This is because production has started exclusively to meet demand by the Indian army. The Indian Army is yet to find a suitable replacement to the original mountain goat in India’s car world – the Maruti Gypsy. The army requested the government to relax rules for personnel carrier vehicles in order to place a new order with Maruti Suzuki for the Gypsy. Maruti Suzuki has now taken an order of 3,051 Gypsy off-roaders, and these vehicles, along with Tata Safari Stormes will meet the army’s immediate requirement of 8,000 personnel carrier.
The reason why the Indian army picked the Gypsy instead of the Tata Safari Storme has to do with the tough terrain the Maruti Gypsy handles much better than the Safari Storme, which is too wide and unwieldy on narrow Himalayan mountain roads. Also, the Gypsy’s soft top allows soldiers and quick reaction team members stand on the pick up bed behind.
Also, there is no other alternative to the Gypsy in the Indian market with a petrol engine. A petrol engined SUV performs better than diesel engined SUVs on the high Himalayan passes. Diesel freezer faster than petrol and starting diesel powered SUVs in the Himalayan regions can be a task, especially when there is heavy snowfall and the vehicle needs to be parked overnight.
An Army officer told IndianExpress,
“The Army is using the vehicle in the tough mountainous terrains of Kashmir and the northeast. Initially, the company had expressed its inability as the vehicle does not meet new safety and emission norms. We convinced the ministry about the requirement and it gave us the requisite waiver. Safari Storme is a little larger vehicle, and the roads in the mountains are narrow, for which we require the Gypsy. The Gypsy has the options of hard top and soft top. We can place our rifles, fully armed soldiers of the Quick Reaction Teams can stand, and recoilless guns can also be mounted.”
Maruti discontinued the Gypsy off roader for the civilian market earlier this year. The new batch being produced is exclusively meant for the Indian army. When it was still sold in India to civilians, the Gypsy was offered with a 1.3 liter-4 cylinder petrol engine paired with a 5 speed manual gearbox. The motor made 80 Bhp-110 Nm. A four wheel drive transfer case with standard with both soft top and hard top versions of the Gypsy. The off-roader’s prices started around Rs. 6.5 lakhs, making it one of the most affordable off-roaders sold in India. It was famed for its reliability, ruggedness and durability.