Maruti Jimny is easily one of the most awaited products in India’s recent automotive history
Indian automotive enthusiasts have been eagerly waiting for the Suzuki Jimny. Over the span of two years, we have come across multiple rumours and speculations regarding the compact 3-door off-roader’s Indian debut. Maruti Suzuki showcased a Suzuki Jimny at Auto Expo 2020 as well, in a bid to “gauge public response”.
It was in 2018 that Japanese automaker Suzuki introduced the fourth-gen Jimny to the world. The Suzuki Jimny is essentially the successor of the good old Maruti Gypsy (second-gen Jimny) and for the same reason, Indian enthusiasts see a special charm in the 2+2-seater ladder-frame 4WD vehicle. The ‘mini-SUV’ has remained mostly the same in its two model years and is currently witnessing immense demand (waiting periods range up to 18 months) in Japan.
However, Maruti Suzuki does not see such potential on the Indian market. CV Raman, Senior Executive Director of Maruti Suzuki India Limited (MSIL), states that a 3-door Suzuki Jimny will not work in India and there is no point in bringing it down as a CBU. In fact, a possible ‘Maruti Suzuki Jimny’ would not even be a CKD product but a highly localised volume puller.
Then again, the company remains sceptical about the success of a petrol-powered extra-compact 3-door. CV Raman asks how much an Indian buyer would pay for such a product. He further added that a business decision has to be made though it is fine to have emotions.
We strongly believe that emotions play a considerable part in a product’s reception. To many (including those who do not consider themselves as ‘petrolheads’), cars are more just a mode of transportation. In this case, the iconic Maruti Gypsy is the main element which instilled an exclusive appeal in Suzuki’s popular off-roader.
Of course, it is a known fact that the Jimny would not be a big seller in traditional Maruti Suzuki fashion. But it could still create a market quite wider than what is usually referred to as a niche. At the moment, our market has no direct rival to the Suzuki Jimny except for Mahindra’s much-awaited 2020MY Thar.
To give a brief summary of all the above points, Maruti Suzuki does not wish to sell the Jimny in its original format. Instead, the company might introduce a 5-door FWD cost-effective counterpart — in other words, a Vitara Brezza in a boxy shell. Earlier, Japan media had reported that Suzuki has plans to start production of Jimny at their plant in Gujarat, India.
Indian car enthusiasts are in the opinion that if Maruti Suzuki intends to sell the Jimny in a similar uninteresting format, it is best not to introduce the product at all. Those who wish to own a Suzuki Jimny likes it for what it is. Nevertheless, the power plant would be the familiar BS6 1.5-litre K15B NA petrol four-cylinder (with 12V mild-hybrid system) churning out 103bhp and 138Nm of torque. This is coupled to a 5-speed manual or 4-speed TC automatic transmission.