Maruti Suzuki Gypsy is one the first SUVs to be launched in the Indian market. The petrol-powered SUV was first launched in 1985 and is the oldest vehicle, which is still in production. It has been 32 years since the launch of the Gypsy in the Indian market and it continues to remain on the top of the sales chart!
More popular than Mahindra Thar?
On the paper, yes! In the last 5 years, Maruti sold over 24,000 units of the Gypsy while Mahindra could only manage to sell 15,000 units of the Thar. That’s a huge difference. Maruti Suzuki Gypsy is a very basic off-roading vehicle and is also the most-affordable 4X4 available in the country. The Mahindra Thar, on the other hand, offers a diesel engine, an air conditioning unit and independent rear suspension. So how come the Gypsy is more popular than the Thar?
Well, the Gypsy has remained one of the favourite vehicles of the government security agencies. Right from the Indian Army to the state police forces, all prefer the Maruti Suzuki Gypsy for its easy to maintain ownership. The government security forces are one of the biggest consumers of the Maruti Gypsy, which is why the sales figure of the Gypsy is much higher than the Thar.
However, when it comes to off-roading, the enthusiasts prefer the Mahindra Thar for its daily usability. The Thar can also be customised in various ways to make it much more capable and comfortable.
The Maruti Gypsy is also not very comfortable for daily driving because of the bouncy leaf springs. It is also powered by a 1.3-litre petrol engine that generates only 80 Bhp and 104 Nm. However, the long trust by the security forces in the Gypsy still keeps it popular in the market.
Off-roading enthusiasts also prefer the Mahindra Thar because it is cheaper to run. It is powered by a 2.5-litre turbo diesel engine that generates a maximum power of 105 Bhp and 247 Nm. The Thar gets an independent suspension system, which makes it much better to ride on the bumpy roads. However, when it comes to repairs and maintenance, the Gypsy is much easier to work on and because it is a Maruti, there are service centres in almost every corner of the country, making it easier to maintain.
Only a few off-roading enthusiasts buy the Gypsy but the government agencies still buy them in bulk. However, if we isolate the Mahindra Thar to see how well it does in the market, we realise that it does quite well. In the last 5 years, Mahindra has sold over 38,000 units of the Thar. It offers the rugged Direct Injection (M2DICR) engine, which is extremely popular among the transporters. The M2DICR engine produces a maximum of 63 Bhp and 180 Nm and it is available in the 4X2 and 4X4 versions.
The sales figure can soon change as the Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Program (BNVSAP) rule kicks in next year. Both Mahindra Thar and Gypsy would be replaced with all-new models and Maruti could launch the Jimny SUV to replace the Gypsy in India. Also, the latest vehicle supply contract of the Indian Indian Army has been awarded to Tata Safari Stome and the army has stopped inducting Gypsy because it became difficult to carry petrol separately for the SUV while all other Army vehicles are powered by diesel. In fact, Maruti does not offer Gypsy off-the-shelve. If you want one, you will have to order one and it takes 2-3 months to arrive.