Hindustan Ambassador car is the most celebrated and iconic car of India and is all the longest ever manufactured car in India. Hindustan Motors owned Ambassador was in production in India from 1958 to 2014 and did see many improvements and changes over its lifetime. Be it a politician or a celebrity, everyone in 1960’s and 1970’s desired to own one. Ambassador was a strong built sturdy car with good driving stance and is the flag bearer for India in the world of automobiles. Much before PM Modi’s make-in-India campaign kicked in, Hindustan Motors Ambassador was being built in India. The car was based on the Morris Oxford series III model made by Morris Motors between 1956-1959 in Oxford, UK.
The rich legacy of Ambassador failed to live up once the global companies like Suzuki, Hyundai started to come to India. The Ambassador did not update itself with time. Since the cars’ inception in 1958, India has seen seven generations Ambassador. the 1st Ambassador was called Mark-1 and the last generation of BS-IV compliant engine was called Ambassador Encore. Finally, in 2014, curtains Hindustan Motors drew down the curtains on the Ambassador with sales all time low.
Since 1958, there have been seven generations of the Ambassador. While the first was called the Mark-1, the 7th-generation Ambassador, which complied with BS-IV engine standards, was called the Encore.
Since then Hindustan Motors plant has been utilised by the likes of Japanese automakers like Isuzu Motors and Mitsubishi and now Hindustan Motors’ owners C K Birla has signed a joint venture with French Automaker PSA Group that owns famous car brands like Peugeot, Citroen and DS Brands. The 50:50 joint venture between C K Birla Group and PSA Groupe has accelerated its plan to start operations in India and has invested Rs 700 crore to set up its base in India. Additionally, Peugeot’s parent company has also acquired the brand Ambassador for Rs 80 crore in February 2017 indicating the big revival of the iconic Ambassador car in India.
Two months back in November 2017, PSA and C.K Birla group held a ground-breaking ceremony in Hosur, Tamil Nadu for its powertrain plant that will have an initial manufacturing capacity of about 200,000 units every year. The joint venture between PSA Group and CK Birla has confirmed that the plant will receive incremental investment to support a progressive ramp-up of the long-term project. The Hosur plant is likely to be operational by early 2019 and will manufacture gearboxes and engines and will cater to both India The manufacturing capacity for powertrains will cater to both India and export markets.
PSA Group’s big India bet:
This is not the first time the French automaker is trying to enter India. In fact, this is the third time the company has announced its India plans with the hope to be successful one especially with a brand like Ambassador already with them. In the early 90s the company withdrew from its partnership with Premier Automobiles just after launching one car in India, later in 2011 PSA Group had acquired land in Gujarat to set up a plant but as Europe’s financial crises began the company had to delay coming to India once again.
Expect the first car as a result of this joint venture to be rolled out in 2020. Sources suggest that the first product might be a hatchback that will rival the Maruti Suzuki Swift and Hyundai i20 and will also be built for the export products. These cars will be manufactured from the Hindustan Motors’ plant in Chennai. Also, expect a mid-size sedan that will rival Honda City and a compact SUV that should either take on the likes of Renault Duster or Hyundai Creta.
Sources and Reports also suggest that the Ambassador brand name might be used in an array of products but we strongly believe that a sedan with Ambassador branding is definitely on cards and it will be exciting to see what design language does it adapt. The new cars and SUVs coming to India will make its market debut phase wise and we expect the speculation around Ambassador to end by end of 2018.
Earlier a PSA spokesman was quoted saying: “You can imagine us adding this name (Ambassador) for a brand for PSA, which is not so famous in India as the Ambassador is.” Officially, for many reasons the company has not confirmed its product strategy and its plan to revive the ‘Ambassador’ brand. But a huge investment in acquiring the name in itself suggests that there is something big in making and product or even a brand around Ambassador might just do wonders for both PSA and C K Birla Group.
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