SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- Hyundai Motor Co. has shelved a plan to make pickup trucks in the United States as demand for that type of vehicle declines amid high oil prices, a company official said Tuesday.
The largest South Korean automaker had considered producing pickups at a plant of its subsidiary Kia Motors Corp. that is now under construction in the state of Georgia, near a Hyundai plant in Alabama. The Kia factory is expected to be completed in 2010.
''We had studied it as a long-term project. But it appears to be too early to get into the market now because oil prices are rising sharply and trucks don't sell well in the United States,'' said Jake Jang, a Hyundai spokesman.
The spokesman said the company would consider the plan again if the market situation improves.
Hyundai Motor, the world's sixth-largest automaker, currently does not make pickups.
Record-high oil prices have sapped U.S. consumers' interest in sport utility vehicles and trucks.
General Motors, Ford and Chrysler saw their sales declines in April due largely to lower demand for large cars.
Pickup sales in the U.S. have also been falling for months because of the slowdown in housing construction.
On Monday in the U.S., June crude futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange hit a trading record of US$126.40 a barrel before retreating. In afternoon electronic trade in Asia, June crude oil was near US$124 a barrel.