It kicked off 2015 with a buzz-generating surprise debut at the North American International Auto Show in January, and now the popular Hyundai Santa Cruz has earned the prestigious title of Concept Truck of the Year at the 14th annual North American Concept Vehicle of the Year (NACVOTY) Awards at the Concours d'Elegance of America at St. John's.
The Santa Cruz was recognized as the Concept Truck of the Year for its design, style, materials, technology, market visibility and market responsiveness – besting the Kia Trail'Ster and Mitsubishi GC-PHEV. The award was presented by Mark Phelan, auto critic at the Detroit Free Press and NACVOTY juror.
"The compact-truck segment in the U.S. is tremendously competitive, and overall truck sales have skyrocketed to become one of the best-selling segments in today's market," said Mike O'Brien, vice president of corporate and product planning, Hyundai Motor America. "Hyundai's new Santa Cruz crossover truck concept is a modern take on the classic theme of one of America's most-loved segments – the pickup truck. Unlike some of the industry's past attempts to blend open bed utility with passenger car attributes, Santa Cruz delivers innovative functionality and flexibility in a compact, fun-to-drive package for a new breed of pickup truck buyers. We are proud that the Santa Cruz got the vote of approval as the Concept Truck of the Year from some of the auto industry's most esteemed critics."
The NACVOTY awards recognize those vehicles most likely to shape the future of the automobile industry. More than two dozen jurors participated in a selection process that involved a total of 30 vehicles, each introduced to North America during this season's auto shows in Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago, Toronto and New York.
"The Santa Cruz is what the light-truck category needs - loads of style for people without big loads," said Gary Vasilash, Automotive Design and Production editor-in-chief and NACVOTY juror.
The innovative Hyundai Santa Cruz crossover truck concept reflects a completely new interpretation of truck utility for a new generation of buyers. The Santa Cruz concept meets the unspoken needs of a growing millennial lifestyle that Hyundai calls "urban adventurers." This new crossover provides urban adventurers the expandable utility they need throughout their active week – from work-life professionalism to social interests to a variety of outdoor pursuits –without the typical compromises they have come to expect from the industry's current product offerings. The Santa Cruz concept is purposely compact, and although it features four doors and seating for five, its overall footprint is similar to that of a small CUV.
NORTH AMERICAN CONCEPT VEHICLE OF THE YEAR
Founded in 2002, the North American Concept Vehicle of the Year Awards recognize those concept vehicles that have made the strongest impact in terms of automotive design, engineering and market responsiveness. Professional automotive journalists from throughout North America, representing dozens of outlets in virtually every media segment, serve as volunteer jurors to select the award winners. The awards are given to the best Production Preview Vehicle, Concept Car, Concept Truck and Most Significant Concept Vehicle of each auto show season. To be eligible for the awards, a concept vehicle must make its North American debut during the current model year's auto show season.
HYUNDAI MOTOR AMERICA
Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through more than 820 dealerships nationwide. All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by the Hyundai Assurance program, which includes the 5-year/60,000-mile fully transferable new vehicle limited warranty, Hyundai's 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty and five years of complimentary Roadside Assistance. Hyundai Blue Link Connected Care provides owners of Hyundai models equipped with the Blue Link telematics system with proactive safety and car care services complimentary for one year with enrollment. These services include Automatic Collision Notification, Enhanced Roadside Assistance, Vehicle Diagnostic Alert, Monthly Vehicle Health Report and In-Vehicle Service Scheduling.