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Hyundai Santa Cruz taking the slow lane to production

by Ronan Glon

The pickup might not arrive until 2020.

Hyundai still plans to make the Santa Cruz concept (pictured) it unveiled in 2015 a reality. The model is still approximately two years away from production, however.

"We love it, we talk about it a lot," said Brian Smith, the chief operating officer for Hyundai's American arm, in an interview with Motor Trend. He added the company's research and development department is busy with other projects and it needs to prioritize, which explains why the five-year gap between concept and production.

There's no word on how the pickup will change in its transition from a concept car to a production model. Its design has presumably evolved to keep up with Hyundai's design language, which changed with the arrival of cars like the Kona.

The Hyundai Santa Cruz -- a name that will likely carry over to production -- will go on sale in 2020, meaning we might not see it until the 2021 model year. When it lands, it will compete in the same segment as the Honda Ridgeline and, to a lesser extent, body-on-frame compact trucks like the Chevrolet Colorado.

One of its competitors might come from Germany, too. The Atlas Tanoak concept Volkswagen introduced recently at the New York auto show could make production, though the German firm stressed it hasn't put together a favorable business case for it yet.