S."
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