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Your Ambassador no more

LiveMint logoLiveMint 08-06-2014 Amrit Raj

When American rock singer Janis Joplin was crooning ‘Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz’ in 1970, Indians had been ambling along in the Ambassador, or the Amby as it’s fondly known by that generation of motorists, for 13 years. But it seems to be finally the end of the road for the Ambassador, one of the last remnants of the Nehru era and for decades the vehicle of choice for those who strode through the corridors of power in India—political and corporate. Hindustan Motors Ltd said on 24 May that it doesn’t have the money any more to make or sell the car, a clone of the Morris Oxford, which it had been manufacturing since 1957. Even before the announcement, the writing had been on the wall. The advent of the Maruti 800 hatchback in the 1980s, followed by the arrival of global auto makers in the 1990s, loosened the Ambassador’s hold on what was once a captive market, finally culminating in last month’s closure of the Uttarpara factory in West Bengal where it was being built. ‘Mint’ checks out the 57-year journey of the Ambassador.

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