The long-awaited Maruti Suzuki Jimny is set to go on sale in India on June 7. The model will be launched with a 1.5-litre K15B petrol engine and offer both a 5-speed manual and a 4-speed automatic gearbox. The Jimny will be equipped with Suzuki’s AllGrip Pro four-wheel drive system across all variants. Interestingly, there are no plans to introduce a lower-priced two-wheel-drive version.
Sources suggest Suzuki wanted to maintain the Jimny’s true off-road legacy, so a two-wheel-drive version was not considered. The Jimny nameplate has been associated with off-road capability since its introduction in Japan in 1970. Even the Gypsy, launched in India in the 1980s, never received a 4×2 system throughout its lifecycle.
The current-generation Jimny, available as a 3-door model internationally, has gained popularity in off-road circles worldwide. Lengthening the Jimny to a 5-door version for the Indian market was an exercise in optimization to retain its off-road capability. The India-spec Jimny 5-door wheelbase of 2,550mm, 300mm longer than the international 3-door model.
Launching a lower-priced two-wheel-drive version has proven successful for Mahindra with their Thar model. The Thar 4×2 petrol-automatic variant is priced Rs 2.3 lakh lower than its 4×4 counterpart, and the Thar diesel-manual 4×2 range starts at an enticing price of Rs 10.55 lakh.
This strategy has expanded Thar’s customer base, attracting buyers drawn to the off-roader’s image but not necessarily requiring its off-road capabilities. The popularity of the Thar is evident from its 17-month waiting period, and recently, Mahindra celebrated delivering its 100,000th Thar.
It will be interesting to see how the pricing of the Jimny compares to other Maruti SUVs and its off-road rivals like the Mahindra Thar and Force Gurkha. The market response to Jimny’s pricing and positioning in India remains to be seen.