HomeCar NewsPeugeot Citroen analysing how to re-launch Ambassador brand in India

Peugeot Citroen analysing how to re-launch Ambassador brand in India

Ambassador restored by Sun Enterprise. Image for reference.

The Ambassador moniker carries a lot of heritage in minds and hearts of Indian customers. Though the brand didn’t get many takers in this decade, it still is one of the most relatable brands in the Indian automotive market. Earlier in 2017, PSA, the French automaker which owns brands like Peuoget and Citroen had purchased the rights to use the ‘Ambassador’ brand in India. Now, a latest report gives us more insights about what could be the future of the iconic brand.

Talking about a little history, before the arrival of the 800 from Maruti Udyog Limited (aka. Maruti Suzuki), the Ambassador was the go-to car for thousands of Indians (yes, population was considerably less back in the 70s!). The car in itself was based on the Morris Oxford series III model, which was introduced by Morris Motors. In case you are wondering, are these the same guys who are coming up with the Hector? Well, Yes! After a series of mergers and acquisitions, Morris Motors (aka Morris Garages) is currently run by China based SAIC motor group which is going to introduce the Hector in India this May.

Anyway, back to the Ambassador! The ‘King of Indian Roads’, as it was fondly known, was manufactured in India in two plants, one in Kolkata and the other in Chennai. Hindustan Motors (part of the Birla group) was the brand owner and manufacturer for this British saloon in India.

In the early days, the Ambassador had very limited competition, just the Premier Padmini and Standard 10. Unsurprisingly, it was the vehicle of choice for most people of power and prominence. Take up any photo of any government building up till the 90s and you will see numerous Ambassadors lined up neatly in parking spots. However, things changed majorly once lighter and more advanced cars from Maruti started coming in the Indian market. The car did witness some face-lifts and generation changes, but they weren’t as frequent as the ones which we come across today

Opening up of the economy led to a flood of foreign brands in India and slowly the Ambassador couldn’t match-up with the competition from Korean and Japanese cars which were way too advanced. Face-lifts and modifications in the 2000s too didn’t help Hindustan Motors and they had to lock-up the production line in 2014. However, now that PSA is back in India, there are chances that the ‘Ambassador’ moniker can be back on roads. PSA’s chairman recently stated the following during an interview with Live Mint:

“We are too young in this market to be able to have a clear-cut opinion about how to use it. So, we will keep it in our hands, and we will try to understand the market better and at the same time, look for the best opportunity to do in a way that is emotionally warm, acceptable and also aligned with the values of the Citroen brand. We are currently in the process of analysing how it (Ambassador) can be used as it is an iconic brand, we would not like to mean any disrespect to it.”

The above excerpt clearly shows that there are high chances that PSA might rejuvenate the ‘Ambassador’ brand in India and that would certainly be a reason to rejoice! At the moment, PSA is busy with readying up the launch of ‘Citroen’ brand in India. The first product from the French auto-giant is going to be the Citroen C5 Aircross SUV which is scheduled for a launch next year.

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