Beiqi Futian Motor Co., Ltd., or Fotor Motors or Foton as in English layman’s term, is one of the youngest car manufacturer in the list of the world’s largest automakers. Foton motors is a company that manufactures trucks, buses, SUVs and agricultural machinery. Much like most big Chinese manufacturers, Foton also gains its success from foreign joint ventures.
In 1996, Foton was established. The company was originally put up to manufacture light and heavy-duty vehicles like trucks, buses, tractors and others. The company not only manufactures these machineries but also designs them. With the immediate boom and popularity of Foton’s commercial and heavy duty vehicles, Foton immediately became a leading manufacturer for the industry.
Prior to the advent of the company’s expansion, Foton produced a duplicate of the Toyota Hiace H100 and rebadged it as its own ‘Foton View’ also commonly known as the ‘Foton Alpha’. In 2006, Foton and Cummins entered a joint venture to produce light-duty diesel engines. It also entered another joint venture in 2009 with Daimler AG to produce medium-duty and heavy-duty trucks in China. With this joint venture, the Chinese Government licensed Foton to produce passenger vehicles. In the same year, Foton was opened a joint venture with Pulead Technology Industry Co. to manufacture vehicle batteries.
In order to expands its business and establish strong roots in the foreign market it built an assembly plant in Colombia in order to supply vehicles to Latin America with light commercial vehicles. It also built a plant in India to produce commercial vehicles and another bus plant in Brazil.
By 2010, Foton already has 29,000 employees, 20 plants and 80 operations on different countries and regions. By 2011, Foton has already sold almost 650,000 vehicles.
The origin of Foton logo is unclear. The Foton logo shows three diagonal lines with equal thickness forming a diamond inside a round badge. The Foton badge or logo originally started with three lines forming a triangle with a certain resemblance with the Adidas logo. However, the main significance as to why the logo has been chosen to represent the company has never been defined clearly.
- Foton Tunland
Sold in Australia and Asia, the Foton Tunland is also known as the Foton Terracota in Chile and the Foton Thunder in the Philippines. Foton Tunland is a compact pick-up truck that was inspired by its predecessor, the Foton Blizzard.
- Foton View Express
This vehicle is the copy of the Toyota Hiace H100. Although Foton was given the license to reproduce the Hiace, it did so by rebadging the vehicle under a new name called, Foton View or Foton Alpha.
- Foton Saga
This softroader is an SUV built for the road and slightly off the road. It may not be an absolute off-roading vehicle it is still a fine machine that was produces under the Dangdong 2004 license.
The main automobile Futian Center for Innovation and business management along with its operation center is located in Beijing. Aside from the main office, Foton has other assembly plants and facilities in different parts of China, namely: Shandong, Hunan, Guangdong, Hebei, Hubei and Liaoning. It also has its research and development centers in different countries like Japan, Germany, Taiwan and Philippines. It also has set up divisions in India and Russia with KD. Foton has—and also shares—about 20 factories in different countries around the world to make export easier and cheaper because Foton is supplying vehicles to 80 other countries. Foton has car assembly plants in Russia, India, Brazil, Mexico and Indonesia.
What To Love about Foton?
Cheap and Surprisingly Well-built
From a manufacturer that started with building trucks and heavy-duty vehicles, Foton cars are expected to build passenger vehicles following the safety regulations carefully put in its products.
What Not To Love About Foton?
Lack of Standard Quality Control
This is due to the fact that Foton manufactures different car parts for different brands that it ended up using all these parts to build its own Foton vehicle. Unfortunately, all these parts have different specifications, needs and features; it may present a problem in compatibility and unequal Standard procedures and quality control.