After the two decades, it seems like the long era of the Maruti Gypsy has come to an end as the Indian Army is planning to replace the Gypsy from their main-stream services. Modern SUV’s are going to replace the Gypsy and the Mahindra Scorpio and Tata Safari are being considered. More than 25,000 Gypsies have served the Indian Army from a long time for light operations like terror attacks to the country’s foremost national events or cavalcades. But the increasing running cost (as the Gypsy runs on petrol), might be one of the reasons behind the new development.
The Defence officials have confirmed that summer trials for the Scorpio and Safari will be started from next week in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, and winter trials will be held in Sikkim at the end of this year. The Army has a requirement of around 30,000 light-stream 4X4 SUV cars that makes the total expenditure of around Rs. 3000 crore to the defence ministry.
The Army will start the phase-out of Gypsy by 2017 and the new vehicles will be introduced in a phased manner which is expected to take 15-20 years. The tender published by the Army stated that the vehicle should be around 800 kgs in weight, powered by a diesel engine that should be Bharat stage III and IV complaint. We honestly don’t think the Scorpio or Safari meet the weight criteria.
Maruti Suzuki needs to pull up their socks if the company does not want to see the Gypsy from being an old story as the Indian Army is the only buyer for it. The company should launch a heavily revised model of the Gypsy with a diesel engine, which will also rival the Mahindra Thar and the Force Gurkha that dominates the off-road segment. The current price of the Gypsy hard-top is Rs. 6,01,057/- (ex-showroom, Delhi) and if Maruti launch a diesel variant, we think it will surely make a positive impact on the public market as the Indian buyers have sympatheic approach towards the first off-roader of our country.