A new Chinese brand will launch in Australia early next year when Foton, a light commercial vehicle manufacturer, introduces a new ute range.

A Sydney-based automotive distributor, WMC Group, has secured the rights to sell the brand in Australia. Foton vehicles are currently undergoing Australian Design Rule compliance testing, which will be finalised within the next two months.

Foton customers will have a choice between a Cummins 2.8-litre turbodiesel engine and a Mitsubishi-sourced 2.4-litre petrol engine.

The diesel engine will produce up to 120kW of power and 380Nm of torque.

Transmission options will include either a five-speed manual by Getrag and a ZF six-speed automatic.

WMC is planning a range of six model variants at launch including a 4×4 dual cab diesel, 4×2 dual cab petrol and diesel, 4×2 extra cab diesel, and 4×2 single cab petrol and diesel.

At 5310mm long, 1880mm wide, 1810mm high and with a ground clearance of 220mm, the Foton will be 180mm longer, 120mm wider and have a 10mm larger ground clearance than the comparative Toyota HiLux.

WMC is targeting at least a four-star ANCAP safety rating and will offer ABS, EBD and dual front airbags as standard.

WMC managing director, Jason Pecotic, said the new Foton ute has been benchmarked against Japanese rivals and designed for North American and Western markets rather than for domestic Chinese sales.

“Foton will be a game shifter in the ute sector delivering a sedan-style interior on a wide-body configuration boasting a full one-tonne pay load and a three-tonne towing capacity,” Mr Pecotic said.

“Apart from those impressive specs, the new Foton will be priced at a level that will be between 15 and 20 percent less than comparable models from Japanese manufacturers, making it a compelling proposition for buyers whether they are tradesmen, farmers, fleet operators or private buyers.”

He explained Australia – the third largest ute market in the world – was very important to Foton, and would be used as a launch pad ahead of a move into North America and Europe over the next two years.

WMC will be hoping Foton can replicate the success of Great Wall with its utes. The Great Wall V240 4×2 has so far this year outsold the 4×2 variants of the Holden Colorado, Isuzu D-Max and the Nissan Navara, while the 4×4 variant has been more popular than the Nissan Patrol pick-up and the Volkswagen Amarok 4×4.

One detail yet to be finalised is a model name for the new Foton ute, which is still under discussion.

What do you think of the all-new ute? And can you help WMC with a name for it? Feel free to post your suggestions in the comments section below.




  • Sambo

    they look like wildtrack rims… any one else agree?

    • Trickie112

      WE HAVE TWO IN BRISBANE IN OUR YARD AT FISHERMAN ISLANDS BRIS PORT.

  • zandit

    Agree 100%, plus if look from the A-pillar back, I see alot of Ranger as well!

  • Dennis

    Any pricing on the Cummins Diesel?

  • toxic_horse

    Getrag 5 speed , Tough!

  • gmh-bogan

    The Chinese are learning fast,this is a huge step fwd on the Great Wall. In looks,engine options.How they going to price the ZF6 and Cummings Diesel..High 20s

    • Rex

      Very surprised at the specs. At the very least, it may go some way to causing Toyota to drop the rather ridiculous prices on their dual cab hilux’s (although if chumps keep paying…..)

      • gazza

        So you think this will take sales from TOYOTA and force them to reduce there pricing on the most popular ute range in the WORLD? HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA!

        • JEKYL & HYDE

          actually gazza,

          toyota HAD allready started reducing their price of hilux b4 the japan disaster,word was 3k away from some other brands,then no stock,lets put them all back up again.if you don’t think toyota are worried about all the new rivals,even this b.o.s.,your wrong…

        • john

          They reduced the price of 4×2 Hiluxs by about $6k when Great Wall was introduced.

          • gazza

            PULL THE OTHER ONE!

    • Chippies!

      I agree it’s a step forward in style, and in diesel engine, but the petrol will be the same as the Great Wall

      • http://www.fordnewsblog.wordpress.com Benno5693

        Why would you want a petrol in a proper ute anyway? :P

        A great looking ute and sounds quite the leap over the GWM V-Series, which aren’t as bad as you really think for a proper work ute….

        We knew the Chinese were coming, but I don’t think anyone anticipated that they would be advancing their products so quickly! It’s like Japan and Korea in fast-forward!!!

  • Lofto

    This looks like a better bet than a great wall, it must be close to f150 in size which is cool

  • Andrew M

    Shake the market??

    Well 1 tonne payload and 3 tonne towing wont see it top of the class so what are they shaking?

    Ill also believe the sedan like driving experience when I see it.

    The great wall figures beating the Patrol isnt really a fair comparison, the Patrol is a size bigger like the Landcruiser.
    Also the Amrok has been on sale for a shorter period than the greatwall so not surprising it has more runs on the board.
    Looks like they were digging deep to drum themselves up

  • Harry

    People buy a Hilux cos they have faith in it’s reliability and build quality. 95% of the stuff we buy from China has neither. Why choose to save 15-20% when you purchase it when it mightn’t even be half as good?

    • gazza

      VERY WELL SAID HARRY! I AGREE 1000%. You forgot to say about resale value there are already GREAT FAIL utes being traded in for less than 40% retained value great buys those GREAT FAIL UTES!

    • vti07

      Real Toyotas , Mazdas and Hondas come from Japan, not Thailand…

  • Cracker Barrel

    The badge looks like its inspired by Adidas

  • Steve

    Dont forget that Cummins Diesel will be built in China under licence. Ive seen them in a few chinese built buses at work and they aint the best.

  • Car Fanatic

    Australia are a testing bed for Foton. If they are successful here they will launch in America. They have a factory that can churn out 10,000 units a month.

  • Henry

    It doesn’t look to bad to be honest but without ESC it wont come in VIC…

    • Bimmerc

      If it will come in here in 2012, we can assume that ESC will be available.

  • BOSSCR

    Looks better than the new Mazda BT-50.

  • Lofto

    Haha that’s true

  • PB

    Considering Cummins are the worlds largest producer of Diesel engines, this truck will prove tougher in the engine department that the Hi-Scmucks.

  • Rei

    The problem is these Chinese are simply not “cheap enough” for the majority to choose them over the mainstream products..

    Unlike when the Japanese entered the market in the 70′s, they sold their products very cheap and undercut the Americans and Europeans by 65-70% in price..

    If these new comers want to become successful like the Japanese then they simply need to lower their price, unless their in the biz to make a quick buck, which it seems like what they’re after..

  • Fernando

    Their badge looks like Adidas.

  • http://google Emu

    I hope the cummins engine works better than there truck engines

  • CarFanatic

    Which ones in particular, because Cummins in general have great longevity?

    • http://n/a Tezza

      yes that’s true Cummins do as long as the right metals are used in there construction, that will be the governing question, use cheap metal and, well you know, only time will tell on this matter as these motors will be made in China, not America.

  • Sumpguard

    I actually don’t mind the styling. A little work on the grill and it could be really nice.

    A diesel under 30 grand would be interesting.

    • Nath746

      There is already a diesel 4WD ute for under 30 grand. two in fact, SsangYong Sports and Mahindra Pik-Up

  • Martin

    Wonder why Hyundai has gotten into the ute business also? Throw in their R-Diesel engine and you’d be laughing.

  • Martin

    *hasn’t

  • Gary B

    love it as long as it has height clearance. call it the dozer “nothing stands in its way ” LOL does it have enough leg room in the back ? some of the other utes have no leg room or comfort for adults.

  • Crossy

    These guys are just filling a gap in the market. If you want a new dual cab 4×4 diesel ute with a few creature and/or safety features from the mainstream manufacturers you’d be lucky to get anything under $40K. The Nissan D22 at $32K is the only one I’m aware of.
    Put it into the market at $25-30K and they’ll do alright.
    Whether it is a reasonable quality and/or drive, time will tell.

    • mark

      current runout 4×4 ranger are the best value for money. demos are 32k in auto or 30k for manual and its a whole lotta commercial for the money

  • Mark

    I did some research, Foton and Chery are government owned, and Great Wall and Geely are private company. Foton is commercial vehicle division in Bejing Car Industry Group, and it is the sixth largest car company in China. Because Chinese states government has a policy that dont allow foreign car companies to build their car in chinses domestic market unless find a local chinese company to form a joint company. And Foton’ mother group Beijing Car industry has co-operation with Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Mercede-Benz, Chrysler. And Foton is their independent division focus on commercial vehicles like ute , mini vans, bus and trucks. If you want bad mouth about company , I suggest you have a second thought, because their mother group are building Mercedes C class and maybe S class in near future, this must telling you something.
    And also found out that Geely has 100% contol Volvo now, so safty of their car should not be a concern.

    Moreover, when people think chinses car are crap, at least in their market , 40% of new car sales comes from Chinese locally build own
    brand . How about us , we don’t have any autralian owned car company, Holden is the fake one controlled by GM, Ford Australia is dying , and only left a Toyota as our market leader. When you think chinses cars are totally joke, at least we could bring something out to against them.

    • bK

      we all know that by now that in 20 yrs time every vehicle will be chinese made. say bye bye to ford and holden.

      • Brent

        90 % of all products will be made or owned by chinese in 20 years time. Best to swim with the tide and not against.

  • Paul

    It makes me laugh when people say it doesn’t have the most power or torque so how is going to make in roads against the major players, it will just on price! If I cast my mind back just to the start of the year when the Volkswagen Amorok was released it didn’t have the most power or torque and it is more expensive than a Hilux (which is overpriced) and isn’t offered with an automatic gearbox! yet people pull themselves over this car and it isn’t even on par with the current offerings from Japan/Thailand. People need to remember China is just starting out as a car country as Hyundai have done over the last 15 years Chines cars will get better. Hell Australia has been making cars for what 70-80 years now and people still bitch and moan about the quality of our cars, so how can we expect a country that has been making cars for 20 years to be up to European standards! Oh wait they are half the price of the European offerings so we shouldn’t expect the same quality.

    P.S in 95 when the Hyundai Excel was the best selling car people were saying the same things oh poor quality, resale, piece of junk etc how many are still on the road? plenty so they couldn’t have been that bad, And of course the resale is going to be way less than a Hilux when bought it was 18K cheaper so to expect similar values would be crazy.

    • Brent

      Paul, In 2007 – 2010 when I was working in the motor industry, RACV/ RACQ/ RACT stats showed that Mitsubishi and Hyundai were the most reliable vehicles on the road are far as breakdown/call outs for towing /repairs and least for any warranty claims. China will be as Japan is a very big player in a short amount of time. People like GAZZA or Toyota sales people who post will always fear the unknown. Ignorance has brought many a person or nation undone and unaware. Sleeping giants as to speak.

  • vti07

    I would not be surprised if some components in established car/ute brands are actually orginally made in China. This is due to sourcing from different component suppliers.

  • Lofto

    I read the other day that 3 more chines brands will introduce utes to aus before the end of 2012 so love em or hate them I think we will be seeing alot more of chines cars and people who only care about price will love em.

  • http://www.caradvice.com.au Shamwari

    Well, I hope the diesel will be as economical as its rivals.
    It is missing ESP/ESC, it would be even better if they came with that. I like the size, should be very stable, especially compared to the Ranger, which is the narrowest Ute. AS for a name, what about ” ULURU” as it would be the biggest of the bunch.

  • Bryce

    Sounds very interesting. I was going to buy a new ute at the end of this year but now might hang off and look at one of these fotons. Hope they come in an “extra cab” diesel/auto.

  • Rob

    Interesting comments from everyone here. I too was skeptical of the Chinese built vehicles until I had a good look at the GW V240. Essentially it’s an RA Rodeo screwed together in China. It will have a 110kW/300+Nm diesel before years end … so it will certainly steal sales from the established players when it arrives. With China cashed up as it is, if they want or need something, they can just go & buy it ….so I’m sure that engineers, designers & technology are all items on their shopping lists. Watch out for the Indians … they’re sneaking up quietly too!

  • Good news!

    This is good! It will only be a matter of time before the Japanese brands realise they need to be realistic about their prices. Good to know the Chinese are serious about quality too, with Cummins diesel & Getrag transmission, I think the Japanese are going to get worried!

  • Tom

    Cummins with a Getrag or a ZF auto and Dana axles !!! I will be tempted when replacing my old Turbo Hilux.

  • Peter Middendorp

    I feel a good name for it will be Foton Tanami taken from the Tanami Desert.

  • Kim mmmmarcus

    Go for a 5 star safety rating aneything else will date to soon

  • Ricardo

    I on the market for twin cab diesel,I going to put on hold to see this beauty Foton,I hope the price is much better that HiLu ripoff, can wait.

  • Jordan

    Foton Brolga ?

  • greg

    When I bought my Terracan diesel I was told I was wasting my money on Korean rubbish and should pay the extra $20,000 for the Prado 140,000 KLMS later I have yet to find a prob and have towed a two ton van regularly around Australia..

    I will be definitely looking closely at the Foton as value for money they will be hard to beat.

  • hugespud

    They sell a 4.5t truck at the moment with a 2.8TD and a 5 speed gearbox. The engine is rated @ 110kw and 360nm

  • http://n/a Tezza

    The Foton Biff.

    As it will create a bit of biff in the market and punch a lot of other makers in the face.

    I’m saving my pennies for one for sure.

  • Rob

    Pity the 3.8 litre ISF engine isn’t an option. It can produce 600Nm … now that would be a great 4WD engine!!

  • Nathan Gibson

    I think ” Azul ” would be a good name for your ute . It means “blue ” or ” prince charming” or “true” take your pick cheers !!!

  • http://caradvice.com.au Anthony Leondis

    Looks a nice ute. I’ve a 3lt TD wagon Patrol with slightly less power & torque than the Foton. If cost is kept to $30K for an auto diesel, plus go to a 5 star ANCAP rating, they’ll sell heaps of them. I’ld get one for sure. As for cars made in China, don’t bother. After all, not all Mercs & Beamers are made in Germany! For a name, the Foton Top Ender.

  • Allan Santos

    Give it a good and easy name, it will help sales!! May I suggest “hurricane” if not that, then how about Meerkat !!
    Al

  • Acd_qmc2000

    How about FOTON DrAgOn… As the ute looks huge and strong same as the dragon. Remember that the dragon is the strongest among the Chinese zodiac animals. 2012 is the year of the DRAGON…..

  • Johnty

    I’ll be on the waiting list ! Cummins & ZF for me thanks

  • Lktlch

    Foton Rugged, Foton Pavilion. Will be interesting how these things go. Bussiness is going to buy one..