Hindustan Motors has a long history in India, starting with the Morris Oxford in 1942. It is the country’s pioneer automobile manufacturer established just before independence under the flagship of C. K. Birla.
Hindustan has made significant contributions to the Indian automotive industry over the years with the equipped state-of-the-art technology and innovations. It has produced many cars, multi-utility vehicles, and RTVs in the country. The company also participates in the production of high-end luxury cars and SUVs in collaboration with Mitsubishi Motors.
With a commitment to quality, environmental care, safety, and customer-oriented solutions, Hindustan Motors has enjoyed a long and successful journey in the Indian car industry.
Hindustan Motors commenced its first operations in a small facility in Okha near Gujarat. This plant was further shifted to Uttarpara in West Bengal, where the company commenced the production of Landmaster, an Indian-built version of Morris Oxford.
In the same plant at Uttarpara, the company also started the production of Ambassador, designed and manufactured solely on the terms and conditions of Hindustan. Ambassador was considered to be the mainstay of Hindustan's production which proved to enter the new millennium with a big bang.
The Hindustan Ambassador
or ‘Amby’ as has carved an enviable niche on the Indian car platform. The introduction of Amby brought a transcended the whole nation with its sheer ubiquity in cities and towns along with its multi-purpose use.
Since its inception 1948, the car has been undergoing a continuous series of changes, adapting to the needs and aspirations of the customers. It is believed that almost every year the company is upgrading the features and technicalities of the car to maintain the tag of ‘motoring icon’ in the country.
Though it was a time-tested and sturdy indianized car, perfect to ply Indian roads, it faced a tough time when the Indian Government introduced an initiative to give better transportation solution to big cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Madras, and Kolkata. With this initiative, government made a smart move in collaboration with Suzuki in Japan and founded Maruti Udyog, a new Indian car manufacturer.
This move obviously frightened Hindustan Motors which became more firm with a small revolution in the car industry brought by the introduction of Maruti 800. Though this car was small, it was appreciated and liked by a huge mass of Indian car buyers. The small car changed the direction of the winds flowing with the Amby. Maruti not only introduced a new car
, it also paved way for car manufacturers like Ford, Hyundai and Honda.
By the late 1980s, Hindustan Motors became more worried about its strong grip in the country. In response to the worries and increasing competition, the company started exporting its car to far-flung countries like Bangladesh, Japan, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Furthermore, the car was also exported to Dubai as a delivery car.
Gradually, with the advent of advanced and innovative technology, the good great Ambassador went off the road except in few cities where the car is still prevalent. Kolkata is one of those cities where the roads have enough numbers of the Hindustan’s iconic car.
Even though it had lost its foothold in the Indian market, it was successful in appealing nostalgic people and expatriate Indians who desired to drive an elegant piece of an Indian car. The energetic export drive brought the Ambassador back to its roots in 1991.
Hindustan exported to UK a completely new form of Ambassador. Powered by a 1.8 litre engine and delivering a top speed of 90 mph, the car made an incredible appearance in the export market. The Ambassador was then renamed the ‘Mark 10’ with high quality interiors, English weather resistant paint, and a catalytic converter in compliance to the European emission norms.
Moss's Notting Hill-based minicab company, Karma Kabs introduced its fleet of Ambassador with an individually-themed makeover garlanded with silk and flowers. In addition, smell of incense and the rhythms of Hindi music also create an awesome ambience.
Gradually, it re-entered the Indian market with an authentic looking leather interior, even more comfortable seating, and brilliant styling. The Ambassador's popularity with taxi service providers and government departments remains testament to the robust design and reliability of the car. Though several changes entered the Amby including modern touches and fresh interiors, the overall robustness of the car was maintained. The car was also introduced with new and alternative engine technology.
Further to save the foothold of Hindustan, the company also started a new partnership with Mitsubishi Motors to produce and market Lancers for the Indian market. This venture later flourished with better opportunities comprising the production and sale of Lancers, Galants and Pajeros (Shoguns) for Mitsubishi.
Way back to the history, Hindustan Motors is still shining in the Indian car industry.