Maruti Suzuki had showcased the Jimny compact off-roader at Auto Expo 2020 to “gauge public response”
Except at Maruti Suzuki’s headquarters, almost everyone is certain that the Suzuki Jimny would be a hit on our market. For starters, its compact dimensions will be a boon in tight traffic conditions while its go-anywhere capability makes it a fun little weekender. As a virtual successor to the iconic Maruti Gypsy (second-gen Jimny), the current fourth-gen version of the off-roader has been hitting Indian automotive news headlines ever since its global debut in 2018.
Over the years, there are have been several rumours on its Indian debut. In fact, Maruti Suzuki ARENA dealerships have even received a notification regarding a new product launch in November. To top it all, the Indian automaker showcased the vehicle at Auto Expo 2020 (held in early February) to “gauge public response”. Meanwhile, waiting periods for the Suzuki Jimny in Japan has hit almost 18 months.
However, Maruti Suzuki is yet to reach a conclusion on its launch. Shashank Srivastava, Executive Director of Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL) shared that the company is evaluating the Jimny’s “prospects for the Indian market”. He also added that the product received an immense response at the biennial auto show as MSIL had expected. Still, the brand remains sceptical about its success.
It was only recently that Maruti Suzuki had to write off unsold BS4 units worth Rs 125 crore. The Indian automotive industry is not in its best form due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and the nationwide lockdown measures it brought about.
Hence, from a business point of view, it makes sense for manufacturers to concentrate more on strategies that would minimise losses rather than investing on a new product unless its launch is absolutely crucial (such as BS6 variants of successful products).
One cannot expect the Jimny to be a volume-sales product in typical Maruti Suzuki fashion. It won’t appeal to the average Indian buyer but those who are eagerly waiting for its launch like it for what it is — an easy-to-live-with dual-purpose compact vehicle. If the absence of rear doors is the concern, Maruti Suzuki has already got the Vitara Brezza subcompact crossover in its portfolio.
Various reports state that Maruti Suzuki has plans to bring a five-door FWD Jimny. If that is indeed the case, we see no logic in buying it over a Vitara Brezza or any other product in the segment for that matter. In other words, Maruti Suzuki should either bring it in its original format or should not introduce it at all. Apparently, the latter scenario has more chances and the company would lose the market to the upcoming 2020 Mahindra Thar.