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Five Reasons That Killed The HM Ambassador


HM Ambassador

The HM Ambassador recently got axed and the iconic car will no more be produced or sold. Hindustan Motors started selling the Amby in India in 1958 and the vehicle continued to be sold till 2014. The Amby never got any major overhaul and HM kept on selling the half-century old model even when the market was flooded with modern competition. The company blamed low sales of the car along with high losses for shutting down the factory in Uttarpara, West Bengal. Somewhere it was the manufacturer’s fault too, when they kept selling something without any updates, zero marketing, poor technology and still expected things to run fine.

So, let’s have a look at the five reasons that killed the HM Ambassador -

1) Poor marketing strategy – While other vehicle manufacturers have their marketing departments who promote their products on social networking sites, radio, TV, magazines, etc. with witty taglines and interesting information, HM officials were busy sleeping. The company never even tried to take any efforts to market the Ambassador. They expected the product to sell on its own and poor marketing is a sure shot recipe for any product’s failure in today’s times.

2) No major updates – The HM Ambassador never got any major updates in the past 50-odd years. While the overall design remained the same with small redesigned parts added every now and then, the product was still considered old and very rightly so. The Amby came with no technology at all and the management from Hindustan Motors never took competition into consideration. They still felt that the Ambassador has no true rivals.

3) No good engine options – Hindustan Motors had a partnership with Mitsubishi in India. Mitsubishi is known for its amazing driver-oriented vehicles and it would have been very wise had HM borrowed some knowledge from its Japanese business partner. Mitsubishi has some great engines on offer and the Amby really deserved a new and modern engine that would provide good performance as well as fuel efficiency.

4) High pricing – The Ambassador was priced between Rs. 5-8 lakhs depending on the variant. Come on HM, the Amby is on sale since 50 years so we are sure that the company must have recovered all the development and infrastructure costs for the factory long back. Not a lot of money was being invested in the product’s R&D and yet the company showed us how profit-hungry it is by not reducing the prices of the retro car at all. There was really no justification for the price that the sedan commanded since no money was being spent on marketing as well.

5) Not creating a new customer base – The HM Ambassador was mostly bought by politicians and ministers who loved the comfort of the car. Ambys with ‘laal-battis’ are still a common sight in many parts of the country. Another segment that loved the vehicle was the taxi segment. While Mumbai doesn’t have any Ambassador taxis any more, cities like Kolkata still make use of the iconic car as cabs. Hindustan Motors never felt the need to modernise the car and cater to a completely new and different segment of customers. It seems they were really happy with the limited sales of the vehicle. The end result is here now for all of us to see!

Just because a vehicle is termed as iconic doesn’t really mean that you sell it without taking any efforts. Even the Volkswagen Beetle and MINI are iconic cars, but look how they have been modernised to keep up with the present day customers’ requirement. The new Beetle and MINI do carry some of their retro styling elements, but overall they are completely new cars coming with modern engines, latest technology and all the safety features too. Now this is how true iconic cars are revived and HM should have learnt something from them.

Anyway, nothing can be done now so let’s bid goodbye to a memorable vehicle that bites the dust!

HM Ambassador Encore

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  • Siddhartha

    Imagine an amby with a fiat 1.6 or 1.3 MJD engine having alloy wheels ,climate control, parking sensors an electronic steering wheel dual front airbags disc brakes on all four wheels and a touch screen infotainment system. :)

  • sandy

    Though it is sad, but its good that its being discontinued instead of being prey to wrong minds; since the makers were planning for pickup version of Amby which is nothing but degradation of Amby’s image. The company didn’t nourished it well. Apart from Amby, others like Contessa, Trekker also took beatings. No use of saying that they should have taken inspiration from Royal Enfield how to remain iconic, since HM was their part time job.
    I won’t say RIP, but I wish anyone of our desi giants takes over HM for revival as they did for dying foreign brands.

    • Srini

      While all indian companies are busy in degrading their products, all other makers are gaining foothold with improved versions and technology up gradation.

  • Ben

    I wish the revival of Amby and Contessa. The muscle car Contessa has lots of fortunes here in India. Though I may seem odd, I wish Maruti Suzuki to revive these two cars. The Contessa with 2.4L vvt engine of Kizashi will be absolute hoot. Amby with 1.4 L vvt ertiga engine. Just I’m dreaming. After all these two are my most loved brand, how happy I would be if these things happen!

  • akash

    I am not happy with this. HM should have modernize the with latest engines and safety features and comfort features.

    Contessa and ambassador were good cars one was muscle and one was retro but lack of technology killed them. both were rear wheel drive cars. now no car in India is rear wheel drive with nano as exception. I hope some company overtakes HM and revive these two cars with rear wheel drive and latest technologies….

  • Naushad

    Change with time, or the time will change you

  • Damu

    One major reason for the demise of the Amby was very simply POOR QUALITY. The quality has always been atrocious, not just now but even in 1969. My Dad bought his first new car, an Ambassador MKII in July 1969. Next day while he was washing the car, the paint statred to come off in the washing cloth. Mechanically too, one had to get it first checked with one’s own mechanic.

    I bought my first Ambassador in 1984, a MKIV. The quality of this was even worse. I spent Rs. 2000 after delivery to get the welding completed.

    If HM had simply kept the basic design and just improved the quality, perhaps it might have sold in more numbers.

  • ToRqUe

    This is India personified at its lowest levels…. no wonder it was liked by our politicians as both were best in sleeping for a lifetime!!! LOL
    ambassador was never supposed to make it.. if anyone of u have visited Kolkata they will know why HM was like the way it was… its a great city no doubt but it seems very lazy & not “YOUTHFULL” & “ENERGETIC” like the other metros… maany things have not been bothered to be given an overhaul most of the city is still stuck in 1960s (no offense)
    not a chance…. HM killed it good & will kill Mitsubishi in india too
    i simply do not get how can a company like mitsubishi cannot see the worthlessness of HM
    BRING IN THE LATEST LANCERS!!!! the EVO X lookalikes