The country's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) may soon be launching the successor to the beloved Maruti Gypsy. This will be the first time in 35 years the company will manufacture an SUV in India. A report by Nikkei Asian Review says Maruti's new mini SUV, which will replace Gypsy, is aimed at India's rural markets to bolster dwindling automobile sales as the nation sees a slowdown in the auto sector.
"We are only operating in a third of India's communities," Suzuki Chairman Osamu Suzuki told the Japanese financial publication.
The launch of the new Gypsy was initially slated to take place in March this year, but was delayed due to safety updates.
The new Gypsy could be a three-door mini SUV which might be powered by a 1.5-litre petrol engine that generates 102PS of peak power and 130Nm of torque. It could be based on Suzuki's new Jimny platform, the report said. The Gypsy was also based on original Jimny platform.
In terms of features, the Japan-spec Jimny comes with LED headlamps with washers, a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, hill hold control and hill descent control.
India’s passenger vehicle industry suffered its worst sales performance in nearly 19 years in July. This has been attributed to a slowing economy, higher ownership costs and floods in some states. Over 3,000 temporary employees lost their jobs with MSI due to the slump and the company cut production for the sixth straight month in July to control dealership stocks.
The carmaker is now looking at the upcoming festive season with new launches, including a new hatchback S-Presso and an MPV called XL6. Vehicle sales during the festive season comprise almost a third of the total vehicles sold in a year.