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Old 9th July 2018, 14:26   #1
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Default Will Jeep India launch a Thar competitor?

Will Jeep produce an off road 4X4 fun vehicle to challenge the Thar ?

Article by - Shahid Ahmad ( Desertfox )

Jeep did launch the Compass a locally assembled medium compact SUV that was eagerly received in India and sales do average about 2000 units a month across all of India. But will it launch an off road recreation vehicle to take on the now 4th version of Mahindra Thar. What would this vehicle be ?

Based on the Jeep Wrangler JK body tub.

Although India is a market for 4 door vehicles but for a direct Thar competitor lets work on a 2 Door soft top type. It could be called Liberty, Rubicon, Sahara or Renegade as these sub variants exist in different markets globally. So its launched as Jeep Renegade in India at an on the road price of Rs. 10.75 to 11 Lakhs, roughly in the same bracket as the now 4th improvement Thar model. Fiat – Jeep do have an inhouse engine suitable for such a car, the CRDI FIAE 34818 is a suitable diesel engine that generates ample torque and 130 bhp.

But what about the market ?

Thar CRDe sales hover to around just 300 vehicles a month in India. Add to this the Thar DI rural sales and the total figure is just about 500 to 550 vehicles a month. Out of the 300 odd Thars sold every month about 275 or over 92 % get a hard top fitted from a third party source. In this case the market is actually for a Hard top model for Jeep Renegade. In reality a 3 Door model with a swinging tailgate on hinges and lockable. Central locking would be a definite advantage.

The sales of Thar has remained so low because the market has remained recreational and rural only. After initial purchases in 2012-13 most state police forces and Government departments have settled for the Mahindra Bolero whose sales are still 9500 units a month. A reason for such a high hard top conversion for Thar has also been the design of its canopy. From early 1980s the attempt by Mahindra had been to create a rib cage and soft top in such a manner that it remained permanently fixed and not convertible.

Removing and assembling such hard tops takes over an hour usually and cannot be done by all at home. Then there is always the safety factor of glasses, bags, documents, music system. In this case a Jeep renegade with a factory fitted but removable hard top would come to about Rs. 12 Lakhs. This would have central locking, air-conditioning power steering. And still resemble the classic Jeep. Add to it the common complaints of the Thar from customer surveys, power windows and auto mirrors along with a factory fitted music system and charging sockets the price will become 12.50 Lakhs on the road in Delhi/NCR.

But even if it is able to break off 80 % Thar customers in the first year the market size is limited to 250 units a month. And the Jeep Kompass prices start from 18,75 lakhs. At this demand level it seems difficult for Jeep to localize and market a Jeep Renegade clone unit in India in the next two years.

Last edited by GTO : 10th July 2018 at 08:21. Reason: Clubbing your sentences together into paragraphs
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Old 9th July 2018, 15:04   #2
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Default re: Will Jeep India launch a Thar competitor?

In a year or two, I'm hoping there will be another 2 door SUV to compete with Thar – The Suzuki Jimny.

Jeep is currently planning a sub 4m SUV for India to be launched in 2020. I think it will be safe to expect 2 door/soft top editions of the same SUV depending on its initial success.

Last edited by Flyer : 9th July 2018 at 15:13.
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Old 10th July 2018, 01:22   #3
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Default re: Will Jeep India launch a Thar competitor?

Maruti has no immediate plans to launch Jimny, And if they do it might go the Brezza way, without a 4X4 version as Maruti Suzuki consider the market size to be very small.

Jeep India may have a plan but the sales figures of Thar CRDe are not very encouraging to prompt another vehicle launch in the segment. What they have brought into India and are conducting road tests with is a Ford Eco Sports / Brezza size Renegade which has a station wagon body. It may be sub 4 M but it is not a serious off-roader. Even the Trail Hawk version they market.

A sub 4 M SUV may come from Toyota - the RUSH. It will not be a RAV 4 RHD version but from the Daihatshu stable. A Daihatshu Terios with an AWD system. This will be largely an urban vehicle no serious off roader. The previous models from Daihatshu the ROCKY and FEROZA held their own offroad. But these vehicles were sold in the 1990s.

Last edited by desertfox : 10th July 2018 at 01:32.
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Old 10th July 2018, 10:08   #4
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Default re: Will Jeep India launch a Thar competitor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by desertfox View Post
Maruti has no immediate plans to launch Jimny, And if they do it might go the Brezza way, without a 4X4 version as Maruti Suzuki consider the market size to be very small.
When Maruti brings Jimny, it will be replacing Gypsy in India. So it's safe to assume like Gypsy, Jimny will also be offered as a proper offroader with 4X4 by Maruti.

Quote:
Jeep India may have a plan but the sales figures of Thar CRDe are not very encouraging to prompt another vehicle launch in the segment. What they have brought into India and are conducting road tests with is a Ford Eco Sports / Brezza size Renegade which has a station wagon body. It may be sub 4 M but it is not a serious off-roader. Even the Trail Hawk version they market.
As per latest reports Jeep will not be launching Renegade in India. Instead Jeep is currently designing two brand new SUV's including a sub 4m SUV (totally new design).
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Old 10th July 2018, 11:08   #5
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Default re: Will Jeep India launch a Thar competitor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by desertfox View Post
Maruti has no immediate plans to launch Jimny, And if they do it might go the Brezza way, without a 4X4 version as Maruti Suzuki consider the market size to be very small.
Brezza way? Don't think so.
Brezza was developed from grounds up as a 2WD vehicle only, whereas for the Jimny, being 4X4 is an integral part of its appeal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by desertfox View Post
A sub 4 M SUV may come from Toyota - the RUSH. It will not be a RAV 4 RHD version but from the Daihatshu stable. A Daihatshu Terios with an AWD system.
Hearing it for years

But nowhere is the present RUSH being sold with AWD or 4X4.

The platform is carried over from the old one, and can be made into 4X4 easily, but looks like Toyota is more interested in marketing it as a 7 seater to replace both last gen Rush and Avanza.

Last edited by DicKy : 10th July 2018 at 11:09.
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Old 10th July 2018, 13:07   #6
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Default re: Will Jeep India launch a Thar competitor?

Again a commercial and market led decision. Gypsy was the Suzuki Samurai. An LWB vehicle.

It is still supplied on order to the state police forces and the Army. An average of about 250 units a month.

The engine of that Gypsy MG413W is still BS III and will have to be phased out.

Suzuki Jimny will be much smaller in size. Will the armed forces and the state police forces endorse it ? Doubtful. These Govt. of India and State Govt. purchases are today centered towards the Mahindra Bolero, Scorpio a few Tata Safari Stormes in between some Traveras were also purchased that still run and even Toyota Innova in some Police forces.

Maruti will hesitate to launch a vehicle that will sell less than 3000 to 4000 units a month.
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Old 10th July 2018, 13:24   #7
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Default re: Will Jeep India launch a Thar competitor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by desertfox View Post
Maruti will hesitate to launch a vehicle that will sell less than 3000 to 4000 units a month.
Don't underestimate the potential of Maruti in India. They don't need the endorsement of govt or the forces anymore to sell vehicles. They have mastered the recipe for success in India. If Maruti launches Jimny in India it will definitely be a hit among the masses and undoubtedly sell more than 5000 units per month. See the acceptance of the new Jimny around the world!
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Old 10th July 2018, 13:47   #8
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Default re: Will Jeep India launch a Thar competitor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by desertfox View Post
Again a commercial and market led decision. Gypsy was the Suzuki Samurai. An LWB vehicle.
It is still supplied on order to the state police forces and the Army. An average of about 250 units a month.
The engine of that Gypsy MG413W is still BS III and will have to be phased out.
---.
It is not fair to compare the current scenario to the days when Gypsy was launched.

Worldwide Jimny was considered just an off-roader with only a handful of enthusiasts owning it.

When the 4th Generation of Jimny was launched on 5th July, it has garnered so much of interest in Japan that the deliveries are spanning from 6 months to a Year (Sierra). Over 7000+ bookings on hand as of now.

When(If) launched in India too in its current form ( with petrol only) it will definitely draw in multiples of 4 digit volumes.

Maruti Suzuki's R&D chief too has acknowledged Jimny as being “from a lifestyle perspective, there is some potential.” Petrol being thepreferred fuel to diesel and its SUV stance, for normal users the current form of Jimny is good.

Bringing the LWB, diesel variant, etc. could be further iterations to Jimny at a later date.

Quote:
In an interview with autoX, CV Raman, Senior Executive Director (Engineering), Maruti Suzuki, was asked about the possibility of introducing an all-new Maruti Gypsy or bringing the next-gen Jimny to India. In response, Mr. Raman suggested that the issue in bringing the Jimny as a replacement for the Gypsy is the Jimny's width, as it is a narrow vehicle. However, the R&D boss then said that “from a lifestyle perspective, there is some potential.”

Link

Last edited by volkman10 : 10th July 2018 at 13:49.
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Old 10th July 2018, 14:15   #9
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Default re: Will Jeep India launch a Thar competitor?

Suzuki is exiting chinese market, so they need more numbers. In Europe for example Jimny sold 700 to 1400 vehicles a month since 2014 till now, that is slightly higher then the average sales of gypsy in India.

If mahindra is selling Thar at low numbers why can't suzuki. Jimny will easily sell way way more then Thar even in it's current 3 door format. If they launch a 5 door it could easily sustain more then 5k vehicles a month, considering the cost.
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Old 10th July 2018, 14:56   #10
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Default re: Will Jeep India launch a Thar competitor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by desertfox View Post
The engine of that Gypsy MG413W is still BS III and will have to be phased out.
Incorrect! Gypsy comes with BSIV engine since 2010. Reasons for phasing it out are more oriented towards the new safety norms being mandated very soon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by desertfox View Post
Suzuki Jimny will be much smaller in size. Will the armed forces and the state police forces endorse it ? Doubtful.
Not required. MSIL will not rely on govt. and Army for selling Jimny, since it is more of a lifestyle vehicle, unlike the Gypsy which is a utility vehicle, as least by-design.

Quote:
Originally Posted by desertfox View Post
Maruti will hesitate to launch a vehicle that will sell less than 3000 to 4000 units a month.
When Mahindra can do so with Thar, I don't see any reason why MSIL cannot do it with Jimny, not to mention the fact that India is planned to be one of the global production hubs for the Jimny going forward.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyer View Post
See the acceptance of the new Jimny around the world!
Agreed! Given the way Indians are going crazy on small SUVs, and the facts that the Jimny comes with all bells & whistles of a "modern" car (unlike the Gypsy which does not even have a power steering) as well as (the biggest factor) that it is a "MARUTTI" - it is bound to do much better volumes than the Thar, contributed by off-road enthusiasts as well as small-SUV buyers alike. People are just going to lap it up!

Last edited by cool_dube : 10th July 2018 at 15:04.
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Old 10th July 2018, 16:24   #11
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Default Re: Will Jeep India launch a Thar competitor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by desertfox View Post
Will Jeep produce an off road 4X4 fun vehicle to challenge the Thar ?
A jugaad-engineered Thar with power steering & a/c costs 11 lakhs on the road in Mumbai. If Jeep can sell a proper modern car - the Compass - starting at 18 lakhs, it can definitely do a more basic Jeep at 11 - 13 lakhs.

But will it?

Jeep India won't design a Jeep on its own - it'll have to look at the international portfolio. That's means the Wrangler which is clearly targeting a higher price point. If & when the Wrangler is built locally, I don't expect it to cost less than 18 - 20 lakhs. And that's if Jeep is interested in the low volumes.

I for one think they should. Not just as an enthusiast, but it makes business sense when you think of what such a car will do to brand Jeep. It's proper Jeeps that made the brand sexy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Flyer View Post
When Maruti brings Jimny, it will be replacing Gypsy in India.
I would put the odds of that at 50:50. The Gypsy still serves a solid purpose.
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Old 11th July 2018, 10:32   #12
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Default Re: Will Jeep India launch a Thar competitor?

I think moreover in India, jeep (when used as a misnomer) is used to augment a brands value by injecting ruggedness, toughness, and a more interesting view into our sterile and boring lives. Jeep is doing this + selling vehicles. So I really doubt they will ever launch a competitor to the Thar CRDe.


If Maruti feels they want to create a new lifestyle stream they may revive Gypsy (with better norms) or peg the Jimny. Maruti can choose what to sell, not the other way round.

Last edited by asingh1977 : 11th July 2018 at 10:35.
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Old 15th July 2018, 13:22   #13
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Default Re: Will Jeep India launch a Thar competitor?

We all respect Maruti's service and parts, its selling of relatively low cost dependable quality vehicles. But we need not necessarily extend our respect to their marketing strategy. They make obvious mistakes in marketing. E.G. they have four cars, maybe five, all competing against each other. Dzire, Brezza, S-Cross, Baleno...and maybe Ciaz in that group as well.

In addition, their one generalist vehicle which would have taken market share from Thar, Duster and others was not launched in India in its fullness. I mean Brezza, which was designed and sold in Europe as an AWD vehicle in its inception and also with a bigger Diesel motor, I forget..1500-1600cc. As much as we respect Maruti vehicles, we need not assume that their marketing people really know what they are doing. You people keep trying to apply logic. Maruti seems to march to the beat of their own strange drummer as far as marketing is concerned. And now it seems they intend to hook up with Toyota. Maybe Toyota will straighten them out. Or, maybe not.

Last edited by DirtyDan : 15th July 2018 at 13:24.
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Old 15th July 2018, 15:41   #14
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Default Re: Will Jeep India launch a Thar competitor?

Maruti has been selling the Gypsy since early 80s, it's now I believe the oldest vehicle sold in the country and perhaps even the world.

I still wonder why Maruti didn't launch even the coil spring version of the Gypsy, which was sold in Japan albeit it the short wheelbase version, they also have air conditioner elsewhere but not in India.
Even adding a coil spring and AC from the factory would have made it a Thar competitor if you take out the diesel vs petrol factor.

Was it the Indian army that didn't want the coil spring may be due to higher load capability of leaf spring ?
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Old 16th July 2018, 16:41   #15
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Default Re: Will Jeep India launch a Thar competitor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by aim120 View Post
Was it the Indian army that didn't want the coil spring may be due to higher load capability of leaf spring ?

From what I have heard, so long as Maruti was selling to the Army, they could not make any changes to the vehicle being sold to the army.

For Maruti to bring in any changes to the Gypsy, it would have meant launching a new Vehicle for the civilian Market.
I would assume that considering the low sales volumes, this would have never been something that Maruti would have considered.


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