China's Foton makes debut in RI light truck market
China's biggest light truck maker, Beiqi Foton Motor Co., made its local debut at the 15th Indonesian International Motor Show (IIMS) with the launch of the Foton light truck Thursday.
With a 2,771 cc diesel engine, four turbocharger cylinders producing maximum power of 92.5PS and compliance with the Euro 2 emission standard, the Chinese vehicle is ready to test the waters in Indonesia's already tight light-truck market.
The truck, weighing 5,100 kilograms, can carry large-sized items weighing up to 3,230 kilograms, and is the cheapest truck in its class, according to Foton's local distributor, PT Indobuana Autoraya.
Foton is a newcomer at the IIMS autoshow, which runs through July 28. The annual automotive event is used by major vehicle manufacturers to unveil their latest models.
"We are selling them for only Rp 85 million (US$9,346) off the road," said Indobuana CEO Paulus B. Suranto.
To assure potential buyers that the truck's strength lies not only in its price, Indobuana, a subsidiary of the Indomobil Group, is providing a two-year, or 50,000-kilometer, after-sales service warranty.
"We are also guaranteeing the delivery of spare parts in 48 hours. If we can't meet the deadline, the customer will get a free service," Paulus said. While Chinese products are cheap, they also suffer from a poor-quality image.
"Low prices are not our only consideration. We are also concerned with quality as we have to maintain Indomobil's reputation," he explained.
Foton hopes to sell 800 of its light trucks by the end of the year based on its current single variant, and 3,000 in 2008 based on the addition of other variants.
Java will be the company's first focus, and is expected to contribute up to 60 percent of total sales.
"We expect to take a 10 percent share of the light truck market," said Paulus.
He said that this market was currently very promising, and accounted for more than 10 percent of overall automotive sales, which amounted to 318,000 units last year.
Quoting police vehicle registration figures, Paulus said that automakers sold around 52,000 light trucks in 2005. In 2006, however, the figure decreased by 30 percent due to the fuel price hikes in that year.
"This year, as the economic situation improves and the need for this type of commercial vehicle increases, I believe that light truck sales will match the figure for 2005, and perhaps even exceed it," he said, adding that April sales increased by 48 percent over March. The Beijing-based Foton sold a total of 350,000 vehicles last year and expects the number to reach 400,000 by the end of this year. The company is well-known in China for its trucks and buses, although it also produces a number of sport-utility vehicles