Force Motors plans to revive the Gurkha on-off road SUV soon
One of the most capable on-off road SUVs that was sold in India as recently as 2010 was the Gurkha, from Force Motors. This low volume, built-to-order SUV was pulled off the market for reasons best known to Force Motors in early 2011. The Gurkha SUV, which is based on the legendary Mercedes Benz Gelande Wagen is a rugged vehicle that Force Motor builds in India, with the heart of the matter being the Daimler derived turbo diesel engine. While there was talk about the OM611 common rail turbo diesel engine making it to the Gurkha just before it was discontinued, that hasn’t materialized thus far.
Going forward though, the OM611 engine could indeed make it to the engine bay of the Gurkha, which is also expected to see a facelift, when it is relaunched in India. This 2.2 Liter turbocharged, intercooled, common rail diesel engine is used on the Force One SUV as well, and in that product, the engine produces a peak power of 140 Bhp and a peak torque of 320 Nm. This engine is mated to a five speed manual transmission. The same engine and transmission combination is expected to be used on the facelifted Gurkha as well, along with a 4 wheel drive layout, with the customary 4L ratio that off roaders come with.
The Force Gurkha, though highly capable, remains largely unknown to most SUV buyers given the lack of marketing efforts by Force Motors, which hitherto has focused on the commercial vehicle end of the business. However, the brand now has a new dedicated passenger vehicle division with the Force One SUV being the first product launched under this banner. This passenger vehicles division, which has its own chain of sales and service outlets is expected to spearhead sales of the facelifted Gurkha. Previously, the Gurkha was sold by Force Motors’ commercial vehicle dealerships, resulting in a customer experience much below par that a passenger car buyer has now come to expect in India.
Currently, the dedicated off roader market has just two other offerings; the Maruti Gypsy and the Mahindra Thar. While the Gypsy is made-to-order, the Mahindra Thar is available across India and is currently the market leader with decent sales given the niche that this vehicle operates in. The Force Gurkha, which offers much more than the Thar, in terms of being ready for both on and off road use, could be a big success, if Force motors prices it well and launches it with some nifty marketing to build the buzz around what promises to be one of the most capable off road vehicles in the country.