The Ambassador was India’s solution to its challenges, including its terrible roads, large families, and the difficulty of repairing the vehicle with basic tools and knowledge.
From 1957 to 2014, Indian automaker Hindustan Motors produced the Hindustan Ambassador, which underwent several updates and revisions during its existence.
Despite its British heritage, the Ambassador was celebrated as the quintessential Indian automobile and given the title “King of Indian roads.” Hindustan Motors cranked out these automobiles at its Uttarpara facility near Kolkata.
Conception and creation
Morris, which was a division of the British Motor Corporation at the time, released the Morris Oxford Series III, which was essentially the same car as the Ambassador. produced for the first time between 1956 and 1959 by Morris Motors Limited in Cowley, Oxford, United Kingdom.
As it had done with its Series I and Series II models, which Hindustan Motors rebadged as the Hindustan 14 and Landmaster, respectively, in the late 1950s, it also surrendered the rights and tooling to Hindustan Motors.
The car’s semi-monocoque construction was a major technological leap forward for automobiles in the early 1950s, making it unusually roomy inside. Alec Issigonis, who also developed the Mini and Morris Minor, came up with the concept for this vehicle. The bigger Ambassador replaced the Hindustan Deluxe and the smaller Hindustan Landmaster.
The C.K. Birla Group’s Hindustan Motors Limited (HM) was India’s first automobile manufacturer and now serves as the group’s flagship firm. B.M. Birla founded the corporation in 1942, a year before India gained its freedom. In a little factory in Port Okha, Gujarat, they rebadged the Morris 10 as the Hindustan 10 and got to work.
Midway through the ’50s, Hindustan announced plans to update the then-current versions of its Morris Oxford Series Il (Hindustan Landmaster) cars by acquiring the rights to produce the brand-new Morris Oxford Series III.
In 1949, the Morris MO Series (both the original and the updated version with a new grille up front) was released as the Hindustan 14. Landmaster, based on the Morris Oxford Series II, debuted in 1955; it shared its 1476 cc side valve engine with the preceding Hindustan 14. Production lasted until 1954. In service from 1958 to 1960, the same engine powered both Mark I and Mark II Ambassadors.
With the support of the Birla family’s political clout, the Ambassador became one of the few automobiles manufactured after the government programme of 1954 to promote the indigenous Automobile industry. For decades, it outsold competitors like the Premier Padmini and the Standard 10 because of its roominess, and durability.
The low fuel efficiency and poor quality of the relatively pricey Ambassador started to hurt sales in the early 1980s. Even though it only accounted for about a third of Indian automobile manufacturing, demand had dropped to the point that waiting times had decreased to 12 months for almost five years for Premier Padmini. While the Ambassador maintained its dominance in the public and corporate sectors and was a popular taxi choice, private drivers increasingly shunned the “Amby” in the 1980s and 1990s.
Hindustan Ambassador production ceased at its sites outside of Kolkata and Chennai because of low demand and insufficient funds. The 2,200 Ambassadors the business had sold in the fiscal year ending in March 2014 accounted for just a tenth of the sales the Ambassador had in the mid-1980s before it was discontinued.
Back to the UK
In 1992, the vehicle (then known as the Fullbore Mark 10) was imported to the United Kingdom. The importer went bankrupt because so few vehicles were sold when they were modified with a heater and seat belts to meet European safety standards.
The Ambassador brand, including trademarks, was sold by Hindustan Motors to PSA Group for 80 crores ($10 million) on 11 February 2017. Two separate joint venture agreements were signed by enterprises from both organisations to form the partnership.
On May 28, 2022, Hindustan announced that an updated version of the Ambassador will be released. It was also announced that the new variants of the Ambassador will be constructed at Hindustan’s assembly factory in Chennai and that the design process for the new engine was well underway.