Tata Motors, giving arch rival Mahindra & Mahindra a grinding jolt, has clinched a deal of close to 3,200 vehicle with the Indian Army. The Army is modernizing its current fleet of SUVs with new and advanced range of SUVs. It has chosen Tata Safari Storme to replace the iconic Maruti Gypsy. It is being learnt that Mahindra's Scorpio was also a strong contender, but the Army gave preference to the Safari Storme. The competition actually kicked off around three years back in 2013, and the initial order of 3200 SUVs could increase 10 times in the coming time.
“The initial order is for 3,198 new SUVs but the total number is likely to go much beyond that. The army prefers a single model across its units and formations as it is easier on logistics,” an official involved in the process told ET Auto. Both Mahindra Scoprio & Tata Safari Storme are locally manufactured in India and went under a plethora of rigorous technical trials by the army, before the latter was finally selected. The Army tested both the vehicles in each and every weather condition: be it the high-altitude snow-bound regions or be it the deserts and marshy land. In addition, the financial deal offered by Tata Motors to the Army also worked in the company's favour as compared to Mahindra. The Army currently uses Gypsy SUV at the battalion level to transport troops and officers.
The Army has nearly 30,000 units of Maruti Gypsy in its fleet, and it would replace them gradually by the start of next year. The foremost reason seen behind Gypsy's replacement is learnt to be requirement of a SUV with contemporary safety features. Also, the need was felt for a diesel-powered vehicle, as it is easily available than gasoline, due to the Army's large fleet of trucks and heavy-duty vehicles. Once the officials from both parties sign on the dotted line, it would be the second substantial order for Tata this year as it had already bagged a Rs. 1300 Crore deal in January to supply high-mobility military trucks for the army. The 6x6 high-mobility vehicles can be used for various purposes – from transporting men and material to being the platform for multi-barrel rocket launchers and surface-to-air missile systems.
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