Is The Mahindra Thar-rivalling Jimny Coming To India?
Maruti’s playing the waiting game with the Jimny, so we decided to probe into the subject
Maruti Suzuki got the rumour mills running at the 2020 Auto Expo, showcasing the Jimny on the first day following the media days. The sentiment at that time was the Jimmy would be coming to India, albeit in a 5-door layout instead of the 3-door version sold globally and also exhibited at the expo. Fast forward a year, and there has been no final word from Maruti on the matter yet.
Shashank Srivastava, Executive Director of Marketing and Sales, Maruti Suzuki, recently revealed that the company was evaluating the feasibility of launching the Jimny here. So, a year since the 2020 Auto Expo, and India’s largest carmaker is still undecided on whether it should launch the Jimny in India.
In the meantime, the Jimny has already been spied on the streets, with Maruti India having even begun production of this tiny off-roader. However, the model spied was a 3-door one (showcased at the 2020 Auto Expo) and would only be used as exports. So that leaves us with the question: what exactly is the Jimny's future in India? While we cannot be sure, this is how we believe things are poised as of now:
Yes, it will come to India in the near future.
Maruti’s initial revealing of the Jimny garnered positive responses at the 2020 Auto Expo. The new Mahindra Thar's recent arrival has further confirmed that Indian buyers don’t mind a slightly utilitarian offering, as long as it is a lifestyle vehicle (or at least affords the promise of being one). The Jimny does just that. Though relatively tiny in size, it has a boxy, muscular design akin to the Mahindra Thar.
Maruti is already manufacturing the Jimny in India, though only to be used for export. So, it shouldn’t be much of a challenge -- neither logistically nor financially -- for India’s largest carmaker to sell the Jimny here.
Or will it?
While there is hope (as you can see from what’s stated above), there are a few worrying signs too. For starters, Maruti wants to bring a 5-door version of the Jimny to India, which doesn’t exist as of now. We haven’t even seen spy shots of it yet, which means even if Maruti is working on it, it will take a couple of years at the least before the Jimny arrives in Indian showrooms.
Then there is the whole pricing issue. Making a 5-door Jimny will certainly cost more. For reference, the Mahindra Thar, which is a three-door SUV but a little larger than the current Jimny, is priced between Rs 12.10 lakh and Rs 14.15 lakh (both ex-showroom) in India. And the three-door Jimny starts at an equivalent of almost Rs 14 lakh in the UAE. This tells us the five-door Jimny could be a pricey affair. It could be a possible issue, considering the domestic market is still cost-sensitive. And, a higher price tag could simply lead Maruti to shelf the project, citing poor demand.
Lastly, even if Maruti is working on bringing the Jimny to India, the current model would be due for a facelift by the time it gets here. Now, while a manufacturer like Kia might get away with offering an older model (while the new one has been revealed in global markets), a move like this could mean Maruti facing backlash, considering India is the biggest market for Suzuki when it comes to passenger vehicles.
The fate of the Maruti Jimny hangs in the balance; while there is a strong case for Maruti to offer it in India, there are a few well-defined challenges as well. And that was the exact sentiment echoed by Maruti Suzuki in the recent investor call.
If you were hoping for the Jimny to be your first car, we suggest you move on and look at other offerings in the market. Otherwise, you might have to wait it out for at least six months to a year. The whether-it-will-come-to-India-or-not haze should clear out by then.
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