India’s Iconic Ambassador Is World Taxi Shootout Winner
The Hindustan Motors’ Ambassador started life in Britain as the Morris Oxford, but with a quick name change, it went on to become one of India’s most enduring vehicles – HM Ambassador. It may have lost out to the more modern competitors like Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Toyota and Honda but the good old Ambassador car, that once ruled the roost in India, has just been voted as the world’s best taxi by global automotive programme Top Gear.
In a show, which was aired on the BBC, Top Gear’s executive director Richard Hammond organized a world taxi shootout in which the Ambassador emerged the winner, beating competitors from all over the globe. The competing Ambassador took on taxis from Germany, Britain, South Africa, America, Russia and Mexico and was named the world’s best taxi. The CNG variant wore a WB – 19A – 8219 yellow numberplate. Fancy striped designs ran across the side of the car upon which an Indian flag was painted.
Back in 1948, CK Birla Group firm Hindustan Motors Ltd began the production of the Ambassador at Uttarpara in Hooghly district, West Bengal. Till the arrival of the Maruti in the early 80s, the Ambassador was the status symbol in India. Gradually it lost out to various global competitors when it came to personal usage but continued to be the favourite vehicle for government officials and also in the taxi segment.
In the recent past, its sales in both the segments have shown a decline and in 2012-13, the Ambassador sold a total of just 3,390 units. This fiscal, it has sold only 709 units in the April-June period.