Hindustan Motors, which was India’s largest car manufacturer once, has now sold its iconic brand Ambassador to the French auto giant Peugeot for Rs 80 crore. This news comes as a disappointment to millions of Indians who have special love for the Amby. Commenting on the agreement, Hindustan Motors said, “Hindustan Motors has executed an agreement with Peugeot SA for the sale of the Ambassador brand, including the trademarks, for a consideration of Rs 80 crore.”
Since Peugeot is planning to make an Indian return, this move will certainly help the carmaker begin establishing its root here. In a partnership with CK Birla Group, the French-based carmaker will set up its manufacturing facility for vehicle assembly and powertrains in Tamil Nadu. Initially, this plant will produced about 1 lakh vehicles on annual basis. The company will make more investment on this long-term plan, but at a later stage. Peugeot will begin selling its cars in India from 2020.
In 1994, Peugeot had partnered with Premier Automobiles Ltd in India. The Peugeot 309 was the first product from the French carmaker in India that registered around 10,000 units within 12 months of its arrival. However, the increasing losses and labour unrest made Peugeot curtail its Indian arm by 1997.
If we take a glimpse on the iconic voyage of the Hindustan Ambassador, the car has served elites, bureaucrats and politicians in its heyday. Designed on the Morris Oxford Series III model, the Amby first went into production in 1958 at Hindustan Motors India’s Uttarpara plant near Kolkata. Initially, the car was introduced with a 1476cc petro engine, which was later replaced by a 1489cc BMC B-series petrol powertrain. It saw a few upgrades during its lifespan. Also Read: Cars that Changed India
However, the Hindustan Ambassador begun losing its charm in the mid 1980’s when Maruti Suzuki 800 came into the market. Things further got worst due to falling demand and lack of funds. On 25th May 2014, Hindustan Motors suspended the production of the nation’s icon – Amby – in India. Though, the car still remains popular among politicians, tourists and taxi drivers.