Inflation is one thing which has always remained on an uptick in the years passed by and is continuing to be on a rise even today, even though the rise is only gradual. It’s hard to believe that the amounts we used to pay for a new car in the bygone years now account only for a component of a new car. And in one of his recent tweets, Anand Mahindra, the chairman of Mahindra and Mahindra, gave us a throwback example of how car prices have risen drastically in the years flown by.
This has plunged me into some ‘Sunday reminiscing.’ I was in JJ college at that time. Used to go by bus, but my mother occasionally allowed me to drive her blue Fiat. Even I can hardly believe this is what it cost at that time! pic.twitter.com/jtppIXvFtI
— anand mahindra (@anandmahindra) January 29, 2023
Anand Mahindra recently shared a newspaper cutting of an article dating back to January 25, 1972, which reports the ‘minute’ price hikes received by the-then new cars in the Indian market. The article reports how the prime carmakers of the ‘70s like Hindustan Motors, Fiat and Standard, hiked the prices of their popular cars like the Ambassador, Padmini and 2000 by triple-digit figures.
Also read: Meet Jamie Robinson, the British man who drives Hindustan Ambassador taxi in Australia
Anand Mahindra talked about his mother’s Fiat
In his tweet, Anand Mahindra explains how he used to occasionally drive his mother’s blue-coloured Fiat car while commuting from his home to his college. Even he expressed his amusement by saying how ‘low’ the car costs were in those days. The article reported that while the Hindustan Ambassador received a price hike of Rs 160, the Fiat 1100D got a price hike of Rs 300. Along with them, even Standard introduced a price increase of Rs 600, which was considered to be steep back in those days.
The amusement is even higher when you consider the prices of these cars in those days. One had to pay Rs 16,946 for a new Hindustan Ambassador and Rs 15,946 for a new Fiat 1100D. These prices of new cars just in mere thousands might sound paltry in today’s era when the same amount now fetches a new bicycle or only a couple of new car tyres. However, back in those days, these prices were considered to be premium and high, making these cars affordable only for the upper and elite section of people.
While Hindustan Motors and Fiat used to rule the car market of India with their premium sedans affordable only for the elite, the dynamics changed when Maruti Udyog Limited entered the market with the Maruti 800 compact hatchback. With its compact dimensions, frugal and reliable mechanicals and low price tag, the Maruti 800 paved a new path for the Indian car market, which is a drastically different ball game today compared to what it was back then.