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Sunday, Jan 13, 2002

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Hind Motors pins hopes on new Amby variants

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HINDUSTAN Motors Ltd is looking to regain its old glory by launching a slew of new variants of its existing product line up.

As part of this strategy, the company will be launching a new `retro' variant of the Ambassador, the Porter Plus (a load carrier), the Pushpak (a soft-top multi-utility vehicle), and 10 new variants of its Road Trusted vehicle. The `retro' version of the Ambassador known as the Ambassador Classic Luxury which will be launched in mid-2002 and also be put on display at the Auto Expo 2002. The car will be priced around Rs 5-6 lakh.

Unveiling the car, Mr C.K. Birla, Chairman, said said the company would continue to offer similar product variants on the Ambassador, which is possibly the longest surviving car brand in the world. "We have been cat napping, but now we are back. We have decided that we will not change the basic look of the car. But we will work with various companies to improve the power train in the Ambassador,'' Mr Birla said.

Speaking on the decision to give the Ambassador a more retro look rather than to make it more modern, Mr B.K. Chaturvedi, Executive Director, Hindustan Motors, said: ``We had conducted a study and found that there is much crowding in the contemporary looks segment. Further, people are increasingly turning back to retro-looking cars and all the recent successes in the international markets prove so. "Meanwhile, combined with the changes (which include power steering, a remote shift gear, a better finish inside, and a new acoustic package developed in association with France-based Treves), the company is hoping its strength in safety, roominess and spare parts availability will help boost sales for the car. The car will be targeted at the retail consumer, the government as well as those with large families."

According to Mr Suhel Seth, Chief Executive Officer, Equus Advertising: ``The company won't take the mass marketing route to promote the Ambassador. Instead, the concentration will be on direct marketing. We will make use of the large database of consumers (which have owned the Ambassador) to promote the Ambassador.''

The company will soon be launching more variants of the Ambassador. It will also introduce the option of customising the Ambassador (on the same lines as the `My Lancer' customisation) for consumers.

Amongst other plans, the company is looking to widen its target base in the institutional segment by the launch of 10 new variants of the RTV. The RTVs are now being positioned as Government utility vehicles, crew cabs, pick up vehicle, hotel courtesy bus, etc. Its latest launch, the 2000cc load carrying vehicle Porter Plus is expected to be introduced in April this year and will be priced at Rs 3.25 lakh.

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