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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

Foton announces South Africa return date headed by new Tunland

Reimagined Tunland will spearhead the brand's return as the latest Chinese bakkie entrant after the LDV T60 and the incoming JAC T9.

Having announced its large scale return to the South African market in February this year, Chinese commercial vehicle giant, Foton, has officially confirmed the exact date of sales resumption, as well as the products it will make available.

Centre stage new Tunland

Its distribution set to be handled by Proton’s local importer Combined Motor Holdings (CMH) through Mandarin Parts Distributors, the line-up will consist of the combustion engine View and electric eView minibuses, the Miler light-duty truck and two further EV trucks; the eTruckmate and eAumark.

ALSO READ: Foton gearing-up for bakkie return with new Tunland G7

Set to be sold from 40 “strategically placed” dealerships across the country, the 25 June product relaunching will also include the returning the Tunland bakkie, albeit in a completely different guise to the original that quietly disappeared from the local market before a major facelift in 2018.

Based on the Tunland Yutu that went on-sale in China five years ago, the export market badged Tunland G7 will reportedly drop the G7 suffix and become known only as the Tunland, solely offered as a double cab.

Expected drivetrain and spec

Already available in certain South American and Middle Eastern markets, plus Europe with Italy being the most prominent, the Tunland G7 has a claimed ground clearance of 200mm, a payload of between 880kg and 1090kg and, outside the People’s Republic, a 120kW/390Nm 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine.

Foton returning to South Africa in June
Side profile and size of the loadbin appears similar to the JAC T9. Image: Foton Bolivia

The unit paired to either a six-speed manual gearbox or an eight-speed automatic, drive will go the rear wheels or four wheels via a selectable four-wheel-drive system, with a rear diff-lock being standard along with two drive modes; Eco and Sport.

While specification will only be confirmed later, niceties available internationally include dual-zone climate control, an eight-inch or 10-inch infotainment system, keyless entry and push-button start, heated front seats, ambient lighting and a five-inch TFT instrument display to name a few.

Foton returning to South Africa in June
Interior has little in common with the original Tunland. Image: Foton Italy

Prominent on the safety side is a 360-degree surround-view camera system, front and rear parking sensors, Forward Collision Warning, Brake Override Assist, Hill Descent Control, a tyre pressure monitor and Blind Spot Monitoring.

Watch this space

“Foton’s additions into the South African market represents a significant milestone in their expansion strategy,” Foton South Africa CEO, Marius Smal, said.

“We are looking forward to delivering innovative, reliable, and eco-friendly transportation solutions to customers across the region.”

Despite the re-launch being just over two months ago, don’t be surprised if more details emerge before then.

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