Reports continue to indicate that there will be a Hyundai pickup truck, but this bit of news is about the potential of a Kia pickup. After all, if Hyundai does it, why can’t its corporate cousin Kia get a slice of the pie, too? We’ve heard rumors of a Kia truck before, but this report is much more definitive about the project’s existence. Damien Meredith, the Chief Operating Officer of Kia Australia told CarsGuide that the Kia pickup is a go.
“Work has begun,” Meredith says. “We’re talking about a dual-cab, a single cab. What we’ve requested is the full gambit (sic) for the ute, and that (includes) a dual cab with diesel and petrol.”
Of course, this is Kia Australia talking. There’s no one suggesting that any Australia-specific Kia truck would make it to the United States, but it’s intriguing to know the designers and engineers are on the job. We didn’t previously know that there would be a Kia pickup, but now Meredith is saying it will likely be arriving around 2022 or 2023. The latest on Hyundai’s pickup is that it’ll be launching in 2020, but Hyundai hasn’t confirmed anything yet.
Meredith also touted that the Kia pickup wouldn’t be a “lifestyle vehicle,” but more of a serious pickup truck. Would Kia actually make a body-on-frame pickup to compete against trucks like the Ford Ranger or Toyota Hilux in other markets? That’s certainly nothing like what we think the Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup is going to be like. That’s expected to be a unibody pickup, similar to the Honda Ridgeline in stature and drivability. The more we read into this, the more this pickup is looking like a body-on-frame utility vehicle for markets outside the United States. Kia could sell the truck in Asia, Australia and other markets where the international version of the Ranger and Hilux are offered. Will it ever see the U.S. market if this is the case? Probably not. Although the Ranger ended up here, it did so after substantial re-engineering. The Hilux and other trucks like the VW Amarok remain for other countries only. We’d expect the Kia truck as described by Meredith to be so as well.