Oh no, not the...Ambassador

indiafrank

Parkside, Australia

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EDITOR’S CHOICE CANDID PHOTO OF THE WEEK ENDING 22 FEBRUARY 2015, THE WORLD AS WE SEE IT OR AS WE MISSED IT
FEATURED IN THE WORLD AS WE SEE IT OR AS WE MISSED IT

The Ambassador is an icon of British colonialist and industrial India. These boys, in Tamil Nadu, India, love playing in their father’s car.

The Hindustan Ambassador was an automobile manufactured by Hindustan Motors of India.

It was in production from 1958 to 2014 with few improvements or changes and is based on the Morris Oxford III model, first made by the Morris Motors Limited at Cowley, Oxford in the United Kingdom from 1956 to 1959.

Modelled after the British Morris Oxford, the Ambassador was the first car to be made in India and was once a status symbol, but began losing its dominance in the mid-1980s when Maruti Suzuki introduced its low-priced 800 hatchback. It lost further cachet and market share when global automakers began setting up shop in India in the mid-1990s, offering models with contemporary designs and technology. The Ambassador has remained the choice of a dwindling share of bureaucrats and politicians, usually in white with a red beacon on top and a chauffeur at the wheel. It is also still in use as a taxi in some Indian cities.

Despite its British origins, the Ambassador is considered as a definitive Indian car and is fondly called “The king of Indian roads”. The automobile is manufactured by Hindustan Motors at its Uttarpara plant near Kolkata, West Bengal.

Some Indian politicians, such as Sonia Gandhi, use the Hindustan Ambassador.

The Amby, as it is affectionately called, has been in continuous production since its inception, with very few improvements or changes.

In 1948, Hindustan Motors shifted its assembly plant from Port Okha in Gujarat to Uttarpara in West Bengal’s Hooghly district and strengthened its manufacturing capacity in the automobile segment.

The 1954 Morris Oxford series II in India was licence-built at Uttarpara, (Hooghly dist.), West Bengal, three years after its debut in England and labelled as the 1957 Hindustan Landmaster.

Engaged in the manufacture of the Ambassador, Contessa and utility vehicles like the Trekker, Porter and Pushpak, the plant also has to its credit many innovations and improvements in the automobile industry in India. Hindustan Motors is the only manufacturing facility in the world to manufacture parts for Bedford trucks currently.

Sale of Ambassador taxis had been banned since 1 April 2011, a year after BS IV emission standards were rolled out in 11 Indian cities, including Kolkata. At present the company is in an extremely challenging situation with plummeting sales and loss of Rs 29.96 crore in 2011-12. The company could only sell around 2,500 cars in 2011.

However, Hindustan Motors have recently started to fit the cars with a new, cleaner diesel engine, that complies with the new emission rules; and has now been able to resume taxi service in cities such as Kolkata, one of the cities in which it was banned. The Hindustan Ambassador is, once again, a familiar sight on India’s roads . The company had stopped paying wages to workers a few months back and has finally stopped production on 25 May 2014.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindustan_Ambassador

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