Foton brings the Thunda
Foton, one of the largest vehicle manufacturers in Asia, entered the SA market in 2007 with the introduction of its Taxi (renamed Inkunzi for the local market) and Panel Van ranges.
Following the relative success of its Taxi range, Foton looks set to tackle the bakkie market with its Thunda pickup. The Thunda pickup (known as the SUP in China) will be available in both single- and double-cab versions. The new bakkie will be launched in September in both 2.2l petrol and 2.0 turbodiesel derivatives and will feature both 4x2 and 4x4 models.
The launch of the Thunda will see Foton share showroom space with Chery in a dealership network that is set to expand from 16 to 20 in 2011.
The Thunda bakkie was due in South Africa in March, but a host of changes needed to be made to accommodate the South African customer base. According to Foton, some of the required changes were the addition of alloy wheels, airbags and air-conditioning. In addition, the foam density of the seats had to be improved as the average weight of a South African is much higher than that of the typical Chinese citizen.
Foton will be introducing a range of passenger vehicles from 2011. Pricing and specs of its new Thunda bakkie will be made available at a later stage.
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