The Maruti Gypsy is the grandfather of SUVs in India, or should that be great grandfather? First introduced in 1985, the Gypsy is 32 years old and the currently the oldest production car in India. Yet, it continues to be the best-selling off-roader in India, outselling the Mahindra Thar CRDe – it’s direct competitor.
Here are some sales numbers!
Over the past five years, Maruti Suzuki has sold about 20,000 units of the Gypsy. Mahindra has sold only about 13,000 units of the Mahindra Thar CRDe 4X4, this despite offering a diesel engine, air conditioning and independent rear suspension – all of which the Gypsy lacks. So, why is the Gypsy still selling so much?
One word: Government. The Indian government, through its various procurement agency remains the biggest purchaser of the off-roader. The government sources the Gypsy for a various military and paramilitary forces, and also for various departments that need a hardy, off road vehicle to reach hard-to-access places.
In other roads, off roaders don’t really buy he Gypsy, but the government does. Most Indian off roaders prefer the Thar because it’s cheaper to run (due to its 2.5 liter turbo diesel engine with 105 Bhp-247 Nm), has better ride quality (due to independent front suspension) and is also more accessible (readily available through Mahindra dealerships compared to the built-to-order/often back-ordered Gypsy). The Gypsy on the other hand. is very bumpy (leaf springs at the front and rear) and has a thirsty 1.3 liter petrol engine with just 80 Bhp-104 Nm.
But the Thar brand (as a whole) is still doing better than the Gypsy!
Mahindra has sold nearly 25,000 units of the Thar DI in the last 5 years. So, including the CRDe variant, the Thar brand has sold 38,000 units in 5 years. The lion’s share of the Thar brand’s overall sales comes from the DI engined (now M2DICR) variant, that nearly no personal car buyers/off roader buy. Too crude for use as a personal or lifestyle vehicle, the Thar DI is bought mainly by those seeking to transport people and produce. It’s powered by a 2.5 liter M2DICR turbo diesel engine with 63 Bhp-180 Nm on tap. Both rear wheel drive and four wheel drive configurations are available, although the four wheel drive variant is not a big seller.