Force Motors which is largely known for its commercial vehicles forayed in the passenger vehicle division with the Force One, launched in late 2011 and more lately with the New Gurkha that debuted at commercial auto expo at Delhi in Feb 2013. This is their second vehicle in the personal vehicle division. The Automotive India was invited by Force Motors for a quick off road drive at Force Motors plant in Akurdi. Therefore, this thread is going to cover the off-road drive arranged exclusively for us. We look forward to a further detailed test drive review once we have the vehicle tested in real world conditions.
History of Force Motors
Established in 1958 as Firodia Tempo out of small manufacturing unit in Mumbai neighborhood Goregaon - the first product was the Hanseat. The Hanseat three-wheeler in collaboration with German Vidal and Sohn Tempo Werke was a 3 wheeler monster (looking) powered by 2 cylinder 400cc petrol engine with an output of 15 PS. You will still find it doing duty in nearby central suburbs of Mumbai or rural regions in Bihar, Chattisgarh etc. However, their first major success was the Matador tempo in the 60s / 70s, that was too common on the Indian roads then. This eventually phased out to the even more successful Tempo Traveller which currently is the company's mainstay in the monocoque form.
In the interim they also launched the Minidor and Trax range (and other commercial vehicles including the Balwan / Orchard tractors) of vehicles and forged an alliance with MAN trucks (which was later dissolved in 2012). More or less, commercial vehicles were the mainstay for Force motors humble India operations. Force One was the first passenger segment vehicle. Backed by Mercedes engines and licensing, Force had developed a reputation for rugged reliable vehicles. We are told Force One still does average 3 digit sales numbers per month, it is still not bad considering what they are up against.
Force Gurkha derived from the legendary Mercedes G-Wagen happened out of a German military order. This vehicle was also positioned to the Indian Armed forces then. Back then some 300 odd units were exported to Germany and some to Africa, while about 40-45 odd units got sold in India. However it was this 40 odd units which gave the Gurkha the cult status it enjoys amidst off-roaders. Ask an average Indian about the Gurkha and he will be clueless, ask an offroader about the Gurkha and he will have one word for it - R.E.S.P.E.C.T.! Come 2013 and we have here a relaunched Force Gurkha mainly because of the demand from the off-roaders and odd export orders which kept the production ad-hoc. Powered by a proven OM616 derived 2.6 litre engine Force launched the Gurkha as the world's first extreme off roader vehicle (E.O.V) with a tag line "Built for War".
Force calls it Gurkha 4x4x4 - 4 Wheel drive, 4 Terrains and 4 Seasons.