The Gypsy is more than 3 decades old, and is a brand that most of us have grown up with. It is the only petrol 4X4 on sale in the market at that price point, and is a vehicle that is used by the Indian army, paramilitary forces, off road enthusiasts and even most resorts running safaris. All this is about to change and Maruti will soon be killing the Gypsy brand name. And Tata Motors is a big reason behind Maruti’s decision to kill this icon.
The Gypsy has been on sale mainly due to the contract that Maruti had with the Indian army. The company was the major supplier for the small SUV, and hence you see most of the armed forces roaming around in a Gypsy. Now, that is about to change. Last year. Tata bagged an order to supply close to 3200 units of the Safari Storme to the army. Currently, the army has close to 31000 units of the Gypsy which are now beginning to show its age. The new Storme will replace these ageing vehicles. Since majority of the Gypsy sales were due to the army, this change will see the reduction in demand for the vehicle.
In addition to this, the Indian auto industry is going to see a drastic change when it comes to homologation norms. India will be shifting to BS6 norms by 2020 and will also have crash test norms in place by the end of this year. The current lot of vehicles on sale will have to adhere to these norms by 2019. Since the Gypsy is built on the old platform and continues to use the older G-13b engine, it will require a new engine as well as a new redesign ground up to meet the crash norms. The Gypsy currently has no safety features on offer, be it airbags or ABS/EBD.
Given the low demand and the expense of building an all-new car, the company will have no other option but to kill the Gypsy brand.
The Gypsy is currently on sale in BS 4 form. It is available as both a soft top and a hard top. Pricing starts at Rs 6.23 lakhs. The vehicle is powered by a petrol 1.3 liter engine making 80 Bhp and 103 Nm. The power is transmitted to all 4 wheels via a 4wd system. The main advantage of the Gypsy is the fact that it is light and small, which means it is nimble and can easily tackle most obstacles that are faced.
The vehicle is not only sold here, it is also exported to a few other countries across the world, mainly New Zealand, Nepal, Bangladesh, Kenya and a few other African countries.
Also, the Gypsy is a favoured vehicle for all those planning to get into rallies or other motorsport events. Being very basic, it is easy to modify and easy to service and repair as well. Most of the well known rally drivers either started off with the Gypsy or are racing the Gypsy currently. A few, like the example above have been made for the RFC and other such extreme off-road events as well.
The Gypsy was first introduced way back in 1985. At that time, power came from a 970 cc engine. Later, in 1993, the company introduced a newer widetrack version of the vehicle where the front and rear track of the vehicle was increased. It was in 1996 that the company added the G13 engine to the Gypsy, an engine that still does duty on the vehicle, however it has been retuned to meet new emmision norms.
Is there no hope left?
While the Gypsy will be discontinued, Maruti is looking at the feasibility of bringing in the all-new Jimny into the Indian market. There are rumours that the vehicle could be built in India for the export market, which means India might get it too.
Source: Autocar India