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Foton Trucks makes some bold moves on the market

Foton Trucks has made major strides in establishing the brand in the local market.

Foton Trucks in the local markets
The South African truck market has possibly the most diverse choice of commercial vehicles in the world considering its overall size. Almost every global manufacturer has in some way managed to put a foot in the door and has established a platform from which to operate locally.

Foton Trucks has only been truly active in South Africa since 2011 and has made major strides in establishing a base for the brand in the local market.

Foton Trucks has only been truly active in South Africa since 2011 and has made major strides in establishing a base for the brand in the local market. “We are a Chinese-origin company, which ranks fifth as an exporter of vehicles and second as an exporter of commercial vehicles.

Foton is continuously improving operations in overseas markets by increasing network communication efficiency, promoting local sales networks, setting up local offices and ensuring our development engineers are proactive in the markets where we are represented,” says a spokesperson for the company.

This development at Foton will no doubt help the company to extend its footprint into Africa

Foton Trucks“Established in 1996, in Beijing, China, Foton Trucks has in just over ten years achieved the leading position in light, medium and heavy-duty trucks. In 2011 Foton sold more than 100 000 medium and heavy-duty trucks, making it a key player in China’s truck market. Foton’s strategy of continuous expansion has taken a step forward with the establishment of a distributor in South Africa who is currently expanding its activities in establishing a national network.”

This development at Foton will no doubt help the company to extend its footprint into Africa. “Continued rapid urban development, particularly in the major cities, has created new challenges for logistics, especially for the smaller transport operator and suppliers of essential commodities.

The smaller the business, the more the business owners are aware of the factors controlling the cost of delivery

Finding solutions to the commodity flow within certain time constraints present a big challenge. This is always the very core of any delivery schedule. Finding commodity routes, using compatible vehicles which minimise costs, while also taking into consideration vehicle capacities, together with the demand for the particular commodity have to be factored into the mix.

The smaller the business, the more the business owners are aware of the factors controlling the cost of delivery.” The brand value created by Foton Trucks in the local market is gaining momentum and some multiple vehicle deals have been concluded with companies requiring safe, reliable vehicles for high-volume urban deliveries.

“Our decision to go with Foton was not taken lightly, but we found that the whole package made financial sense and the trucks themselves more than met the specifications we required for our products.

Chris Taylor, Managing Director of C&T Ceilings/Buildit, bears this out: “Our decision to go with Foton was not taken lightly, but we found that the whole package made financial sense and the trucks themselves more than met the specifications we required for our products. The bodies for the 8-ton vehicles were built to our requirements with 3m decks and extra wide 2,5m load areas in order to accommodate the standard ceiling sheets.” Another company to choose Foton was Neon Printers, who recently took delivery of a new Foton BJ1051.

One of the areas that stood out was the cost of maintenance of our current fleet

Foton TrucksWhen asked the reason for the choice, Basheer Haffejee, owner of the company, commented: “With the economic uncertainties that currently prevail, we found it necessary to ensure that our costs are contained without impacting on our business. One of the areas that stood out was the cost of maintenance of our current fleet.

Vehicles today have become very sophisticated with all the electronic devices built into them, which makes replacing parts very expensive. By selecting Foton we have acquired a vehicle which may not have an initial price advantage, but offers simplicity in its design features and is capable of keeping maintenance costs at an affordable level.”

Foton Trucks acknowledges its customer’s sentiments: “With this type of testimony, Foton Trucks is once again ‘on the march’. We have a new sales initiative which is aimed at expanding our market potential and giving prospective customers the opportunity of evaluating the Foton trucks ’ capabilities without undue risk, while enjoying the benefit of lower maintenance costs.”

Foton Trucks Operating peace of mind

Since its entry into South Africa, Foton Trucks has already expanded its activities with the introduction of four models in the 3-ton to 8-ton payload capacity.

Further, as a sign of Foton’s commitment to locally growing its market share, the company has expanded its range to include a 6×4 tipper and a 6×4 long-wheelbase 14-tonner with a 209kW (280hp) engine to meet the needs of the courier market.

The larger Auman range has already been well received by customers, reports Foton Trucks. “Our current sales drive is on the J04 chassis cab with its 5 00kg M, and the BJ1051 chassis cab which sports a 6 20kg M. The purchase price of each of these models includes a 2-year/ 90 000 km service plan, giving new owners carefree utilisation and operating peace of mind.

The 2-year/ 90 000 km service plan includes all routine services, including filters, oils and labour

Foton Trucks
Pride of Foton turcks ’ stable (top to bottom): The BJ1253 long-wheelbase 14-tonner; the BJ3253 6×4 tipper; and the BJ1051 with its Cummins 1FS 3,8S diesel engine.

The plan includes all routine services, including filters, oils and labour.” The Foton BJ1051 is powered by a Cummins 1FS 3,8 S Euro 3 diesel engine with a maximum power output of 105kW at 2 600rpm and a torque of 450N.m at 1 400 to 600rpm.

Matched to a 6-speed manual synchromesh transmission, the combination gives the J05 sufficient lugging power for any task. The Foton J04, the smaller of the two vehicles, is powered by the OO Turbo Phaser 2,8-litre diesel engine with a rated output of 81kW at 2 600rpm and a torque of 311N.m at 1 400 to1 600rpm.

Driving through a 6-speed manual transmission, this configuration makes the J04 a good urban delivery vehicle – especially where manoeuvrability is the key to maintaining an efficient delivery cycle.

Foton Trucks, one of the newest truck brands on the market, says it has found it challenging to position itself locally in the face of other well-established brands.

“However, we have managed to make headway amongst some of the smaller fleet customers, and as a result, we are proud of the number of Foton trucks already running on South African streets.”

 
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Tristan Wiggill
Seasoned writer, journalist, photographer, and editor.
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