ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Goodbye, Mr Ambassador!

Like old generals and classic jeans, the Ambassador, the venerable symbol of automotive nirvana for a generation of Indians, will not die but only fade away.

Lately the media has been awash with affectionately nostalgic tributes mourning the “death” of the Ambassador car, the iconic vehicle from Hindustan Motors that for decades served a supposedly stable, optimistic and aspirational Indian middle class. Most of the sepia-toned testimonials are entirely justified. A true legend, the Ambassador was like the mythical Pushpaka Vimana whose interior was capable of infinite expansion to accommodate far beyond its undefined capacity. No wonder the Ambassador was loved as the family car. Bringing a new Ambassador home was a celebratory event.

During the last two decades and more, the new economic policies may well have met the Indian middle-class aspirations. But these very policies also foretold the “death” of the Ambassador. Notwithstanding its notorious innate infirmities, the Ambassador’s demise was causally linked to the import and manufacture of snazzy vehicles that helped meet the spiralling aspirations of Indian consumers.

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