You may think that joint ventures and sub brands are limited to the passenger car market, but JV’s and sub brands have long been a staple of the Chinese trucking industry. It seems odd to say this, but Chinese branded trucks are not very good, service operators such as logistics companies demand that their trucks have high service intervals, can run for a million clicks or more and when they do have service intervals they want them to have minimal downtime, thus a Chinese truck is not always the best choice, sure they might be cheap at 200-300,000rmb but the ownership costs will be high as well. In recent years imported trucks have been doing better business, an imported truck is usually north of 1 million RMB in the initial buy in costs but they have longer live spans and even longer service intervals than their Chinese rivals.
So how to bridge this social divide of the haves and the have-nots? You pour foreign technology into a Chinese truck chassis and get the best of both worlds. Daimler-Foton set up a joint venture company each with a 50:50 stake to develop Chinese market products for domestic use and also for international use, Daimler has realized that there is a growing demand for affordable heavy vehicles across China and other developing nations which makes a partnership with a well known commercial vehicle manufacturer such as Foton a good opportunity.
Consumers for the new Daimler-Foton Acumen GTL have two options, they can have a domestically made 12L diesel engine from Weichai for 320,000rmb or they can splash out an extra 20,000rmb for the 330,000rmb Cummin’s diesel unit which has an extra 10bhp on tap (385 v’s 375bhp) both engines are mated to a 12 speed gearbox.