This April, Suzuki Jimny completes 50 years of production. The little SUV has enjoyed brilliant success over the years, and the demand for it in the international market is still strong, even after all these years.
Suzuki Jimny has earned itself a reputation internationally, and quite a good one at that. It is regarded as one of the most capable off-road vehicle ever built, despite being a budget car with a relatively tiny engine.
Suzuki Jimny Celebrates 50 Years In Production | A Brief History Of This Humble Off-Roader (Hindi)
In 1968, Suzuki bought a small local Japanese automaker called Hope Motor Company, which specialised in off-road four-wheel-drive cars. The first Suzuki-branded 4WD car to be introduced was called the ‘LJ10’ (Light Jeep 10) in 1970. In April 1970, the Suzuki updated the car with a new design and a new name- Jimny. This was followed by LJ20 in 1972 and LJ50 in 1975. The first-gen model remained in production till 1981.
There have been four generations of the Suzuki Jimny till date, the latest one being introduced in 2018. While most cars either lose their original essence or are transformed unrecognisably during their production run, the Jimny manages to stay surprisingly true to its roots, even after five decades. The car is still a small, lightweight, ladder-frame SUV with a small engine and an affordable price tag that can manage to take some serious beating off the road. It is one of the few modern cars to still offer a recirculating ball mechanism for the steering system.
Suzuki Jimny has been an extremely capable off-roader throughout its four generations of existence
India is no stranger to the Jimny. Some readers might be aware that the second generation model was brought to India as the Maruti Gypsy in 1985. The car was originally introduced with a 1.0-litre engine and part-time four-wheel-drive system. It was soon replaced by a 1.3-litre engine and a full-time four-wheel-drive system. The Gypsy was extremely popular with law enforcement and the army.
Even when the second generation of the Jimny was replaced internationally by the third generation model in 1998, the second-gen car continued as the Maruti Gypsy in India. It was finally discontinued in March 2019. Suzuki had shown no interest in introducing a newer model of the Gypsy (or Jimny) in India for a long time but the Japanese carmaker showcased the fourth-gen Jimny at the Auto Expo 2020 in February this year. After an overwhelmingly positive response, the company has decided to bring the fourth-generation Jimny to India, probably as the new Maruti Gypsy. It's rumoured that the India-spec fourth-gen Jimny will be not completely like the model sold internationally. The local version will have a 5-door layout and a longer wheelbase. This alteration should give it a better shot at cracking the mini SUV market in the country.