The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Falls to Dealer Markups

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz is the new hot truck. Or is it? Frankly, it’s hard to tell right now. Models are listed for well above sticker, but is that because of demand or dealers? Per usual, the semiconductor shortage has a lot to do with it, as does the easing (for now) of pandemic restrictions. Buyers want vehicles to get out and about in, but it seems that dealers want their taste before that can happen. Question is, can Hyundai help?

Markups make the car

A sign advertising a Hyundai dealer in Florida
Dealers could be hurting new car sales | Paul Hennessy via Getty Images

Frankly, it seems that anything worth its salt is either delayed into the next century or marked up so high that only Jeff Bezos can afford it. This is why. Dealers often operate off contracts. A manufacturer (Hyundai) agrees to sell their models through an individual business, outlined in a contract. Per that contract, the dealer becomes, say, John Smith Hyundai of Santa Cruz. Now, Mr. Smith can sell cars for Hyundai. He can also decide (within reason) how much to sell those cars for. However, that discretion can sometimes be abused for the sake of profit margins.

We’ve seen it abused before with dealers selling Honda Civic Type Rs for close to $70,000. Now, what we’re looking at with the Hyundai Santa Cruz isn’t nearly as bad. On Autotrader, there’s around 300 new Santa Cruz trucks listed for sale. The majority of those are right around sticker. Call it $35,000 on average. However, some are coming up near $50,000 for a truck that should at most, cost right around the mid-40s.

Is the Hyundai Santa Cruz worth the markup?

A bike hangs out the back of a Hyundai Santa Cruz truck
Nothing says “adventure” like things in a truck bed | Hyundai

So, is this $40,000 truck worth nearly 50 Gs? Well, the reviews say yes. Journalists love the weird little quirks and features, and the smaller form factor. The market is awash with massive trucks, and frankly, most people don’t need them. The Hyundai Santa Cruz is a small, practical, efficient, cool-looking crossover with a truck body. Hyundai put a lot of effort into fitting truck features into a smaller form factor, and it paid off.

Of course, all this to say nothing of the styling. Sure, looks are subjective, but this is an objectively good-looking truck. It’s not bloated or too square. The Hyundai Santa Cruz leans on the three-box design philosophy without using it as a crutch. Does that mean it’s a $50,000 truck? Hell. NO. Please, do not succumb to that ever-present need for instant gratification we all have. Save your money and wait for the market to chill out a little.

What can manufacturers do to help?

The Santa Cruz's tailgate photographed in, well, Santa Cruz
The Santa Cruz in Santa Cruz | Hyundai

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Understandably, this makes people like me, and consumers as a whole, pretty miffed. I want to give Hyundai my money for this truck, but I don’t want to give Tony Soprano Hyundai of Santa Cruz their taste. So, can Hyundai help? Well, it depends largely on the terms of that contract, which are known only to a few people. In short, it takes a lot of legalese to work out something like this. It all comes down to how much work Hyundai is willing to do. For now, we’ll just have to wait and see.