Hindustan Motors is an Indian automotive manufacturer based in Kolkata, West Bengal, India. It is a part of the Birla Technical Services industrial group. The company was the largest car manufacturer in India before the rise of Maruti Udyog.
Hindustan Motors was the producer of the Ambassador motorcar, which was once a mainstream car in India, based on 1956 Morris Oxford series III and was in production from 1957 until 2014. Production of the Ambassador ceased on 24 May 2014.
One of the original three car manufacturers in India, founded in 1942 by Mr. B.M. Birla, it was a leader in car sales until the 1980s, when the industry was opened up from protection. All through its history, the company has depended on government patronage for its sales and for survival by eliminating competition. Manoj Jha was the Managing Director who stepped down from the post on 21 February 2012.
On 11 February 2017, Hindustan Motors executed an agreement with Peugeot SA for the sale of the Ambassador brand, including the trademarks, for a consideration of Rs 80 crore. The tie-up entails two joint venture agreements between the companies of the two groups.
Hindustan Motors Limited (HML), was once India's pioneering automobile manufacturing company. It was established just before Indian independence, in 1942 by Mr. B. M. Birla of the industrialist Birla family in collaboration with Lord Nuffield of Morris Motors who were already selling their cars in India. Commencing operations in a small assembly plant in Port Okha near Gujarat, the manufacturing facilities later moved to Uttarpara, West Bengal in 1948, where it began the production of the Morris designed Hindustan Ambassador. The HM-Mitsubishi Motors Plant is in Tiruvallur near Chennai in Tamil Nadu.
Post-Independence in 1948, production of the cars were shifted to new green field plant spread obver a large area in Uttarpara, West Bengal. The first car to roll out from Uttarpara plant was Hindustan 10, derived from Morris 10. In 1954 Hindustan launched the Morris Oxford series II derived Hindustan Landmaster and in 1957 the Hindustan Ambassador was launched which was based on the Morris Oxford series III. This first model later known as Mark-1, whose basic design remained unchanged was manufactured till 2015 with various model changes on facelifts, engines and later with power steering, disc brakes etc.
Hindustan and General Motors have had several tie-ups in the post independence era to produce Bedford Trucks, Vauxhall Motors (1980 to 1990), Allison Transmissions and off-road equipment. In 1994, GM and Hindustan (C K Birla) formed a 50-50 joint venture, General Motors India to make Opel Astra cars in the new mid-segment category. The production of Astra was phased out and later replaced by the then successful Opel Corsa family of vehicles. In early 1999 General Motors India bought out the Halol, Gujarat, plant from Hindustan Motors thus ending a long partnership.
On 21 February 2012, Mr. Manoj Jha, the Managing Director stepped down from his post. The decision was unanimously accepted by the board of directors.
Hindustan motors used to make earthmovers, initially in collaboration with Terex, USA and Fermac UK; and from 1984 with Caterpillar Inc. at the HMEED plants in Thiruvallur, near Chennai and Pondicherry. It was sold to Caterpillar in 2000 and HM quit the earthmover business. HML continue to be a joint venture partner with Caterpillar in Hindustan Power Plus, which manufactures diesel engines and generator sets.
The company began in 1959 as Tractors and Bulldozers Private Ltd and imported tractors. Manufacturing of tractors began in 1963, in collaboration Motokov-Praha (Zetor) of Czechoslovakia, and was known as Hindustan Tractors & Bulldozers Ltd. In 1967, it became Hindustan Tractors Ltd. The tractors were based on the Zetor tractor design and sold under the Hindustan brand. In 1978, the Gujarat, Indian government formed Gujarat Tractors from the ailing company. In 1999, Mahindra Tractors purchased 60% of the company, and in 2001, completed purchasing the rest of the company, renaming it Mahindra Gujarat Tractors Ltd.
In 1982 Hindustan formed a collaboration with Isuzu to assemble and sell the Isuzu F series - JCS trucks in India. These trucks came from the factory with a fully built modern metal cabin which was not common with Tata and Ashok Leyland trucks at the time. They were well known for their reliability and fuel consumption, but were discontinued mainly due to falling sales poor service facilities and since HML could not sell them for an affordable price.
Hindustan Motors also entered into technical collaboration to manufacture engines and transmission for the Contessa in the late 1980s at a newly constructed state of the art engine plant at Pithampur near Indore, Madhya Pradesh. The petrol engine commonly known as Isuzu 1.8 Petrol would later serve in Hindustan Ambassador with Multi Point Fuel Injection till 2015. Initially the joint venture made a 4-cylinder G180Z 1.8L petrol engines and 5-speed transmissions. Later, a 2.0L Isuzu diesel engine was added to the production line to power the Contessa and the Ambassador. The technical collaboration lasted from 1983 to 1993. The Indore plant has since expanded to manufacture engines for a number of other manufacturers like Opel, Ford and Mahindra.
Hindustan has a joint venture with Mitsubishi that started in 1998. The plant was located in Thiruvallur, Tamil Nadu. The mid-size SUV Pajero Sport was manufactured until 2016. In India Mitsubishi had ruled the automotive industry in 2000 with the Mitsubishi Lancer Slxd diesel 2.0l engine and slxi 1.5l petrol with features of the future (stereo system with cassette and cd change player, automatic controllable/foldable mirrors, leather seats, cup holders, defoggers, 5-speed manual refined gear box, rally based body chassis as it was based on the legendary Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution which made Indians to trail it but as time went by, their sales leaped down as wrong choice of engines to wrong choice of cars were launched. But since they launched Pajero sport in 2012, Mitsubishi has managed to retain their fame. This new SUV hosts a 2.5l DI-D Variable Geometrical Turbo Diesel engine mated to a 5-speed AT or MT. But 4WD was available only on the manual one and 4x2 is offered on the automatic version. Though Pajero sport was launched in 2010 worldwide it still has that freshness and the tinge of exquisite. The pajero sport had a cosmetic update in late 2014 with revamped bumpers, front grille, tailgates and interiors too. Mitsubishi Pajero Sport was a competitor to SUVs like Toyota Fortuner, Ford Endeavour etc...
Production ceased.Hindustan 10 - based on 1947 Morris 10, replaced by Hindustan 122
Hindustan 122 and Hindustan 14-based on 1948 Morris Oxford MO Series - replaced with Landmaster
Hindustan Landmaster- based on Morris Oxford series II - 1954 to 1957. Made way of Ambassador range.
Hindustan Ambassador - ceased production since April 2015. Was one of the longest running model in the world for 58 years.
Hindustan Contessa - based on the British Vauxhall Victor FE with Isuzu diesel or petrol engines.
Other Hindustan Ambassador derived models - Pushpak, Trekker and Porter - Multiutility Vehicles based on Ambassador chassis and engines (Half Ton Driveaway Chassis).
Isuzu F series - JCS
Hindustan Winner a small truck with 1.8L petrol/CNG engine or 1.5L Diesel engine in collaboration with Shandong Shifeng of China
MASCOT T-480 FC - commercial truck.
RTV Ranger - trucks made in collaboration with OKA Motor Company, Australia. This truck can be adapted for school bus, ambulance, etc. Production was discontinued in 2008.
Pithampur, Madhya Pradesh (near Indore)
Built in the 1980s it was a state of art robotic engine assembly plant as well as commercial truck assembly line for then launched Isuzu F Series trucks. Later RTV & Winner were assembled here.Hosur, Tamil Nadu (near Bangalore)
Built for Off-Highway vehicles.Hindmotor, a.k.a. Uttarpara West Bengal (near Kolkata) closed since 2015.
Oldest plant built in 1948, all Hindustan Ambassador badge vehicles were manufactured here.Thiruvallur, Tamil Nadu (near Chennai)
Built in the late 1990s for Mitsubishi range, later in 2015 started assembly for ISUZU vehicles till January 2016 when Isuzu moved to its new plant at Sricity in Andhra Pradesh.