From VOA Learning English, this is the Technology Report.
The Ambassador automobile is the most famous and longest-made Indian car. Hindustan Motors sold the first in 1958. The car soon became known as “the king of Indian roads.” But recently Hindustan Motors announced it had suspended production of the Ambassador. The company says its decision is the result of low demand and lack of money.
Indians call the car the “Amby.” It was based on a car design by Britain’s Morris Oxford. Hindustan Motors made few changes to the Ambassador design since its beginning. It has a strong steel body. It travels through very hilly areas and on bad roads with ease.
The auto market in India did not get seriously competitive until the middle of the 1980s. Then, Japanese car maker Suzuki joined with an Indian company to produce a small, low-cost vehicle. But the Ambassador remained the car of the rich and the powerful.
However, in 1991, India opened its economy to more foreign investment. Many international auto companies began to offer buyers newer, more fuel-efficient vehicles. Other companies offered sport utility vehicles to a rising Indian middle class.
The Ambassador maker found it increasingly difficult to find buyers. The Indian government stopped using the cars ten years ago.
Many taxi drivers like the Ambassador because repairs are generally low-cost. But sales records are not good. Last year, dealers sold only 2,200 Ambys out of total car sales of 1.8 million.
There are reports about a search for a new investor. But auto experts say they do not believe the Ambassador will return.