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Ambassador cars:

Long before multiple car makers swarmed into the Indian market with their sedans, SUVs, hatch backs and crossovers, the ubiquitous Ambassador ruled the Indian roads. From 1958, when Hindustan Motors first started manufacturing the Ambassador, which was modeled after the Morris Oxford series III, till the early 1980s when Maruti disrupted the auto scene in India with its flagship 800 cc model, the Ambassador enjoyed a monopoly.
Anyone and everyone who could afford a car (which were not many) would drive the Ambassador – from the politicians in their ostentatious white, beaconed cars, to the taxi drivers in their kaali peeli ones. The much-loved car was known for its sturdy body and powerful engine and had even been crowned the best taxi in the world by BBC’s Top Gear programme.
The opening up of the automobile sector and the entry of numerous other auto brands into the
country led to its demise, with Hindustan Motors halting production in 2014.

Image credit: By Andrew Bone from Weymouth, England – Hindustan Ambassador Taxi in Goa India, October 1994, CC BY 2.0,

Seven iconic Indian brands and establishments which failed to stand the test of time

The precarious manner in which the average middle class Indian family of four-five would perch themselves on a single scooter while travelling, was what prompted Ratan Tata to think of providing a safe, yet affordable, alternative. While Tata’s engineering team brainstormed over how the existing scooter could be made safer, Ratan Tata came up with the idea of the Nano. The dream of a people’s car was finally realised in 2008, when the first Nano was introduced with much fan fare and media hype.

Fast forward ten years, Tata’s dream of equipping every middle to lower middle class family with a car seems to have failed. The recently released June figures for the Tata Nano have been dismal – zero exports, one unit manufactured and three sold. Tata Motors has also hinted at the Nano’s impending closure, as it cannot continue at the current rate.

Like the Nano, over the past few years a number of iconic Indian establishments and brands have shut shop or stopped production across the country, due to legal issues, falling sales, competition, or not being able to stand the test of times. While modern businesses constantly fold up, and not much thought is given to them, these are icons that have served the country for decades, and have left behind nostalgic memories. We pay tribute to some of them: