Foton readies for the sauna that is SA’s SUV market
FOTON Auto South Africa is currently evaluating a medium- to large-size SUV based on its Tunland premium one-ton pick-up for possible introduction to the local market.
The SUV, which has been named Sauvana, was shown for the first time at the Guangzhou Auto Show last year.
The Sauvana, which is Foton Auto’s first foray into the increasingly popular SUV market, is due to go on sale in China early this year and will then be rolled out to international markets.
Designed and developed under the code name U201, the Sauvana is a bodyon-frame design which offers rearwheel or all-wheel drive options to seat five or seven occupants, depending on the model.
There is a choice of two turbocharged engines, a Cummins ISF diesel 2,8 litre and a Euro V compliant, direct injection, petrol two-litre, with the availability of five- and six-speed manual gearboxes or a six-speed automatic transmission. No final decision has been made on a power train if the Sauvana is launched in SA.
The diesel engine developed in a joint venture by Foton and Cummins which is fitted to the Tunland range of vehicles has proved to be strong and reliable and is performing exceptionally well in terms of its durability. The Foton Sauvana SUV uses a twin wishbone independent front suspension and a five-link control system for the solid rear axle for a comfortable and stable ride.
Foton is clear with its intent of producing a luxury SUV and a decision is expected soon as to whether or not the Foton Sauvana will be introduced to the SA market. Foton vehicles are currently sold through 36 sales and service outlets in South Africa, backed by Imperial and Bidvest.
Reading between the lines, Foton looks set to export its Sauvana to its 36 dealers in SA in the near future.