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Foton broadens Tunland range

New commercial: Foton's new single cab Tunland is expected to boost the fledgling Chinese company's miniscule market share.

New single-cab versions of Tunland launch as Foton and FAA hit the reset button

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16 Dec 2013

CHINESE commercial brand Foton has broadened its local line-up via local distributor FAA Automotive Australia with the addition of one-tonne, two-door variants of the Tunland ute.

Previously sold as a dual-cab-only model, the new Tunland derivative gives the fledgling marque a presence at the lower end of Australia’s booming light commercial market, and opens the door to potential customers such as tradies, farmers and couriers.

As with the dual-cab, Foton and FAA will leverage the heavy-duty architecture that underpins its unfamiliar nameplate, led by a 2.8-litre 120kW and 360Nm (between 1800 and 3600rpm) Cummins turbo-diesel engine made under licence in China, Getrag gearbox and Borg-Warner transfer case.

FAA marketing and PR manager Richard Power said the familiar Cummins engine had particular recognition in regional areas, meaning these farm-friendly new variants have the potential gain more traction than the ‘lifestyle’-focused dual cab offerings.

FAA’s Foton distributorship commenced in Australia in November 2012, and over the last 12 months has struggled to make a dent on the LCV market competing against cheaper Chinese and Indian brands at one end, and cut-price Japanese offerings such as the Mitsubishi Triton at the other.

The company does not publish sales figures, but it is understood only around 170 units have been sold this year. In 2014, the company will work to expand its dealer network beyond the current 25 sites (it has sites in all states and territories bar Tasmania and the NT), and will launch a new mid-sized van, a minibus and potentiallyl a Tunland SUV over the next two years.

The new two-door version is available in TH specification (a lower grade than the TK and TL versions offered in the dual cab derivative), priced from $24,990 driveaway (d/a) for the 4x2 with a 2.6-metre alloy tray to $27,740 d/a for the 4x4 with a longer 2.73m tray.

In comparison, the rival Triton one-tonner range is priced between $22,990 plus on-road costs (not d/a) and $33,990, while the Great Wall V200 4x4 diesel kicks off $22,990 d/a.

The 4x4 versions get the flagship 120kW Cummins engine that consumes 8.3 litres per diesel per 100km, while the 4x2 versions sport a detuned 96kW and 280Nm (between 1400 and 3000rpm) derivative of the same engine, this time matched to a five-speed Aisin-designed, Chinese-made gearbox and a Dana LSD and rear axle assembly.

FAA claims the TH Tunland offers class-leading cab-to-axle dimensions, meaning there is more deck ahead of the axle and less on the rear overhang, helping stability and towing balance. It also has class-longest tray, and a loading area second in width only to Volkswagen Amarok.

It also has sizeable 319mm front disc brakes, larger than most rivals including the 297mm HiLux, although its towing capacity of 2500kg falls up to 1000kg short of arch rivals including the Ford Ranger, Mazda BT-50 and Holden Colorado.

Standard equipment on all versions includes cruise control, Bosch 4-channel ABS +EBD (but not ESC), dual front airbags (the dual-cab only managed a three-star ANCAP rating), power windows and mirrors, two-stage remote entry, a ‘leather-composite’ rimmed steering wheel with tabs for Bluetooth, cruise and audio, AUX and mini-iPod ports, a carpeted floor and cab back wall, and“anatomic Johnson Controls USA-template seats” with driver’s lumbar and seat height adjustment.

Foton Tunland driveaway pricing:

TH 4x2 single cab 2.6m tray $24,990
TH 4x2 single cab 2.7m tray $25,790
TH 4x4 single can 2.6m tray $26,990
TH 4x4 single cab 2.7m tray $27,740
TK 4x2 dual cab $32,490
TK 4x4 dual cab $32,490
TL 4x4 dual cab $32,990

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