We hope that you’re all familiar with India’s most iconic car brand Ambassador, which was recognized as the symbol of power and respect at one point in time. But, automaker Hindustan Motor, who introduced this iconic car brand back in 1954, has witnessed tanking sales figures. Thus, the company has today announced that it is handing over Ambassador to French automaker Peugeot S.A in a transaction valued at Rs 80 crore.
In a regulatory filing with the Bombay Stock Exchange, the company 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.
Though we still see Ambassador cars running in some cities but manufacturing for the same ended back in 2013. The company had offered voluntary retirement scheme (VRS) to its permanent employees while shutting down the plant. And the proceeds from this sale will be used to clear dues of employees and lenders.
This delightful development in the automotive industry comes on the heels of a partnership between Peugeot and C.K Birla Group (owner of Hindustan Motors) inked last month. The French automaker is making yet another effort to re-enter the Indian market and has earmarked an initial €100 million (approx Rs 700 crore) investment to set up vehicle and power train manufacturing facilities in Tamil Nadu.
Though the French automaker hasn’t yet specified any concrete plans about what it plans to do with Ambassador in the future. But the said partnership will further be expanded upon by future joint venture agreements between the companies of the two groups. The future of the Ambassador brand now also lies under a blanket of darkness as Peugeot might skip the branding for their vehicle launches in India. It can also opt to retain the branding and bank upon its nostalgia (looking at you, Pokemon Go) to lure customers into buying their cars.
For those unaware, Kolkata-based Hindustan Motors is the oldest automaker operating in India. It introduced the Ambassador brand, that is well-known to every 60s or 70s kid, in 1954 as the Hindustan Landmaster. It was re-modelled and released as the Hindustan Ambassador Mark-1.
The company was once the largest car manufacturer in India, with over 75 percent marker share. But the entry and rapid increase in sales of Maruti Suzuki 800 in 1983 led to the downfall of Ambassador as a brand. Thus, manufacturing of Ambassador cars was curtailed and it has since been assembling Mitsubishi cars in the country.