Business Standard

Maruti Suzuki Jimny: Banking on Gypsy's legacy to take on the SUV challenge

The Jimny's popularity can be gauged from the fact that Maruti is receiving around 700 bookings of the vehicle every day

Jimny

Jimny

Mayank Pandey New Delhi

Listen to This Article

Maruti Suzuki (MS) is all set to bring its much-awaited, five-door off-roader Jimny into the market on June 7. The Jimny's popularity can be gauged from the fact that Maruti is receiving around 700 bookings of the vehicle every day, according to an Autocar India (ACI) report. Total bookings have crossed the 30,000 mark and are expected to rise further.

Jimny
Jimny

Given that Maruti has still not revealed the prices of the Jimny, it is exceptional to see such a confident response from the customers. It will not be wrong to say that customers expect a robust, durable, reliable, low-maintenance, and affordable lifestyle vehicle from Maruti.


The Gypsy legacy

Jimny is Maruti's first off-roader since the departure of its Gypsy. Built on a ladder frame, the Gypsy was known for being a light and agile vehicle. With its utilitarian bench-styled rear-seating configuration, the Gypsy could seat four passengers in the rear and two in the front, including the driver.

Jimny
Jimny

Sold with a soft top and a suspension set-up that was most suitable for off-roading purposes, Gypsy did not do well among private car owners. Customers expected a more comfortable seating arrangement for their families than what was offered in the Gypsy.

However, this was not the case with institutional buyers like law enforcement agencies and the armed forces, who quickly saw the value a vehicle like Gypsy could add to their operational requirements. The no-nonsense approach of the Gypsy made it an instant hit with the army and the police forces across the country.

Jimny
Jimny

To this date, at first glance, the Gypsy comes across as a government-operated car before anything else.


Jimny and the road ahead

Maruti Suzuki is betting big on the Jimny, and it is clear from the fact that MS developed an extended five-door version primarily to be sold in the Indian market, adding 300 millimetres to its length. Clearly, MS wants to present the Jimny as a complete family car with serious off-road capabilities.

Jimny
Jimny

 
MS is looking to cash in on the Indian customers' inclination towards SUVs. With Jimny, Maruti wants to achieve more than what it did with the Gypsy by making it a truly mass-market vehicle.


Jimny's competition

It is obvious to compare the Jimny with Mahindra's Thar as both offer off-roading capabilities and are built on ladder frames. With ample ground clearance on offer, both vehicles have been made with a go-anywhere approach. However, the similarities end there.

Jimny
Jimny

While Maruti is known for its reliable naturally-aspirated engines that offer best-in-segment fuel economy, the Thar prefers performance over the pocket.

Jimny
Jimny

While Jimny may have the boxy, SUVish look to its credit, it has a less substantial road presence than Thar's. Also, while Maruti is known to price its vehicle competitively, the presence of Mahindra's two-wheel drive diesel Thar may leave the customer confused.

Jimny
Jimny

Notably, Mahindra Thar's two-wheel drive variant starts at around Rs 10.50 lakh, ex-showroom. There is speculation that Maruti's Jimny will also start at around Rs 10 lakh. 


Maruti Suzuki's SUV challenge

While taking one's eyes off the Jimny launch is difficult, it is important to look at what Maruti is doing to bolster its standing in the SUV segment of the Indian car market. With a recent upgrade in its Brezza line-up, the launch of the Grand Vitara, and the introduction of the Baleno-based crossover, Fronx, Maruti seems determined to carve out a space for itself in the segment.

Jimny
Jimny

 
As things stand, Maruti is the market leader in the small-car segment and sells most hatchbacks in the country, but the SUV segment is dominated by the products offered by the triopoly of Hyundai, Tata, and Mahindra. As Maruti looks to pip these established players, it will be interesting to see how Maruti prices its upcoming vehicles to attract more buyers.

Don't miss the most important news and views of the day. Get them on our Telegram channel

First Published: May 29 2023 | 1:41 PM IST

Explore News