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Old 17th July 2015, 10:26   #1
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Default Army orders 2,071 units of the Maruti Gypsy

The Indian Army has placed an order for 2,071 units of the Maruti Suzuki Gypsy. The order is a part of an earlier tender. However, it was placed very recently. It could help Maruti Suzuki make close to Rs. 125 crore. Deliveries are expected to start in the coming months.

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The off-roader falls under the GS500 (500 kg payload) category of vehicles and has been a favourite of the army. More than 35,000 units of the car have been delivered to the organisation since 1991. Last year, the army had ordered 4,000 units of the Gypsy.

Launched in 1985, the Gypsy started out with a 1.0-litre, 4-cylinder petrol engine that produced 45 BHP. In the nineties, Maruti gave it a more potent 1.3-litre, 4-cylinder unit with 80 BHP and 103 Nm of torque on tap. It has a 5-speed manual gearbox and four-wheel drive. Apart from the army, the Gypsy is a favourite among off-roaders and rally drivers.

The Army is also planning to introduce a new category called GS800. For this segment, the army requires air-conditioned vehicles with a hard top and payload of 800 kg. The Tata Safari Storme and the Mahindra Scorpio have been shortlisted for this category. A tender for 3,200 vehicles is expected to be floated shortly.

Source: Economic Times

Last edited by Aditya : 17th July 2015 at 16:28.
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Old 17th July 2015, 11:22   #2
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Default re: Army orders 2,071 units of the Maruti Gypsy

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Originally Posted by Aditya View Post
Apart from the army, the is a favourite among off-roaders and rally drivers.
The gypsy was always a competent vehicle for varied terrains.
Have driven it both at the highest mountain pass and the worst of sand dunes. Though personally would still like to take the Nissan Jonga over there but Gypsy also was good enough.
However nothing much has changed as far as look and mechanicals are concerned in the last 10 years. Photograph below shows my Gyspy in 2005. Seems like the new ones are no different even after a decade.
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Old 17th July 2015, 13:59   #3
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Default re: Army orders 2,071 units of the Maruti Gypsy

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Originally Posted by Aditya View Post

Launched in 1985, the Gypsy started out with a 1.0-litre, 4-cylinder petrol engine that produced 45 BHP. In the nineties, Maruti gave it a more potent 1.3-litre, 4-cylinder unit with 80 BHP and 103 Nm of torque on tap. It has a 5-speed manual gearbox and four-wheel drive. Apart from the army, this is a favourite among off-roaders and rally drivers....
No upgrade since nineties? and the Army is still fond of it , guess it must be one hell of a machine (on a lighter note).

However I believe that this order is just to fill in the gap before the Storme is introduced (wishful thinking ). The Scorpio has already been doing duty in the valley as well as UN.
In any case I just hope they don't compromise on quality and Build.
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Old 17th July 2015, 14:30   #4
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Default re: Army orders 2,071 units of the Maruti Gypsy

Few questions to the experts here :

1. What are the differences between the Gypsy that is used by the Defense Forces and the ones available for civilian use?

2. Don't we have a replacement for these, is army evaluating anything to replace the ones in the GS500 Category. I do understand that there are MM550s also in service.

3. Do we have gypsies in the Fast Attack Roles. We had once evaluated Mahindra Axe, Ivecos etc for the same. (I remember an old pic on the web on the same)
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Old 17th July 2015, 16:19   #5
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Default Re: Army orders 2,071 units of the Maruti Gypsy

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Originally Posted by Aditya View Post
More than 35,000 units of the car have been delivered to the organisation since 1991. Last year, the army had ordered 4,000 units of the Gypsy.
Interesting stats, Addy! Thanks for sharing.

The offroading community should thank the Army for keeping the Gypsy alive. Without defence orders, it would have RIP'ed a long time back.

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Originally Posted by Blue Bird View Post
However I believe that this order is just to fill in the gap before the Storme is introduced (wishful thinking ).
The lightweight Gypsy is a much, much superior offroader than the bulky & heavy Storme. The Gypsy also offers bullet-proof reliability.

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What are the differences between the Gypsy that is used by the Defense Forces and the ones available for civilian use?
I don't believe there are any differences.

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Don't we have a replacement for these, is army evaluating anything to replace the ones in the GS500 Category. I do understand that there are MM550s also in service.
MM550s have been out of production since the longest time. The Army appears to prefer the Gypsy over the Thar (MM550's replacement).
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Old 17th July 2015, 16:53   #6
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Default Re: Army orders 2,071 units of the Maruti Gypsy

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
The lightweight Gypsy is a much, much superior offroader than the bulky & heavy Storme. The Gypsy also offers bullet-proof reliability.
There was a thread on a Pakistani defence forum about the Indian Army actually having shortlisted the Storme and the Scorpio for final field trials before induction into active service.

I know I have seen photos doing the rounds of a military green Storme on field trials (with those small lights that come on army vehicles).
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Old 17th July 2015, 17:02   #7
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Default Re: Army orders 2,071 units of the Maruti Gypsy

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There was a thread on a Pakistani defence forum about the Indian Army actually having shortlisted the Storme and the Scorpio for final field trials before induction into active service.
Yes, they can definitely use the Storme & Scorpio, but they'll never be true replacements for the mountain-goat Gypsy. The Gypsy can go hopping on & off rough terrain in a way that the bigger SUVs can only dream of.
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Old 17th July 2015, 17:24   #8
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Default Re: Army orders 2,071 units of the Maruti Gypsy

Storme and Scrorpio is not a Gypsy replacement, they are considered as vehicles for higher ranking officials.

That is the reason army wants air conditioned vehicles in that category, Gypsy is sans any 'unwanted' electricals - No AC, No power steering.
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Old 17th July 2015, 17:31   #9
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Default Re: Army orders 2,071 units of the Maruti Gypsy

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Yes, they can definitely use the Storme & Scorpio, but they'll never be true replacements for the mountain-goat Gypsy. The Gypsy can go hopping on & off rough terrain in a way that the bigger SUVs can only dream of.
Completely agree. I've ridden whole days behind Rally prepped Gypsies up north and I am greatly respectful of their abilities. I think special forces etc. will still use these mountain goats. Whereas for staff car duty in more rugged areas they will use either the Storme or Scorpio 4x4s.

I'm just happy our Army is buying Indian vehicles, whichever they are.
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Old 17th July 2015, 22:52   #10
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Red face Re: Army orders 2,071 units of the Maruti Gypsy

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
MM550s have been out of production since the longest time. The Army appears to prefer the Gypsy over the Thar (MM550's replacement).
I believe Thar is replacing the MM540. Correct me if that is wrong.

I just wish that Maruti/Suzuki can plonk the Fiat 1.3 Litre diesel engine into the Gypsy to improve its fuel-efficiency and provide independent front suspension for the Civilian rides. That would make it an awesome machine to possess and flaunt around..

Cheers, Am logging back in after a long time back on the forum..
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Old 18th July 2015, 00:37   #11
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Thumbs up Re: Army orders 2,071 units of the Maruti Gypsy

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
The lightweight Gypsy is a much, much superior offroader than the bulky & heavy Storme. The Gypsy also offers bullet-proof reliability.
Completely agree to that , My mind just wandered to the comfort aspects hence the desire for better ride and other creature comforts, however the off roading capabilities are only second to the Jonga as nkghai sir has mentioned.

Thanks.
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Old 18th July 2015, 09:01   #12
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Default Re: Army orders 2,071 units of the Maruti Gypsy

Army purchases are not just about vehicle but also about whole system of spares inventory, workshop training etc. Typically once a vehicle is introduced in Army (all forces) it stays put for a long long time.

I have not driven Jonga on off road trails and hence cannot comment on its capabilities directly but can only say if Jonga was indeed a good off roader the off road community would have restored many of them by now. I have not seen that happening though did read about few restorations.
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Old 18th July 2015, 13:24   #13
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Default Re: Army orders 2,071 units of the Maruti Gypsy

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I have not driven Jonga on off road trails and hence cannot comment on its capabilities directly but can only say if Jonga was indeed a good off roader the off road community would have restored many of them by now. I have not seen that happening though did read about few restorations.
The army would have different operational requirements of its vehicles compared to enthusiasts from the off road community.

Size, load carrying, and strength/toughness, and survivability would all be parameters which I don't think most off road enthusiasts, or indeed even rallyists, would be looking for. Where lightness, speed, articulation, and climbing/descending/fording ability would be paramount.

I'm no expert on off roading, but I've been with the fauj, and I know the Jonga is built literally like a tank and is still highly regarded in fauji circles. A Jonga has been known to go over IEDs/land mines and the passengers protected (I personally know of college mates in Nagaland ....). I doubt anything would be left of a Gypsy in similar circumstances, seeing how light its built.

Just putting a counter argument from the other side out there.

Last edited by ebonho : 18th July 2015 at 13:37.
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Old 18th July 2015, 15:32   #14
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Default Re: Army orders 2,071 units of the Maruti Gypsy

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I have not driven Jonga on off road trails and hence cannot comment on its capabilities directly but can only say if Jonga was indeed a good off roader the off road community would have restored many of them by now. I have not seen that happening though did read about few restorations.
Well the Jonga was a beast in its time. It had a massive engine , a six-cylinder 3956 cc in-line 6 cylinder petrol engine developing 110 bhp at 3200 rpm. Maximum torque was 26.9kgm at only 1200 rpm. It was meshed with a three-speed gearbox. The same engine powered the Nissan 1 Tons of the Army , so you can imagine an engine actually made for a big vehicle which was used to ferry troops and equipment fitted on a very light jonga felt like a power house under you. I have attached photograph of both for size comparison. There is absolutely no difference in both engines except the flywheel which was different.

A Jonga with an original engine, would go anywhere and would just like to add that i have been fortunate to have extensively driven and maintained all four vehicles , the Willys Jeep, the Nissan Jonga , the Maruti Gypsy and the the Mahindra MM 540. A Jonga will beat all hands down. Some areas where even Gypsy is short of breath, the Jonga would just ample across. Once in the thick of deserts which was only dune and void of any trees we came across a very huge dune and we driving enthusiasts got all vehicle lined up to check which vehicle would reach top. I have a photograph somewhere which i cant find, the jonga went miles ahead without losing steam and got bogged down just 3 ft from top. Stories of cross country travel in a jonga in the army are legendary stuff. I have even driven a Jonga over a frozen river bed just for thrill. I simply loved the vehicle which was a fuel guzzler. i think Cross country we got 3 kms/ltr.

As GTO pointed out a Gypsy is the most competent off roader today and can almost go anywhere, now think of a jonga which will even go further.

About your point that not many modified Jonga are seen around maybe because it was never open for sale to public and whatever you got was left overs after a full life cycle in the Army. The VFJ stopped petrol Jonga production way back around 1996 so many may not be available. Also new engines of Nissan make stopped in early 1990s and only available ones were overhauled engines.

I do totally agree to your comment that spares inventory and repair infrastructure pan country is a prime reason for having less variety of vehicles and once a particular model gets established, it is continued for long.
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Last edited by nkghai : 18th July 2015 at 15:39. Reason: spelling
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Old 18th July 2015, 17:23   #15
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Default Re: Army orders 2,071 units of the Maruti Gypsy

Quote:
Originally Posted by man23ish View Post
I believe Thar is replacing the MM540.
Thar has already replaced the MM540 / MM550 which have been out of production since years .

Quote:
Originally Posted by sudev View Post
Army purchases are not just about vehicle but also about whole system of spares inventory, workshop training etc.
And reliability! The Gypsy has astonishing durability and it just never breaks down. It sure can take abuse day in & day out.

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Originally Posted by nkghai View Post
Well the Jonga was a beast in its time.
Great post, thanks! Someone from the Army who knew his cars once told me the same thing about the Jonga. It could just go anywhere.

How was the general reliability of the Jongas? Were the mechanicals robust? Or was it high maintenance?

A thread on the Jonga

Last edited by GTO : 18th July 2015 at 17:25.
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