If a second Hyundai ute is feasible, the company will “make it happen” – but don’t expect a petrol or diesel engine under the bonnet.
A second Hyundai dual-cab ute is on the cards – but it would use electric power, not petrol or diesel, and tread a different path to the Ford and Toyota establishment.
Hyundai already offers a ute in its global portfolio, the car-derived Santa Cruz – but it’s sold exclusively in left-hand drive in North America, creating an opening for a traditional dual-cab offering for the rest of the world.
Speaking with Drive in South Korea this week, Thomas Schemera, Hyundai vice president of product and strategy, said: “In our long range plan, we have many, many strategic products. We have a lot of things in the pipeline.
“Nothing has been confirmed yet. But I can imagine if there is a way to showcase and to compose vehicles like that – for example for Australia and for the US – we [will] make it happen.”
However, any future ute from the company would use electric propulsion, Schemera hints – in line with sister brand Kia, which has announced plans to launch two electric utes in 2026.
“I have had many discussions with the Australian market, I know there is a big demand for that [a ute] and I really respect that. But to start developing vehicles on an ICE [petrol or diesel-engined] basis doesn’t make any sense.”
“In this case, we have to shift also our way of thinking and operating for the electric vehicle [EV].
“This is a different typology and a different task for us. Weight, size, aerodynamics, assets, user experience. It’s not that easy to realise all that, but we already have ideas how to do it – but nothing has been decided.
“So we have freedom of thinking out of the box on a regular basis. This makes [for], by the way, a lot of fun, to think out of the box and have the creativity not pushed into a box. Coming back to your question [about a ute]… We will see.
Should a future Hyundai ute be fully electric, it remains to be seen if it would be marketed only as a Hyundai, or under the company’s Ioniq EV sub-brand – as per the Ioniq 5, 6 and 7 models.
However, Schemera says the chances of another Hyundai ute would depend on more than just building a business case – but also how much the company can innovate in the pick-up market.
“It is not just about the business case. I mentioned before it is also pioneering, trying things out, setting trends, creating trends, seeing the opportunity rather than just the risks.”
Speaking more broadly on the Ioniq brand, Schemera said: “We don’t compare EVs with ICE. It is a completely different way of thinking, completely different concept, completely different technology.
“That’s why Ioniq plays a very important role from a brand standpoint. That’s why this is called a ‘product lineup brand’. This is not a sub-brand. This is not a brand like, let’s say Genesis. This is a product lineup brand. And the positive buzz we create is comparable to N as well. To get access to target groups, to try things out, to further emotionalise the brand.”
These Kia utes could pave the way for Hyundai-badged siblings – though such models would be unique vehicles on shared platforms, rather than just rebadged versions of its sister brand’s offerings.
Hyundai and Kia’s Australian divisions have been tight-lipped on plans to add utes to their ranges – however both companies have expressed interest, as the ticket to together beating Australia’s best-selling car brand, Toyota.
The Hyundai Santa Cruz has been ruled out for Australia, due to a lack of a right-hand-drive version.
with Glenn Butler
Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020. Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines as a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.