Because Kia is related to Hyundai, everybody wonders if the Santa Cruz will be badge-engineered as a result. Motor Trend had the chance to talk with Michael Cole at the 2019 New York Auto Show, and the answer is yes, the higher-ups are considering it.
“It's a long way down the road,” said the chief operating officer and executive vice president at Kia Motors America. “We think that there's enough opportunity, (…) but it’s not in our thinking right now. We're focusing on what we believe to be the core territory for us.”
Cole refers to SUVs and passenger cars, and that’s curious. Ford, General Motors, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles are phasing out sedans and hatchbacks in favor of crossovers while South Korea and Japan still believe in these designs. Can you imagine a world without them?
Both Kia and Hyundai are focused on the electric revolution, coming up with the e-Niro and Kona Electric. There’s also the Ioniq and Nexo, as well as the plug-in hybrid Optima. Speaking of the mid-size sedan, the next generation will borrow parts from the 2020 Sonata, including the 1.6-liter turbo and eight-speed transmission.
The Santa Cruz and whatever Kia could call the truck won’t be alone in the compact segment. Volkswagen plans to introduce the Tarok in 2020 on the MQB platform of the Golf while Ford is developing a successor for the Courier, most likely on the C2 vehicle architecture utilized by the Focus, Kuga, Escape, and Baby Bronco.