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Foton truck is a Mercedes-Benz Actros

The truck is the result of a new joint venture between Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler and Chinese giant Foton.
James Stanford
CarsGuide

2 Mar 2012 • 2 min read

And it bears a striking resemblance to a Mercedes-Benz Actros. But before you conclude that this is another case of a Chinese company blatantly ripping off a Western design, let me fill you in on the background. 

It actually is an Actros, one that is made by a new joint venture between Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler and Chinese giant Foton. The German brand has actually been negotiating with Foton for years, but has only just gained approval from the Chinese government.

Foreign companies are not allowed to set up and produce cars by themselves in the emerging market.

Government regulations mean that if they want to build vehicles in China, they must set up a local joint venture operation with a local firm, which means splitting costs and profits.

However, the booming Chinese market is just to important to ignore, encouraging Daimler to hook up with a major Chinese player. 

Daimler estimates that China accounted for 40 per cent of global sales of medium and heavy-duty trucks last year.

Foton, which has only been building trucks since 1998, sold more than 100,000 medium and heavy-duty trucks last year, making it the number one truck brand in the country. 

The new joint-venture, called Beijing Foton Daimler Automotive (BFDA), will open a seconds plant in Beijings Huairou district in order to boost annual production to 160,000 trucks. 

Daimler says teaming up with Foton will give it a strong foothold in China. Our 50 percent stake in Beijing Foton Daimler Automotive will enable us to play a major role in the Chinese truck market and give us access to the attractive volume segment, says Daimler trucks chief, Andreas Renschler.