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