News : Hindustan Ambassador heading for a relaunch?

Ambassador 2020

According to our friends at Overdrive, the Ambassador – one of India’s best-loved cars – may well be heading for a rebirth. The Hindustan Ambassador was very much a part of, and was reflective of, India’s social fabric for the best part of five decades. Based on the Morris Oxford, it enjoyed a long production run, so much so that many of you might not realise that it passed away as recently as 2014. That, we thought, was that.

However, rumours of its upcoming return are emerging from India. The story is growing on the back of PSA’s purchase of the Ambassador brand in 2017 for around €10m. When asked why PSA would do such a thing, Overdrive speculated, ‘…presumably, they see the intrinsic value in a brand, which not only epitomises an India of the past, but also an India of a future, which embraces its past, its immediate industrial history and yet wishes to furrow a tomorrow that is distinctively Indian in design, usage, comfort and robustness.’

The Indian website suggests that PSA could be looking at lightly facelifting the Citroën C-Elysee for a retro reboot. The low-priced saloon is currently manufactured in both China and Spain, with the factory at Vigo (in Spain) supplying the European market. The C-Elysee is a mid-sized, front-wheel-drive saloon, based on a platform shared with the Peugeot 208 and the 301, and has dimensions very similar to that of the Ambassador.

The Citroën version of the Ambassador will be much more refined than the old classic, but it might struggle to emulate that car’s period charms, too. We’ll be following this development with interest, as PSA’s plan for world domination leaves no stone unturned. And no, it’s not the first of April!

Ambassador 2020

Keith Adams
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  1. I was lent an shiny new Elysee, by a friend in Spain last spring, I found the invoice in the glovebox from a couple months before as I tried to find the manual to see how to activate the bluetooth, and I was impressed at how cheap it was, given that it was fully loaded with toys, including rear view camera etc.

    However as I set off I immediately found where they had saved the money, gear change was sloppy like a low spec 205, steering without any feel and it wanted to plough when you showed it a corner. Body control was also poor and in the modest side winds on a coastal road, it needed constant input as it drifted around like a weather cock.

    Whilst it is a cheap car, I really do wonder if the car has been engineered to be that bad, to justify it’s low price point compared to PSA’s other products. Other cheap cars like Fiat Panda, 108 etc i have driven have a honest, cheap and cheerful quality to them, were as the Elysee was just depressing and I don’t see why it needed to be..

  2. Well the C-Elysee did win numerous WTCC championships, and this updated one once i looked at the rear, it reminded me of ADO16.

  3. Why would Indian (taxi) drivers want a Made in Europe for European roads and European traffic car? I had a ride in an Ambassador taxi a few years back – and felt I was back in mid twentieth century Britain.

  4. It might be because the new C-Elysee/Ambassador is a relatively cheap three-box saloon, and that’s what Indian taxi drivers tend to like. Dimensionally the new Ambi is similar to the Mahindra Verito, Maruti Suzuki Dzire, Toyota Etios etc which have been made and sold in huge numbers in India. They are available as taxi variants with basic but strong interiors. These are not sophisticated vehicles by Western standards, but they do the job (and I have ridden in a few).

  5. I have a C-Elysee which I bought in 2017 from an excellent dealer in Figueres when it was ten months old. I have no complaints whatsoever, find it reliable and comfortable with adequate performance, but I do agree with the tendency for it to be affected by side winds. I drove to UK in 2018, also to Andalucia, and arrived relaxed with no back problems, and I would certainly buy another

    • I would agree with you that it was both comfortable with adequate performance, but then you could have said that about the cooking versions of the ZX or 306 and yet they were also a joy to drive which the Eylsee is not. For many people that is not an issue, but we know PSA can do better.

      • I can’t agree about the gear change; mine is great, and the three cylinder engine allows me to cruise at the speed limits on the Spanish and French motorways in comfort. I might add that our last UK vehicle was a Jaguar XF, so I’m used to comfort and performance.

        • The one I was driving has a 4 cylinder engine I believe a 1.6, gear lever just felt sloppy and vague, but no issues with the box or speed of changes, just not that rifle bolt feel of a quality car.

          What I did notice was the slowness in the electronics to respond to throttle inputs and or hanging on to revs. I assume part of making an elderly engine meet Euro 6 emission requirements.

  6. Its cheap and cheerful basic transport in the same mould as a Dacia Sandero by the sound of it, making use of old PSA platforms for developing countries in North Africa and Eastern Europe – though they also sell it in Spain. Given the recent change in the UK’s status and its standing in the world perhaps this could give Ellesmere Port a future, churning these out for the UK market badged as Vauxhall Victors…

  7. @Paul… very interesting idea of yours! My Dad had 1960’s Victors & VX 4/90s. I’m trying to imagine the “Elysee” with Griffin badges… I guess anything’s possible within PSA now that they own Vauxhall Opel. A cheaper car to build at Ellesmere but I still hope the next Astra is still built there.

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