Chrysler-Hyundai Pickup Rumors Prove False; Commercial Vehicles Remain Possible

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Although the news wires were abuzz with rumors of Hyundai reportedly eying a liaison with Chrysler for pickup trucks, it appears they were premature.

Reports first surfaced last week that Hyundai was showing images of a dressed-up Ram 1500 to consumer focus groups in California and Texas. Following that, stories emerged that Hyundai Motor Corporation -- parent company of Hyundai Motor America -- was reportedly approaching Chrysler for a partnership in full-size pickups, much like Nissan had considered until Chrysler's bankruptcy.

When pressed by PickupTrucks.com, Hyundai presented its official stance on the issue.

"Hyundai Motor Co. denies that there are any current plans to bring a pickup truck of any type into the U.S. now or in the foreseeable future. Hyundai is not in discussion with Chrysler in regard to a selling a rebadged Chrysler Corp. pickup truck, or any other vehicle, in the U.S."

What to make of the consumer clinic, then? It's widely suggested that the automaker was simply gauging consumer reaction to a commercial vehicle line. Nissan is already hard at work at launching its commercial van lineup in North America, and Hyundai Motor Company -- which already has a number of light and medium-duty commercial vehicles offered abroad -- may be considering joining the fray.

Although Hyundai's vans have never been sold in North America, its commercial vehicles have. From 1997 until 2001, its medium-duty cabover trucks were sold by the Bering Truck corporation in the U.S. Hyundai planned on importing the trucks here under its own name, but between 2002 and 2003, only a handful were brought stateside before the venture was canned.

Sources: PickupTrucks.com, Reuters

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