End of the road for the Ambassador as India carmaker halts production

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Ambassador car, India

Modelled on Britain’s Morris Oxford, the Ambassador was the first car to be made in India, according to the company. Photograph: Douglas E Curran /AFP/Getty Images

The maker of the Ambassador has halted production of the car, the choice of Indian officialdom, blaming weak demand and a lack of funds, and casting doubt on the future of a vehicle that has looked the same for nearly six decades.

Hindustan Motors said it had suspended work at its Uttarpara plant, outside the eastern city of Kolkata, until further notice.

Modelled on Britain’s Morris Oxford, the Ambassador was the first car to be made in India, according to the company, and was once a status symbol.

But it began losing its dominance in the mid-1980s when Maruti Suzuki introduced its cheaper 800 hatchback.

It lost further cachet and market share when global carmakers began setting up shop in India in the mid-1990s, offering models with modern designs and technology.

The Ambassador has remained the recognisable choice of a dwindling share of bureaucrats and politicians, usually painted white with a red beacon on top and a chauffeur behind the wheel. The cars are still used as taxis in some Indian cities.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/25/india-ambassador-car-hindustan-motors-production

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