Of Gypsy and XUV500: Is rabbit safe where cheetah prowls?


Maruti Suzuki India may have taken pride in its 'Gypsy' model with defence forces as its main customers but Mahindra & Mahindra Vice-Chairman and MD Anand Mahindra has likened it to a rabbit compared to the company's cheetah-inspired 'XUV500'.

"Is it safe to let rabbits roam where cheetahs prowl," Mahindra tweeted in response from one of his followers, who asked if he could participate in Mahindra Great Escape with his Maruti Gypsy.

Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) spokesperson declined to comment.

Mahindra Great Escape is a non-competitive off-road rally that began in 1996, where owners of Mahindra's sport utility vehicles test their vehicles on challenging routes in different parts of India.

Mahindra, however, maintained that his likening of Gypsy to a rabbit was in good humour when another follower pointed out to him that his tweets "are always dignified and graceful but the last one seemed a little cocky unless it was in good humor".

"Humorous answer to a humorous jibe. I'm sure you wouldn't prefer me to be humourless," Mahindra responded.

Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) is on a high after the success of its XUV500, which has got good response from customers.

After launching the vehicle, the design for which was inspired by cheetah, on September 29 last year, the company had temporarily suspended new bookings in October as four months production of over 8,000 units was sold out within just 10 days. The vehicle was available only in five cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, and Pune then.

In the second phase, M&M re-opened bookings for a limited period of 10 days from January 25 this year in 19 cities in India and had received over 25,000 applications but only 7,200 were selected through a lottery.

In June, the company had opened bookings for the XUV500 across India following ramping up of output to 4,000 units per month.

Powered by a 2.2-litre diesel engine, the XUV500 has a six-speed transmission and is also available in a four-wheel drive variant.

The Gypsy, on the other hand was launched in December 1985 with a 1,000 cc engine. It is one of the pioneering SUV's in India. MSI had upgraded it in November 1996 with a bigger engine capacity of 1,300 cc and rechristened it as Gypsy King.

Since launch, the company has sold an estimated 1.43 lakh units of Gypsy. It has found patronage from the country's defence forces, which are now the main customers of the model.