TMR Team | Feb 20, 2017

Hyundai has offered an insight into its future product plans, including the creation of a dual-cab 4x4 ute aimed at bestsellers including the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger.

The South Korean car maker has revealed that the project, different to the SUV-based Santa Cruz concept (pictured top and below) has been moved from its wish list to its to-do list, with the assignment of a production code, a step that sees the project gathering momentum within the company.

Hyundai hasn't confirmed how much further down the development pipeline the ute project has travelled, but Hyundai Australia's Chief Operating Officer, Scott Grant, told Australian media this week that a future ute is set be become a key model in the company's future product plans.

2015 Hyundai Santa Cruz concept
2015 Hyundai Santa Cruz concept

"It's being planned, it's being prepared," the local COO said of the Hyundai ute.

"I do know that HMC [Hyundai Motor Company] is taking it very seriously and there's a model code allocated to it and there's some work under way, but what the time frames are as far as I'm aware there's no commitment.

"But we're desperate for it, no question."

Before the un-named, infantile ute steps closer to reality, Grant has flagged an "unprecedented" level of new product launches to come from the South Korean brand over the next 18 months, with around 10 all-new models set to launch locally before the end of 2018.

"There will be a lot of activity in the next 12 to 18 months, an unprecedented level of product investment and activity," he started.

"This year we have a substantial change to the Sonata which is coming in about May - pretty much right behind the i30. Later in the year we have a baby SUV codenamed OS that we're excited about.

"Then as we turn into next year we have new Veloster, new Santa Fe, [and] somewhere in that mix we have Ioniq. There are other products after that, so there is quite a heavy product plan and a lot of those are all-new products, not just a minor change but a major change."

2017 Hyundai i30
2017 Hyundai i30

Ahead of the arrival of the new third-generation i30 in May, a facelift to the Hyundai Genesis sedan will arrive along with a name-change to the Genesis G80. The Sonata will receive an extensive mid-life upgrade mid-year, at about the same time as Hyundai's first small SUV debuts globally ahead of its late-2017 local introduction.

It will be a sporty end to the year for Hyundai Australia with the i30 N hot hatch - with 183kW and 200kW 2.0-litre turbo power, a manual transmission and mechanical limited-slip differential - and the BMW 3 Series-rivalling Genesis G70 expected before Christmas.

"It's really important because it demonstrates the company's capability to develop that kind of product and it's i30 N today and other N products tomorrow," Grant said of the Hyundai hot hatchback's introduction.

Although it won't form part of the N performance range, the G70 medium sedan will likely debut in Australia with a 3.3-litre twin-turbocharged V6 driving the rear wheels - as Hyundai's more premium answer to the well-received Kia Stinger GT unveiled at the Detroit motor show in January.

2016 Genesis New York Concept - a preview of the G70
2016 Genesis New York Concept - a preview of the G70

Asked if an N-badged performance SUV model would follow the i30 N, the local COO replied: "It's planned to do that, but I haven't got any detail on it."

"It's obviously something that Australians have an interest in," he added, before hinting that with the next-generation Santa Fe large SUV due in 2018, "A sporty version is probably an opportunity for us."

Development for the next Santa Fe is expected to run alongside that of the second generation of Hyundai's bold two-plus-one-door Veloster coupe. Both will debut globally next year ahead of an Australian introduction expected in late 2018, at which time the i30 wagon and 'fastback' are due - although Grant confirmed they are not yet slated for local debut, unlike the large SUV and quirky sports model that will come to our shores.

Earlier in 2018, however, Hyundai Australia will finally access its Ioniq small liftback with a trio of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric versions expected.

MORE: Hyundai News and Reviews

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