Equipment

Chinese Company Launches Truck for U.S. and European Markets

September 06, 2011

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Beiqi Foton Motor Co Ltd has launched a heavy-duty truck for the U.S. and European markets, the first Chinese model built for high-end overseas markets, according to China Daily.


The Auman GTL was designed and produced for markets with stringent environmental requirements, such as the United States and Europe, China Daily reported.

Beiqi Foton Motor, China's largest commercial vehicle maker by shipments, said that it expects most of the GTLs will be exported to Europe and the US, but it declined to disclose any targets.

"Foton has already established a good presence in the Southeast Asian, South American and African markets, but it barely achieved anything in developed economies," said Wang Jinyu, president and CEO of Beiqi Foton. "Now we are endeavoring to enter the mature markets including the US, Europe and Japan."

According to China Daily, the company has been the top Chinese maker of commercial vehicles since 2003. It shipped 693,000 units in 2010. The company has produced 5 million vehicles since being founded in 1996.

So far, the company has established factories in Indonesia, Vietnam, Russia, Mexico, Pakistan, Turkey and Iran. More are under construction in South America and Africa, the company said. Last year, international sales exceeded 31,800 units. But Beiqi has yet to penetrate the U.S. and European markets and challenge the big, international names.

"It is not easy to get a piece of the pie in this highly competitive market," Wang said. "But we will inch in with patience."

According to China Daily, the GTL cost $266 million to develop. Foton's plan calls for it to spend the next year or two establishing distribution and after-sales service networks, with 100-200 stores in the U.S. and Europe before begin to export the vehicle. Cooperation with Cummins has paved the way for GTL's expansion in the U.S. and Europe, China Daily said.

John Zeng, director of Asian Forecasting at J.D. Power Asia Pacific, said the GTL model is more of a demonstration of Foton's research and development capabilities.

"If Foton wants to conquer the Western European markets, it will probably take a long time. In China, heavy-duty trucks are purchased mostly by small enterprises, which prefer cheap products."

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