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Old 25th May 2014, 11:41   #1
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Looks like the journey of the grand old Ambassador is coming to an end. Despite the West Bengal government sanctioning about 4000 new Ambassador taxis on the roads of Kolkata, the Hindustan Motors management has gone for suspension of work at its Uttarpara factory from today. The Uttarpara factory dates back to 1942, and is the second oldest car factory in Asia after the Japanese giant Toyota. So, it's end of history for the first car manufacturer in India.

Here is the Hindu link:
http://www.thehindu.com/business/Ind...cle6044603.ece

Interestingly, Times of India blames the erstwhile Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee for the final downfall of Ambassador. Apparently, it was he who shifted from Ambassador to BMW in 2003, since when Ambassador no longer remained the Prime Minister's official car. Several of India's elite still swear by Ambassador though, including the chief of Army and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
As I know, the new chief minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, doesn't use an Amby, which was always West Bengal's official car. Ms Banerjee uses a Santro.
Here is the Indiatimes link:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/b...w/35577687.cms

Last edited by Vid6639 : 25th May 2014 at 22:05. Reason: merging posts. Please use edit option within 30mins.
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Old 25th May 2014, 12:52   #2
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I think HM should consider giving the amby a facelift. Make it more reliable and make it more of an everyday car for the office going people.
We would be loosing a part of India if the amby is gone.

All the beautiful curves would be gone. We should retain our legacy and reinvent ourselves. Just look at what Royal Enfield has done with the bullet.
Now i think every 4th bike I see on the road is a RE (at least in IT parks)

My recommendations for the amby revival (if that's ever gonna happen):
1. Retain the curves and the chrome as much as possible, just redesign it in a way that the buyer is still able to feel experience a part of the legacy
2. Plonk in a slick tranny and a higher spec multijet diesel or any other powerful yet reliable motor. Could also look at the Mahindras mhawk.
3. The dashboard has to de redesigned and some wood/ chrome inserts have to go in.
4. Fit and finish should have to be better.
5. The steering wheel should not feel as if it is taken off a jeep. I personally like the landmaster styled steering to retain the classic dna. Albeit it has to be power assisted, collapsible and should have mounted controls.
6. Safety features should be introduced like ABS, ESP, Airbags etc.
7. The headlights need to be more powerful
8. Something like an Idrive. I know I am being too greedy here. Take cues from the Xuv in this front
9. The left rear seat (at least) can be made reclinable to make a flat bed in conjunction with the left front.
10. Retain the big boot just redesign.
11. Good ICE.
12. Cruise control
12. Marketing has to be proper.
13. Do all of the above and price it competitively in the 12-15 lac range. We could give the Hondas, Chevys, Renaults, Skodas a run for their money with over very own desi product.

I would like to listen to more inputs in the above list from tbians keeping in mind the 12-15 lac budget.

Last edited by Shashidl : 25th May 2014 at 13:13.
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Old 25th May 2014, 14:41   #3
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Default Re: End of the road for the HM Ambassador?

Good riddance I say. The Amby might have been 'the car' at one time, but that's 30 years back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shashidl View Post
I think HM should consider giving the amby a facelift. Make it more reliable and make it more of an everyday car for the office going people.
Nice wishlist, but you're being too optimistic if you think that today's intelligent, well-informed car buy will buy a senior citizen with makeup over a fresh, competent & safer alternative.

Amby fans might be disheartened, but it's really time to say good bye. Even the Maruti 800 wasn't immortal.
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Old 25th May 2014, 15:38   #4
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Default Re: End of the road for the HM Ambassador?

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Originally Posted by Shashidl View Post
I think HM should consider giving the amby a facelift. Make it more reliable and make it more of an everyday car for the office going people. We would be loosing a part of India if the amby is gone.
There is something called "life cycle", you can neither change this nor stop it. Something that comes (birth) has to go (Death) for the successor to continue (If any).

You can't keep asking for face lifts of the Ambassador for the sake of legacy etc. It is good that Ambassador has been stopped else it will be becoming a bit long in the tooth. The world has advanced a lot but HM couldn't catch up so it had to shut shops and sleep in respect.

This is like asking Michael Schummacher to continue in F1 till he alive because we all love MSc; likewise, Sachin Tendulkar in Cricket! Not possible, right buddy?! They had to retire so the younger generation + talent is encouraged and get a chance and moreover they could retain 'that' respect.

MODS: Sorry for the post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by subratasenn View Post
Interestingly, Times of India blames the erstwhile Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee for the final downfall of Ambassador. Apparently, it was he who shifted from Ambassador to BMW in 2003, since when Ambassador no longer remained the Prime Minister's official car. Several of India's elite still swear by Ambassador though, including the chief of Army and Congress president Sonia Gandhi. As I know, the new chief minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, doesn't use an Amby, which was always West Bengal's official car. Ms Banerjee uses a Santro.
The most ridiculous post by TOI and funny to see the reasoning given for the downfall of the Ambassador.

So by that means when Atal used BMW from 2003, all politicians should have sworn by the BMW why use something else?!

Anurag.

Last edited by a4anurag : 25th May 2014 at 15:41. Reason: Adding a Quote.
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Old 25th May 2014, 22:04   #5
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Default Re: End of the road for the HM Ambassador?

A face lift is not what an Amby needs. That is all it has. The soul was lost long back with the meaningless 'facelifts' and the mark x. The days of buying a new car and customising it, nothing fancy, change the seats, reweld, rewire etc are all the thing of the past.

I will not loose hope on it. During those days, when engine transplant was never questioned, There were 3 in my family (many more, but the really icing of them all). One had an Izusu contessa petrol, a peugeot and a nissan 118 ne heart. All of them had brake boosters from ELGI. Radials. One had alloys.

No one has the time to such things these days. It is also how you market the product.( When was the last time anyone of us saw any sort of advt for this car?)
Its not very complicated really. we have a similar example here in our country. same vintage perhaps? same attitude. All it took was one man with a vision and dedication and today people wait 6 months to buy that product, ( two of my friends just booked one each, anotherone took delivery a month back, plenty in my circle)

Same face, still no match to the japs, but what a come back!

The enfield Bullet.

If the Amby does get phased out, it is not because it was an Amby.
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Old 25th May 2014, 22:21   #6
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Default Re: End of the road for the HM Ambassador?

Quote:
Originally Posted by subratasenn View Post
Looks like the journey of the grand old Ambassador is coming to an end. So, it's end of history for the first car manufacturer in India.
As the saying goes, "Every good thing comes to an end sometime" so the same way just like HM Contessa, Premier Padmini and 118NE this majestic car's life had to see the sunset of the day.

This car carved a niche for itself in the Indian automotive sector and till date it has created a legacy. The political arena or the police dignitaries have always been enthusiastic on owning a Ambassador in their fleet.

This car was an actual tank-like vehicle with solid built quality even in times when ABS/ EBD or airbag were not even born in India. However, the later models were slightly compromised in regards to design and built quality.

Finally, The phrase "Old is Gold" fits well on this gem of a car.

Thanks.

Last edited by ad3952n : 25th May 2014 at 22:24.
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Old 25th May 2014, 22:49   #7
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Default Re: End of the road for the HM Ambassador?

Hope that the Ambassador is retained. The backseat comfort can still put many European entry level sedans to shame. The Renault K9K will be the best bet for the Amby as it is fairly robust and delivers excellent fuel efficiency because of its good low end.
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Old 26th May 2014, 01:07   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a4anurag View Post
This is like asking Michael Schummacher to continue in F1 till he alive because we all love MSc; likewise, Sachin Tendulkar in Cricket! Not possible, right buddy?! They had to retire so the younger generation + talent is encouraged and get a chance and moreover they could retain 'that' respect.

Anurag.
I agree with most of the things you say. I should have used the words image lift or re brand in place of facelift. I think if HM let a brand like amby go off the shelves which is known for it's reliability backseat comfort and a tank like indestructible image it would be a great loss on their part. I think they should work on a new car ground up taking cues from the old amby. Retain the space and comfort factors, add all the latest gizmos as I mentioned in my previous post and provide a premium feel inside out and I think we would have a winner in our hands. I am sure it's easier said than done. The target end user should change from the taxi walas (at least for survival purpose) to people who can afford a premium car.

Schumi and Tendulkar retired for good at the right time but Ferrari and Indian cricket team did not, that's exactly my point. The management at HM has to retire and a newer, younger, hungrier lot have to be pulled in who would have the courage and the will to take on the challenge.

Again I would like to remind you of the RE CEO Sidharta Lal after he took over, just look at what he did to the bullet. What has changed from the old std CI bullet to the new Classic UCE model? The engine? Yes, the electronics? Yes, the suspension? Yes, the image? Definitely not. We would have lost the RE if we didnt have somebody like Mr. Lal.

If the Mahindras didn't have redone the Jeep brand in the form of Thar we would have lost the Jeep as well. What sets such people apart is their ability to envision the future, look at what they have in core and work on improving the value they can offer to the consumer. Why is the Sumo still in the market while the Sierra has disappeared?

Sorry for going OT, but look at what Mr. Mallya has done with Force India - their team is now competing and has more championship points than the likes of Mclaren, Williams Lotus Renault etc the only intention is to say that it's not impossible to compete with the best. One needs to have the courage and a strong will. Would anybody have believed this back in 2007 when he bought the Spyker team?

Quote:
Originally Posted by YaeJay View Post
The soul was lost long back with the meaningless 'facelifts' and the mark x. The days of buying a new car and customising it, nothing fancy, change the seats, reweld, rewire etc are all the thing of the past. If the Amby does get phased out, it is not because it was an Amby.
Well said friend can't agree with you more. It's the people who built the car that have failed not the brand.

Last edited by Shashidl : 26th May 2014 at 01:21. Reason: Added a quote
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Old 26th May 2014, 08:37   #9
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Default Re: End of the road for the HM Ambassador?

An ode to the Tank that once ruled the Indian roads

Testimony vide the program on TV - World's best taxi

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10201230993231453

Interesting to note that the news made it's way to Yahoo front page too.

---------------


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.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/output...095634089.html

Last edited by vulcanize : 26th May 2014 at 08:44. Reason: Link
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Old 26th May 2014, 09:16   #10
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Default Re: End of the road for the HM Ambassador?

Sad to see the Old Amby buzz off into the Sunset and thence into the pages of History.
Saying that, I guess it was inevitable, given the kind of chaos that those WB factories had to go through all these years from the labour unions and other troublemaking factions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vulcanize View Post
An ode to the Tank that once ruled the Indian roads

Testimony vide the program on TV - World's best taxi

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10201230993231453

Interesting to note that the news made it's way to Yahoo front page too.

---------------


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.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/output...095634089.html
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Old 26th May 2014, 09:44   #11
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Default Re: End of the road for the HM Ambassador?

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Originally Posted by subratasenn View Post
....Interestingly, Times of India blames the erstwhile Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee for the final downfall of Ambassador. Apparently, it was he who shifted from Ambassador to BMW in 2003, since when Ambassador no longer remained the Prime Minister's official car. Several of India's elite still swear by Ambassador though, including the chief of Army and Congress president Sonia Gandhi...
Great!! Did TOI take some under table commission from HM to support them? It was HM's stupidity or arrogance to keep decades old car in the same form or with minor tweaking when rest of the world were running to get newer technology.

There's nothing called free lunch in this world. If HM wanted to survive, they should have adopted better standards with respect to everything. Retain that classic looks, but upgrade everything in the car and I would have been in the queue for sure.
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Old 26th May 2014, 09:46   #12
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Default Re: End of the road for the HM Ambassador?

Let us hope it is true this time. The Amby has had more lives than the proverbial cat. I for one have no regrets for an event which should have occurred two decades ago.
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Old 26th May 2014, 09:49   #13
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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Good riddance I say. The Amby might have been 'the car' at one time, but that's 30 years back.
True, but still there was something about an Amby. Actually it added character to Kolkata in its taxi avatar, somewhat like the London cabs. Kolkata will never look the same without the Ambassador yellow cabs.

But I know, there's no point in just being nostalgic. Amby had to go. They couldn't even bring out the BS-IV version of the car, so it had to be phased out anyway. And obviously Kolkata will gradually start looking like any other city of India, with Tata, Suzuki and Etios cabs gradually taking over from Ambassador. The state goverment has already started issuing taxi permits to these cars. The taxi domain was previously reserved only for Ambassadors, which was a made in West Bengal car.

On a different note, West Bengal now has two non-functional car factories. The Amabassador factory at Uttarpara, which has closed down. And the Nano factory at Singur, which never opened!

Last edited by subratasenn : 26th May 2014 at 09:52.
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Old 26th May 2014, 10:30   #14
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Default Re: End of the road for the HM Ambassador?

RIP good old Amby, am still hoping i get a chance to drive her one day. Got almost close when my FIL had got one assigned from his company. Surprised they were able to manage some production into the 21st century, ideally they should have shut shops 2 decades ago. Am sure Amby will continue to rule our hearts and roads courtesy some die hard Amby fans out there.
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Old 26th May 2014, 14:42   #15
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Default Re: End of the road for the HM Ambassador?

Sad news, but way past it's time.

I remember the Ambassador's of old, back when all you could buy instead of an Ambassador was a Premier Padmini or a Mahindra MM540 (colloquially known as the Jeep).

Even in that company, the Amby was genuinely horrible to drive. It was great to be driven around in, with those amazingly comfortable back benches, but to drive...oh dear God! The steering required Herculean effort to move, the gear shifter had to be man-handled into position and pressing the clutch pedal was a 2 man job. But all of this paled in comparison to the brakes.

The brakes were a 'stand on the pedal and pray' type, and if you were ever braking down a steep gradient (like the ghats), you always had to have one hand on the door handle, ready to open the door and jump out if needed. This was, of course, assuming the inside door handle was present in the first place, since a lot of cars were delivered without them.

I could go on, but suffice it to say that I'm glad to see it go!
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