After the announcement of the upcoming crash test norms due to be enforced nation-wide in October 2019, the future of the Force Gurkha came into doubt. The old-school SUV would need a massive overhaul – and given its lukewarm market response, reinvestment in it was unclear.
We can now confirm, however, that Force Motors will be doing everything necessary to prevent the model from succumbing to future challenges. Prasan Firodia, Managing Director, Force Motors on the sidelines of an event in Mumbai told Autocar, “We are working on all the necessary modifications required in the body structure of the Gurkha, in order to make it future-ready.”
This would mean that the Gurkha would be equipped with at least airbags, ABS and rear parking sensors – which are now compulsory to meet the upcoming Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Program (BNVSAP).
The upcoming BS-VI emission norm is another concern limiting the prospect of the Gurkha. Speaking on the matter, Firodia said, “We have invested Rs 250 crore on development of BS-VI-compliant diesel engines which are on the test-bed, now.” The investment will go towards BS-VI engines to power the updated Gurkha, as well as the carmaker’s other vehicles.
Interestingly, Force Motors already manufactures the BS-VI-complaint OM656 diesel engines for Mercedes-Benz. This engine debuted in the recently launched S-class 350D, which also claimed to be India’s first ‘made-in-India’ BS-VI vehicle.
At present, the Gurkha is sold through 25 Force Motors’ dealerships, only. Firodia also informed us that in the future, the company will also use its commercial vehicle dealership to retail its staunch off-roader in order to take on its core competitor – the Mahindra Thar.
Also read: 2018 Force Gurkha review, test drive