Beiqi Foton Motor Company Ltd (rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?), established in 1996, is one of China’s leading manufacturers of heavy-duty commercial vehicles. It also produces a light commercial range including the Tunland ute, which has ridden a rocky road in Australia with minimal sales traction since its local launch in 2012.

Back then distribution was handled by Queensland-based FAA Automotive Australia. In 2014, Ateco Automotive took over, but that only lasted until mid-2017, when Foton itself took charge of all Australian distribution and sales under the Foton Motor Australia Ltd banner.

A key factor in this move was a rationalisation of the local Tunland fleet, which now consists of only a dual cab ute. But through Foton’s numerous joint ventures with premium OEM suppliers (including Cummins, Borg Warner, Dana, Bosch and ZF), the latest Euro 5-compliant Tunland combines known brand components in a low-priced ute with which Foton plans to finally build a solid following.