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High-end MPV Powers Chinese Carmaker Ahead
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Beiqi Foton Motor Co Ltd has released a new multipurpose vehicle (MPV) model MP-X that has attracted intense international attention.


The high-end brand made its global debut in Barcelona, Spain on April 10. It is reported to be the first overseas release of a China-made MPV.


Juan Antonio Samaranch, honorary president of the International Olympic Committee, was present at the launch and expressed his congratulations to the firm.


Like its sports sector, China's manufacturing industry too is developing fast and delivering strong performance on the global industrial scene, said Samaranch.


As his words for Foton - "trust the power of P.R. China"- indicate, Samaranch believes that a batch of Chinese enterprises with a sharp competitive edge will soon grow into top global brands.


At the launch, the honorary IOC president received the keys to a MP-X vehicle on behalf of his foundation, making it the first European user of the new model.


Due to its outstanding performance in driving safety and comfort, the car received a warm response and aroused the interest of industry insiders in particular, including Russia-based Autopartner Co Ltd and Turkey's Memerler Group, both on the first list of Foton MP-X's overseas distributors.


The key advantage that the MP-X enjoys over other car models lies in Foton's unique X-tec technology in the MPV chassis that, in essence, is the use of racing cars' safety technology in MPVs.


The X-tec chassis technology incorporates safety features from the world's top sports cars, from companies like Porsche and Lotus, into the design of the MP-X.


This technological innovation is a new breakthrough in China's MPV manufacturing sector.


On the move


Chinese automobile manufacturer Foton's choice of Europe as the launch pad for its new model comes with the ambition of building a premier international brand.


Foton executives said the MP-X model incorporates imported state-of-the-art technologies from Europe and the worldwide release is meant to mirror the international character of the new vehicle.


As the company steps up efforts to expand its presence in the passenger vehicle sector, this overseas debut is seen as a move to tap into the high-end market.


With the development philosophy of interacting with the world's top industrial players, Foton expects the presentation in Europe will help it explore its international options.


In spite of the success of its overseas launch, the company's development strategy still focuses on the domestic market.


Following the European debut, Foton released the MP-X model in Guangzhou and Shanghai on April 15 and 20 respectively. And the Beijing debut of the model is planned in May.




The MP-X series reflects a consumer-oriented design philosophy that values safety and comfort. Safety is the top priority in the design of the new model.


Due to the use of cutting-edge sports-car technologies, the MP-X presents a definite advantage in terms of safety improvement, Foton's engineers said.


The employment of Stabilizers technology which is commonly used in sports cars and helps prevent vehicles from rolling over makes the MP-X model more capable of maintaining its balance even as it executes a sharp turn, like sports cars.


Such a strong control capability substantially reduces driving hazards, experts said.


Equipped with an anti-lock braking system and electronic brake force distribution, the car's performance is strong in terms of braking steadiness and the security aspect.


Further, a specially designed safety section capable of absorbing the energy of the impact in case of an accident is expected to help protect drivers and passengers against injuries.


Other safety devices like three-fixed-point seat belts, airbags and safety-enhanced car body provide added protection.


With such prominent safety features, the new model has passed the double five-star NCAP crashing test of North America.


Another appeal of the new car is its mobile comfort.


Mainly targeting the business car market, the MP-X offers six seats designed according to man-machine engineering theory, which helps enhance steadiness and ease muscle tension resulting from long drives.


While writing in a moving car is generally not an easy task because of the inevitable bumpiness, Foton's designers said the MP-X model has managed to counter that problem as well.


Considering the need of a mobile office, the company has improved steadiness and comfort of the spacious and elegantly furnished MP-X, making it the perfect choice for a business-purpose vehicle.


Fierce competition


Recent years have seen a rising trend in the total MPV supply in the domestic market.


As a result, buyers have become more prudent about their purchases. They tend to make a thorough comparison between different brands before making their final decision, insiders noted.


Amid such fierce competition, carmakers are trying their best to innovate and develop new technologies, seeking to satisfy upgraded demands from MPV customers.


Competition in extending interior space and devising innovative chassis technology has set off several rounds of MPV upgrade in the sector.


In such a scenario, Foton's recently released MP-X vehicle, with its heightened competitiveness in these two aspects, is expected to find a niche among innovative and progressive individuals and organizations.


With a competitive pricing policy, the release of Foton's new model is expected to trigger a new wave of competition in the Chinese MPV market.


(China Daily May 11, 2007)


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