Hindustan Motors Limited – India’s Pioneering Automobile ManufacturerBy Cuong Huynh • Oct 1st, 2009 • Category: Clean Car Talk Posts
Editor’s note: This is part of a series of articles peeking into clean car industries and car manufacturers of China, India, South Korea and Germany. Please send comments and suggestions using our Contact page or by leaving a comment at the end of this article.
Hindustan Motors Limited or HML is one of the pioneers of India’s automobile industry. Hindustan Motors is the flagship company of India’s C.K. Birla Group. Its history dates back to the 1940s and was founded by the illustrious Indian Birla family. The company achieved its peak popularity when it came out with the unforgettable car, the Ambassador. The popular car became Hindustan Motor’s most iconic product despite its wide range of passenger cars, trucks, SUVs, and many other vehicle types that they offer.
Hindustan and Mitsubishi Collaboration
The Ambassador is just one of the many passenger cars offered by HML, along with others such as Grand and Avigo. Hindustan’s Multi Utility Vehicles include the Pushpak, the Porter, and the Trekker. However, Hindustan also enjoyed massive popularity when it partnered with Mitsubishi for the release of several famous Mitsubishi cars such as the Mitsubishi Lancer, Lancer Cedia, and Lancer Select. It was also Mitsubishi’s Indian arm for the expansive release of the iconic Mitsubishi Pajero.
It has been over five decades since Hindustan began making its various contributions to India’s automobile industry. Through the years, the company has banked on quality, safety, and social responsibility with every car they brought out to market. They now apply environment-friendly practices at their state-of-the-art plants where their new products are built.
Following the tradition of the Ambassador cars, Hindustan Motors continues to provide top-class vehicles, most of which are released in collaboration with Mitsubishi Motors. Just recently, the joint venture introduced the premium SUV, Mitsubishi Montero 2009. Mitsubishi carried the vehicle in its global release, while India carried it in its domestic release into the Indian market. The Mitsubishi Montero 2009 has been awarded as a Dakar rally winner twelve times over.
Aside from the joint projects with Mitsubishi, Hindustan Motors is also working on new models to be released under its own brand. One of these models is the vehicle called “Sumatra.” The car is a Light Commercial Vehicle with a new chassis and a 4-cylinder 1500cc engine that can release 37.5 HP 8.15 Kgm of torque. Some of the car’s specifications are taken from that of the famous Ambassador. The Sumatra is meant for the Indian market and not for overseas.
In recent years, popularity of the Ambassador has waned after enjoying decades of status of being India’s “official vehicle” in government and administration circles. This resulted in sharply falling production of the Amby, as the car is affectionately called.
While the automobile industry has given much focus to environment-friendly cars or “clean cars” such as hybrid and electric cars, Hindustan has not yet released a hybrid car in the industry. The first hybrid car on the Indian roads is still the Japanese-made Honda Civic Hybrid. Hindustan Motor’s competitors are becoming dominant in the hybrid and electric car areas, but Hindustan Motor does not jump into the fray. The Indian government also places emphasis on hydrogen cars instead of on hybrid cars.
CNG-Powered Embassafor and Winner Truck
It’s not to say that HML is not making a serious efforts. As indicated on the company website, there are now 2 CNG vehicles among its product offerings. One is the Ambassador Grand 1800 CNG, the other a CNG mini truck Winner produced under license from Shandong Shifeng in the Shandong province of China.
Ambassador Grand 1800 CNG
This green Ambassador offers fuel economy and environmental benefits. Featuring a 1.8L CNG engine, the Ambassador CNG “has negligible emission of toxic gases, minimal noise level and hardly any evaporative losses,” the company says. Achieving a fuel efficiency of 37.6 mpg, owners of the Amby CNG are expected to save 70% in fuel cost compared to gasoline cars and 40% compared to diesel cars in the same category. Installation of the CNG cylinder in the back of the car still provides sufficient luggage space use, without compromising the Ambassador’s safety, sturdiness, space and comfort.
CNG Winner Mini Truck
The one ton truck called Winner is powered by a 1.8L CNG engine and features 2 CNG tanks of 65 liter capacity each. The Winner can travel 350 Km or 217 miles on a single tank, has bigger tires, high ground clearance, a bigger cargo box and enough power for air conditioning. With several variants in the plan, including a 1.5L diesel version, the Winner is expected to price at around 4 lakhs or just under US$8,400.
With other Indian car manufactures dominating the scene, Hindustan Motors seem to be concentrating on improving the quality of its new car models. The car models will have improved efficiency despite not being hybrid or electric cars. There has been no word on whether Hindustan Motors will release a hybrid car anytime in the future, but there are still a lot to watch out for from Hindustan Motors.
Visit Hindustan Motors Limited.
Cuong Huynh is a marketing communications consultant working in the San Diego area. Cuong is dedicated to helping individuals and companies maximize their presence on the Internet and efficiently take products and services to market through SEO and network marketing. Cuong also maintains a blog on Marketing at marketingautopsyblog.com. You can also find Cuong Huynh's profile on LinkedIn. For fun he maintains a blog on Vietnamese pho, soccer and do storyboards for movie and film projects. Follow Cuong on Twitter @CuongHuynh, @LovingPho, @CleanCarTalk, @BlockbusterFilm, @SoccerUSA.
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