Friday, December 29, 2006

Maruti Gypsy : RIP

Brand : Gypsy
Company: Maruti Suzuki

Brand Count : 182


Gypsy was one of India's first sports utility vehicles. The vehicle created a breakaway category of SUV offroader from the existing jeep category which was dominated by Mahindra. Born in 1985, the brand was considered as an aspirational one by many young at hearts.The brand was positioned on the basis of its ruggedness. The brand was promoted as a pure offroader. The ads used to say that Gypsy could even climb trees. The positioning was reinforced by the success of the brand in rally and offroad events. Maruti also promoted such events to boost the brand as the ultimate offroader. The brand had the tagline of " There is a Gypsy in Everyone".

But the brand failed to capitalise on the first mover advantage although it is still considered to be one of the sportiest looking SUV in the Indian market. The brand is now confined to certain niche markets like Police and Army vehicle segments.
Gypsy was the rebadged version of Suzuki Jimny. Although Jimny is still surviving, Gypsy is in the last stage of its product life cycle. The brand which pioneered the offroader category sadly is dying when the SUV category has started growing. The brand failed because of the apathy of the company in investing in the brand. The product had inherent problem that created negative word of mouth and the company didn't cared to look at the negatives of the brand.
Gypsy although considered as a tough vehicle lacked many important attributes valued by a customer. The driving quality and the mileage was awful. The product was priced at a ridiculous premium which was not justified interms of the delivery of value.
The brand was priced at around Rs 5 lakh which is comparable with a entry level sedan.The product although looked excellent outside was a mess inside. The vehicle lacked space and comfort especially for the rear seat. It had all the qualities for an offroader but failed to understand that Indian consumers use offroaders on roads ( cities).The mileage was awful and that ensured that only those who fall head over heals over the looks only will buy this brand . Since MUL at that time was in the public sector, the brand was sold to Police and army. For the ordinary consumers, the brand did not made any sense.
Gypsy also did not change itself in tune with the changing industry requirements. The vehicle initially was severely underpowered for an offroader. The company enhanced the power from 975cc to 1300 cc only after 11 years. Gypsy King was launched in 1996 sported the more powerful Esteem engine but was priced steeply.
The last four years has shown that SUV category is growing very fast fuelled by the success of the likes of Mahindra Scorpio. Most of the global bigwigs in the SUV segment is now there in India. Suzuki also has launched its brand Grand Vitara in this segment. But in the current scheme of things, Gypsy was sadly not in the picture.

Compare the picture of the Suzuki Jimny (given in the blog) and Gypsy and see the difference. Had this brand changed its looks and feel in tune with the emerging category requirements, Gypsy could have been a major brand. But Alas.... the brand's fate is to be cited as an example of Marketing Myopia or is it Marketing Laziness.

Source:marutigypsy.com,wikipedia

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