The biggest commercial vehicle manufacturer in China is Foton, which is producing a one tonne pickup which can compete in the world markets against Toyota’s Vigo. The Foton ute has been specifically designed and engineered for western markets and Australia will be the first market this pick-up will enter before exports begin to North America late in 2012.
It will initially be available in only one specification, called Premium, but will be available as single cab, twin cab, 4×2 and 4X4, in both diesel and petrol.
The Foton trump card is in the diesel engine. It will be the first one tonne pick-up to be powered by the a diesel engine from American engine maker, Cummins – the largest independent manufacturer of diesel engines in the world.
The Cummins turbocharged 2.8 liter ISF engine features high-pressure common-rail fuel injection. These engines are made in a new factory in China under close supervision by Cummins US engineers.
The diesel Foton’s 2.8 ISF is rated at 120 kW of power and 360 Nm of torque. The engines are mated to a Getrag five-speed manual gearbox, but a ZF automatic will be offered in 2012.
Other international style parts are the latest heavy-duty Dana axles, a fully electronic transfer case for range switching on “the fly”, and a limited slip rear differential.
From the specifications, it would appear on paper that this could indeed by a viable challenge to both the Vigo and the Tata one-tonners. Since the market for pick-ups is so large in Thailand, I would not be surprised to see one of the sales outfits picking up this pick-up.