For more than two decades, the legendary 4×4 Maruti Suzuki Gypsy has served in the Indian Army. The military ordered the SUV in several batches, with the last one arriving in 2020. To replace Gypsy, the army is looking to purchase a new 4×4, soft top SUV. The Defence Acquisition Council, chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, approved the proposal to replace 35,000 Gypsy vehicles with new GS (General Service) 4×4 light vehicles.
Maruti Suzuki continued to supply the SUV to the Army until 2020, long after the civilian version was stopped due to new pollution and safety restrictions, due to high demand and recurrent requests from armed sources. In the Indian army, a Gypsy can expect to serve for about 15 years. As a result, the replacement will be gradual and last several years.
However, the question of whatever vehicle can replace the Gypsy in the army remains unanswered. Previously, Indian carmakers such as Mahindra and Tata competed for the Army’s contract for their different models. Tata Motors signed a deal to provide over 3,000 Tata Safari Storme SUVs in 2017. The GS800 (General Services 800) category SUVs are utilised for transportation by high army officers.
Simultaneously, Mahindra competed against Tata Motors for the order in 2017 with the Mahindra Scorpio, putting both cars through rigorous testing to determine which was best suited for the army’s needs. The companies will compete again because the Army is looking for new soft-top 4×4 automobiles for tough terrains.
The needs will be put out to tender soon. However, because manufacture of the Tata Safari Storme ceased in 2019, it is unclear whether it will be able to compete for the contract.