MONTGOMERY, Alabama — Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama (HMMA) celebrated the production launch of the all-new 2022 Santa Cruz sport utility at the automaker’s Montgomery facility on Tuesday, expanding the plant’s family of Alabama-built vehicles to five.
A gray Santa Cruz, adorned with a red bow, rolled off the Montgomery plant’s assembly line during a ceremony featuring members of a local high school marching band and speeches from the facility leadership.
“The Santa Cruz marks the first HMMA-built vehicle that originated right here in Montgomery, Alabama. This vehicle is not being built anywhere else in the world,” Robert Burns, the facility’s senior vice president of human resources and administration, told workers during Tuesday’s ceremony.
“My fellow team members, we are the parents of this innovative, stylish and functional sport utility vehicle,” he added.
The Santa Cruz joins the Sonata and Elantra sedans and Santa Fe and Tucson SUVs on the Montgomery assembly line — an addition that marks the first time Hyundai’s Alabama operation has produced five different vehicles at once.
The highly-anticipated Santa Cruz Sport Adventure Vehicle, first displayed as a concept in 2015, straddles both SUV and truck segments by featuring a secure, open bed area which includes a lockable tonneau cover and hidden bed storage for gear-carrying flexibility.
“We are excited and honored to be producing Hyundai’s first open bed vehicle for the North American market,” HMMA President and CEO Ernie Kim said. “The launch of the Santa Cruz is a further testament to the trust Hyundai Motor company puts in HMMA and our Alabama home.
“I am so proud of our team members for accomplishing this achievement while the world is going through such difficult times. We can’t wait for our customers to experience the innovative design and world class quality the Santa Cruz will bring to the table,” he added.
Hyundai’s Alabama operation recently completed a $410 million plant expansion project to support adding the Santa Cruz to HMMA’s product mix. The addition of the Santa Cruz will further enhance HMMA’s ability to adjust its vehicle production with market demand and stay competitive in the ever-changing automotive market.
“We want to show the world that the best-quality and safest cars are produced right here in Montgomery, Alabama, and to be recognized as the best automotive manufacturing plant in North America,” Chris Susock, vice president of production at HMMA, said during the ceremony.
The production launch of the Santa Cruz comes just months after Hyundai Alabama began building the Tucson SUV, the company’s best-selling U.S. model.
“The introduction of the all-new Santa Cruz and the Tucson SUV to Hyundai’s Montgomery manufacturing operation underscores the company’s long-term commitment to producing top-quality vehicles in Alabama,” said Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.
“The groundbreaking Santa Cruz joining the Tucson on Hyundai’s Alabama assembly lines represents another exciting milestone for the automaker in our state,” he added.
The 2022 Santa Cruz will begin arriving in U.S. dealerships later this summer.
The first-ever 2022 #HyundaiSantaCruz Sport Adventure Vehicles have rolled off the assembly line at our manufacturing plant in Montgomery, AL. So proud to have these #MadeInAmerica! https://t.co/FHG0HsZsgK #AutosDriveAmerica pic.twitter.com/GNxVpgrVSC
— Hyundai USA (@Hyundai) June 22, 2021
(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)