The price is wrong

Fo­ton is not worth the ask, its would-be dis­trib­u­tor claims

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News -

buses, with a new part­ner likely be­fore the end of Novem­ber.

Wm­c­group chief ex­ec­u­tive Ja­son Pe­cotic says Fo­ton is ‘‘ def­i­nitely off’’.

‘‘ We were about to or­der the first cars,’’ Pe­cotic says. ‘‘ But we couldn’t come close with the pric­ing.’’

Pe­cotic will not go into de­tail but Fo­ton wanted to un­der­cut the Toy­ota Hilux only marginally, while still charg­ing a premium over the Chi­ne­se­made Great Wall utes. Such pric­ing would have put its P201 ute up against ri­vals in­clud­ing the Nis­san Navara.

The P201 is larger than the Great Wall and its en­gine was orig­i­nally built for a truck. Fur­ther, Fo­ton is an un­proven brand that’s also fac­ing pric­ing chal­lenges in other coun­tries, in­clud­ing South Africa. The Wm­cde­ci­sion is the first ma­jor set­back for Chi­nese brands in Aus­tralia af­ter the ear­lier ar­rival of Great Wall, Ch­ery and Geely.

How­ever, Pe­cotic sayswmc Group still has plans to tap China for an af­ford­able pickup. ‘‘ We’re now look­ing to source an­other prod­uct. I should have one within four to six weeks,’’ he says.

Ac­cord­ing to Pe­cotic, Chi­nese-made ve­hi­cles must be bet­ter value than any­thing from Korea and have a pric­etag that un­der­cuts Ja­panese ri­vals by about 30 per cent. Wm­chas ex­ten­sive Chi­nese ex­pe­ri­ence as the Aus­tralian dis­trib­u­tor for JAC trucks and Higer buses.

Pe­cotic hints JAC could be his next tar­get for a pick-up.

‘‘ JAC re­leased news (ear­lier this month) of a joint ven­ture in China with Gen­eral Mo­tors to man­u­fac­ture a pick-up.

‘‘ We’ll see. There is a lot com­ing out of China.’’

He be­lieves Fo­ton will still come to Aus­tralia but with an­other agent.

‘‘ I think Fo­ton are back in dis­cus­sions with an­other party. I think they will come, but it will de­pend on pric­ing.

‘‘ Maybe we had to walk to have them go back to the draw­ing board and come back with a bet­ter price.’’

No go: An im­passe over pric­ing put the brakes on the Fo­ton com­ing

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