When you see a big handsome pickup with chequered markings and emblems taped over, you take as many pictures as you can! Prateek did exactly that, scooping the first pics of this rather good looking Chinese Foton Tunland pickup on test in Pune, while on his way to work.
Foton Motors is actually Beiqi Foton Motor Co Ltd, China's largest commercial vehicle manufacturer. It announced plans in 2011 to invest Rs 1,676 crore in India to manufacture light, medium and heavy trucks. These plans seem to have slowed down due to troubles in the Chinese market, and the Tunland is now expected to be launched only around 2015.
Their manufacturing plant spread over 250 acres is located at Chakan near Pune, with a corporate office at Kalyaninagar, Pune. The HR department has been busy making offers to talent from Tata, Mahindra Navistar, Daimler India Commercial Vehicles etc.
While it does look somewhat like Tata’s Xenon pickup on steroids, the Tunland has some renowned component suppliers onboard. It is powered by a 2.8 liter, Cummins ISF turbo-diesel with 120kW (160 BHP) and 360 Nm of torque, that is designed to last 500,000 km. Foton makes the 2.8-liter diesel in China under a 50:50 joint venture with Cummins. The five speed manual transmission is from Getrag Germany, axles from Dana and transfer case from Borg Warner.
The Tunland already competes with Mahindra’s Scorpio based pick-up in markets such as Australia and South Africa.