Contessa manufactured Hindustan Motors was deemed as an Indian muscle car by many thanks to its design and proportions
Hindustan Motors which has been dead for quite a few years now has been active in the news of late. Recently, it was reported that the company’s flagship model Contessa could return as an electric vehicle (EV) after a trademark for the same was filed by Hindustan Motors at the office of Intellectual Property.
However, as it turns out, Contessa may not be part of schemes of Hindustan Motors anymore. As per the latest development, the Indian manufacturer has decided to sell the Contessa brand to SG Corporate Mobility Pvt. Ltd for an undisclosed sum.
Hindustan Motors Sells ‘Contessa’ Brand
The company executed a brand transfer agreement on June 16, 2022 for the transfer of the Contessa brand, including trademarks having application numbers and certain related rights of the brand, Hindustan Motors revealed in a regulatory filing. The filing further added that transfer of the brand shall be effective upon fulfilment of the terms and conditions as prescribed in the agreement.
For the uninitiated, Contessa was a premium sedan sold by Hindustan Motors during the 1980s to early 2000s and was positioned above the carmaker’s main seller then Ambassador. While it was successful in creating a space for itself, entry of new auto brands like Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Ford and others in the passenger vehicle segment made it difficult to withstand the challenges.
Competition from global players took a toll on Hindustan Motors and eventually the company had to phase out Contessa from its lineup. The company later discontinued Ambassador as well when its production was stopped as its manufacturing facility in Uttarpara near Kolkata in West Bengal shut down almost overnight in 2014.
Later, the Ambassador brand was acquired by French automaker PSA Groupe (now part of Stellantis) for Rs 80 crore in February 2017. A subsidiary of CK Birla Group, Hindustan Motors owns another manufacturing plant near Chennai, Tamil Nadu that was leased out to Japanese automaker Mitsubishi to produce its cars in India.
Even though Contessa was manufactured in India by Hindustan Motors between 1984 to 2002, it was based on Vauxhall cars. The earlier Contessa was based on Vauxhall Victor FE and the later model was based on Vauxhall VX. It was powered by a measly 1.5-litre petrol engine making 50 bhp while being paired with a 4-speed gearbox.
This powertrain was later replaced by a 1.8-litre petrol unit that was sourced from Isuzu. The engine was mated to a new 5-speed manual gearbox and the car was renamed Contessa Classic. In the 1990s, Contessa received a 2.0-litre 4FC1 diesel motor from Isuzu which further popularised the Indian muscle car.
Other Developments from Hindustan Motors
Earlier last month, Hindustan Motors announced that it will mark its return to the Indian automobile industry as an EV manufacturer. The company will, at least initially, only concentrate on producing electric two-wheelers that will be rolled out of its facility in Uttarpara. The automaker has joined hands with an unknown European firm and an MoU has already been signed between the two companies.