French Car Manufacturer Peugeot SA Buys Ambassador

February 13, 2017

 For the people of Kolkata, the Ambassador is less of a car and more of a heritage, carrying with it the identity of the place. A picture of the city is never complete without the trams and the black-yellow taxis whizzing through the various thoroughfares, lanes and by-lanes.

Cashing in on this legacy, French car manufacturer Peugeot SA has bought the rights from the Hindustan Motors to use the brand name Ambassador. It still has a huge recall value not only in Kolkata but the whole of India because of its vintage values.

The Hindustan Motors said in a statement, "We have signed an agreement with the PSA Group for the sale of the brand Ambassador, including trademarks. Ambassador has been an iconic brand and act as a surplus asset for us."

"We were looking for a suitable opportunity and found the right buyer in the PSA Group. We intend to use the proceeds from the sale to clear the dues of employees, lenders and other outstandings," the statement added.

Coming back to Kolkata, most Ambassadors here run as taxis. There are still a lot of people who love to move around in their old Ambassadors as these are not merely vehicles to them. They have grown some sort of a special bond with the cars.

Shayan Malakar, who still drives his grandfather's Ambassador says, "It is a grand aunt to me. I kept only this one because it gives me a nostalgic feeling when I go out with friends. People turn around and say it does not suit your age but it's out of passion that I still drive the car."

But the brand has fallen on hard times, the sales have dropped drastically and the production was stopped in 2014. Since then, things haven't really improved for Hindustan Motors and the company has now sold the brand as well.

The Ambassador was once a car that ferried the Prime Minister of the country. It was the common man's favourite, too, but it failed to live up to the stiff competition.

Today, the Prime Minister travels in a BMW and the common man prefers more fuel-efficient and high-tech cars. But, the brand still survives as taxis in Kolkata and has even been ranked the world's best taxi by Top Gear.

The news of the sale of the brand that meant bread and butter to them has made the taxi drivers all the more nostalgic. Some of them are of the opinion that bad fuel efficiency has sounded the death knell for the brand.

Amit Verma has driven an Ambassador since 1985. The car did not keep up with the times though it had one of the sturdiest set of wheels on the road, he rued. "It has comfortable seats, more space and the maintenance cost was less compared to other brands," Verma added.

The Ambassador has long been staring at a bleak future, but the big question is whether the new owners of India's most iconic car brand will be able to revive it with a new avatar? Or will it simply fade away? Enthusiasts definitely hope for a revival and hope that in this case, the old saying, "All good things come to an end," never turns out to be true.

Meanwhile, Peugeot is yet to spell out its plans regarding the brand. Its initiatives to re-enter Indian market are already underway and agreements have been signed with the CK Birla Group, which owns Hindustan Motors.

(NDTV )            

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