Next-gen Hindustan Ambassador rumours: We explain what’s going on

By Paarth Khatri

No one needs an introduction about the Hindustan Ambassador, it is a legend when it comes to India’s automobile industry. It stayed on sale for a very long time. Eventually, the manufacturer had to discontinue the Ambassador because new stricter emission norms were implemented and the sales were not strong. However, according to a report by The Times of India, Ambassador could return to the Indian market within the next 2 years.

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Right now the Groupe PSA owns Ambassador. They bought it for Rs. 80 Crores back in 2017. Since then there have been rumours that Peugeot will be resurrecting the Ambassador nameplate. However, it seems like the rumours finally can be true.

The report says that the joint venture of Hind Motor Financial Corporation of India or HMFCI and Peugeot have started working on the design and the engine of the Ambassador.

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The new model will be produced from the Chennai manufacturing plant of Hindustan Motors which currently falls under HMFCI. HMFCI, itself falls under CK Birla Group. Director of Hindustan Motors, Uttam Bose told Times of India that the “Mechanical and design work for the new engine has reached an advanced stage.”

Hindustan Motors, Chennai Plant was once used to manufacture Mitsubishi cars and the manufacturing facility located in Uttarpara was used to manufacture Ambassador cars. The last Ambassador to roll out from Hindustan Motors’ Uttarpara plant was in September 2014. The manufacturer was in huge debt, demand was very less and the sales were not good so the brand was sold to Groupe PSA.

Hindustan Motors was established even before independence in Gujrat’s Port called Okha. In 1948, operations were moved to West Bengal’s Uttarapura where the production of the iconic Ambassador begin. The Ambassador was based on the Morris Oxford Series 3 which is a British car. The Ambassador was the best selling car in India for three decades. Till mid 90’s Ambassador was a status symbol but then the sales started to decrease as other vehicles came into the market. In the 1980s the sales were around 20,000 units per and it fell further to 2,000 units in 2014.

The Uttarapara plant is the oldest manufacturing plant in India and is the second oldest in Asia after Japan’s Toyota. It is based around 20 km away from the city. An MoU has been signed between Hindustan Motors an European company which is currently unknown. The plant will now be used for manufacturing two-wheelers and then eventually four-wheelers.

Bose said, “At that time, the number of employees was 2,300, which has now come down to 300. We have reduced our accumulated losses by selling land parcels to the Hiranandani Group as well. Initially, we were talking to some Chinese EV firms, but then we decided to go for a European company. The company we have chosen has sound technology.” HM would be offering land and some funds and the European manufacturer would provide technology and some funds. It is estimated that HM would be investing 600 Crores into the project.

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