The era of the Kidnappers van comes to an end. Maruti has officially signalled that Omni will be discontinued in 2020. This is owing to the stringent safety measure that kicks in the form of Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment program. This requires crumple zones and other safety measures on vehicles, and Omni’s flat front cannot be accomodate that.
When discontinued, Omni will have completed 36 years of continuous production since launched in 1984. From then on the basic design, the mechanicals and the engine have remained the same. A facelift in 1998 saw the round headlamps being replaced by rectangular one giving a wider stance. A second facelift in 2005 saw it face being tweaked a little. All this while, the 796cc engine as well as the 4 speed gear box remained. It became available in Petrol, Petrol+LPG and CNG version as with 5 seater and 8 seater layout. The vehicle was also available in a high roof and cargo variant and it was widely customised as Ambulances and school vans
The engine churned out 39 Bhp and 59 Nm of torque and it was fair enough for it leap. Interestingly unlike typical passenger cars in India, Omni is a rear wheel drive vehicle. The van was highly reliable and easy to maintain, testimony is its long standing production and consistent sales figures without much R&D spending since launch. It has attained some notoriety as it was favorite among kidnappers due to its sliding doors and agility and was widely popularised that way in the movies.