West Bengal Govt. wants to keep the Ambassador factory running

Hindustan Motors, makers of India’s most iconic Ambassador car, announced suspension of their factory at Uttarpara in West Bengal, bringing production of the iconic Ambassador to a complete halt. HM had been producing the Ambassador at this plant ever since 1957, but have now suspended production citing critical shortage of funds, piling debts and notable lack of demand.

ambassador production might beginHindustan Motors’ Ambassador, which in its hay days was driven by politicians and senior government officials, particularly in New Delhi, has seen little change over the past 60 years. Once the most recognizable car on Indian roads, HM Ambassador now takes a back seat due to entry of modern vehicles and strapping SUVs which have now found favor with politicians and bureaucrats. Hindustan Motors’ plant in Uttarpara, in the 1980s used to produce 24,000 cars per year but production has now fallen to just 5 cars per day.

Following this dire situation and closure of Uttarpara plant announced, West Bengal’s Labour Minister Purnendu Bose states that they (WB Govt.) will try everything possible in their capacity to keep the plant up and running once again. A tie-up with Chinese company is also on the cards. The minister is also unhappy about the fact that HM management did not disclose their plans of suspension to them earlier.

The minister held meetings with management of HM regarding suspension of work at the plant and what their intentions were with regard to 2300 employees and managerial staff. The immediate concern as of now is the pay the 2300 workers their wages, which have been held back since Nov 2013.

Modelled on the lines of Britain’s Morris Oxford, the Ambassador was amnongst the first car to be made in India. It was regarded as a status symbol but lost lustre in the mid 1980s when Maruti Suzuki introduced its 800 hatchback. The Ambassador further lost significance in mid 1990s when a host of global automakers entered India and introduced models with contemporary designs and latest technologies though the ‘Amby’ as it is more fondly called, is still used as a taxi in some Indian cities.

Via Economic Times