Hidustan Motors took birth a little before our country itself and the Ambassador was the perfect symbol for a country self-sufficient, a country ready to go out in the world on its own. A day before our country swears in the next Prime-minister to march on towards what looks to be a promising future, sadly from this day hence India will be without its trusted aide, the Ambassador. Hindustan Motors Ambassador phased out from production w.e.f 25th May 2014. It makes sense for the Indian makers as sales have dipped drastically over the last couple of decades and with sales of Ambassador taxi’s banned after BS IV emission standards were rolled out in 11 Indian cities in April 2011. The last outlet for the Iconic automobile was also shut down.
Hindustan Motors, India’s oldest car maker, shut down its factory on Saturday at Uttarpara in West Bengal state, where it has been making the Ambassador – based on Britain’s long-defunct Morris Oxford since 1957. Sales since then have dropped from 24,000 cars a year in the 1980s to less than 6,000 in the 2000s, according to the Times of India on Sunday, which predicted the end of the road for the “grand old lady” or “Amby”. The HM official said Ambassador present production rate is as low as churning out just five cars a day. The company informed the Bombay Stock Exchange in a letter on Saturday, citing “very low productivity, growing indiscipline, critical shortage of funds, lack of demand for its core product … and large accumulation of liabilities”.
While losing its battle against the new adversaries, the Indian company did try its bit by introducing a new model in the Contessa, but the long bonneted limo style car was an antithesis of the compact and frugal machines offered by the Japanese. It didn’t quite work out. Mild spinoffs of the Ambassador platform followed, complying with stricter emission norms, spunkier engine and a few more features, but nothing quite worked.More recently, we heard some buzz about the company planning a sub four meter version of its car priced at a lower point. A few test specimens of the car were also found doing the rounds on the Indian roads, but the announcement of suspension of work proves that nothing material came out of it. Hardly any profits and a high workforce ensured that this wasn’t a business worth pursuing anymore.HM is now focusing on its alliance with Mitsubishi and Isuzu and producing cars for the Japanese car makers at its Chennai plant. While Mitsubishi by itself isn’t doing too well either, Isuzu volumes may pick up over a period of time.
The Ambassador was an Old-School vehicle which saw very little changes in its lifetime which ultimately led to its demise, As per Dilip Chhabria, who had once shown the world what the Ambassador of the future could look like via his Amberoid concept car, says “Had HM continued to evolve the Amby over the past 60 years without changing the DNA, it would have been the Rolls Royce of India. It can still turn the clock around and become a best-seller in a new avatar that exudes contemporariness and quality,” reveals Times of India. But now at the end on the road, let us celebrate the amazing journey that the Ambassador had for our roads certainly wont be the same without our Homegrown King of the road.