It has come to light that the Hindustan Motors have decided to suspend the manufacturing of its Ambassador cars in the Indian market. Ambassador was the first car to be manufactured in India. It has been based on Morris Motors’ Morris Oxford series. Since its debut in 1958 to the present year, the car has come so far and is still the most loved car in the nation. Before Maruti’s flagship model Maruti 800 came into the Indian market, it was Ambassador that enjoyed monopoly. People had to wait for more than a year just to get a new Ambassador booked for delivery.
There was a time when the company had more than 70% market share in India but over time it has lost its grip and the market share was reduced to 0.12% in 2014. Maruti 800’s growing popularity followed by liberalization in the 1990s that opened the market for so many new automakers, Ambassador has to fight to maintain its waning popularity and position. Perhaps Hindustan Motors should have paid attention to the competition and should have tried to innovate. But no significant changes were introduced in the car for a very long time.
Coupled with low fuel-efficiency and high maintenance, Ambassador’s popularity began to spiral down. The launch of new cars from various makers featuring awesome, new technology further accelerated the process. Ambassador could not find a segment to fit itself in. It went from being a status symbol to a taxi and eventually neither of the two.
Recently Top Gear, a popular BBC show, rated Ambassador as the best taxi in the world. But it did little to revive the car’s plight. When the Ambassador failed to capitalize and redeem itself, the Hindustan Motors decided to suspend its production. Though the Ambassador may not have been performing well in the market, it will remain a very special car for every Indian.
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