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Tale of the Tunland continues

FOTON Tunlands just keep rolling out the door from the Chinese carmaker’s Gisborne yard, with the range of buyers expanding.

The third generation Foton Tunland double cab is carrying on the wave that started when it was introduced here three years ago as something of an unknown. Now the public seem to have a good idea of what the Foton is, mainly because there are so many of them around.

Fotons are being snapped up by all sorts of buyers, from private individuals to farming and forestry groups — even boaties.

The price point remains the big difference that makes the Foton available to a wider audience.

A $20,000-odd difference between the Foton and one of the traditional vehicle makers is enough to catch the eye. It is the difference between getting into a secondhand ute for the same price or driving away in your own new vehicle.

The Foton two-wheel-drive costs $23,990 plus GST and on-road costs, and the four-wheel-drive $28,990.

Increasingly there is an acceptance that you get value for money, backed by some recent reviews.

Comments like “handsome and robust”, a “great looking ute”, and “decent levels of fit of finish in the cabin” are encouraging.

One of the reasons behind the Foton’s quick rise is that the Chinese giant is prepared to spend money to make money.

It has invested heavily in research and development while building high-tech manufacturing plants in Asia and Europe.

It gained a lot of credibility by linking with respected component names like Bosch electronics, a Borg Warner transfer case, Dana axles and differentials, and the daddy of them all, the Cummins diesel engine with maximum power of 130kW at 3600rpm and 360Nm of torque at 1400 rpm.

The Foton story is really just getting going.