The number of ‘Indian’ automobile manufacturers is very less and can be counted on our fingers, and of these few Indian manufacturers, the one withe the most historic prominence is Hindustan Motors without any doubt. Hindustan Motors was founded way back in 1942, five years before India was considered an independent nation, and began producing the Hindustan Motors Ambassador in 1958. It was one of the first three car manufacturers of Indian origin, and began production operations in the town of Uttarpara, located in the state of West Bengal. The Ambassador was based on the Morris Minor, a car that was produced by the Morris motor company in Great Britain.
The Ambassador has been a legend of sorts in India and everyone from presidents, to common men have used this car or been in this car at least once in their lifetime. The Ambassador was considered a luxurious car at the time of its launch, but as time flew by, and as its competitors started improving their cars, the sales figures of the Hindustan Ambassador began to slow down. Despite slowing down sales, Hindustan Motors did not try to update the Ambassador and instead began to rely on Government patronage and taxi operators for sales and in turn for survival.
Throughout the 57 years of the ambassador’s existence, it has not been updated even once, and it only received minor updates like, redesigned bumpers and redesigned instrument clusters. This has now taken its toll on the company and Hindustan Motors has now officially suspended production of the Ambassador, in turn seizing all operations of the company. Hindustan Motors sold only 5 cars last month and it has been this way for the last couple of months and this, The dismal sales figures is the very reason cited by the company for the suspension of production.
Even though the reason cited is genuine, we still feel that Hindustan Motors could have dealt with the situation differently. The Ambassador was a cult icon and a legend. If they could survive 57 long years without providing the slightest of updates to it, they very well could have launched a completely new car with the same iconic design over it and continued production with the new car. Many automotive icons have, in the past, been resurrected and the manufacturers have got their cult icons out of trouble, like Volkswagen did with the beetle, Fiat did with the 500 and Mini did with the cooper. All these cars, even though modern, still sell on the stronghold of retro appearance and Hindustan motors too could have done something on similar lines. They did have plans of developing a Compact sedan version of the Ambassador, but never took it seriously.
We regret the demise of a legend, the first ‘Indian’ car, the Hindustan Motors Ambassador.
To read more about Hindustan Motors, Click here
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