Hindustan Motors has recently trademarked the iconic 'Contessa' name. With Ambassador's resurrection already igniting the industry, this announcement may add additional gasoline to the flames in the days ahead. Hindustan Motors officially disclosed a new Ambassador in the works at their Chennai plant just a few weeks ago.
The upcoming Ambassador could be released as early as the end of 2023 or early 2024. Hind Motor Financial Corporation of India (HMFCI), a subsidiary of Hindustan Motors and the France-based Peugeot S.A. Group are collaborating on the initiative. Now with the trademarked 'Contessa' name, the Ambassador's brother will also see the light of day soon.
While Peugeot owns the Ambassador after purchasing it from Hindustan Motors in 2017 for more than Rs. 80 crores, the Contessa is still owned by the latter. They proved this once Hindustan Motors resurrected the muscle car's trademark.
Hindustan Motors produced the Contessa from 1984 until 2002. It was based on the 1976–1978 Vauxhall VX Series and the development of the Vauxhall Victor FE. The Contessa was powered by a 50 HP 1.5-litre BMC B-Series engine, which was also used in the Ambassador in a slightly modified version, and a Hindustan 4-speed gearbox.
Later, HM teamed with Isuzu and utilised its 1.8L petrol engine and 5-speed gearbox to create the Contessa Classic. Then, in the 1990s, the Contessa received a 2.0L Isuzu 4FC1, and the torquey nature of diesel engines helped to popularise the Contessa even more.
HM must equip these vehicles with the current conveniences and features that are expected of modern cars in this price range. To make the car stick in the Indian market, HM has to concentrate on its safety and impact resistance. Another issue that can make or break a product in India is its price. If HM does everything right, there will be no stopping nostalgic Indian clients and aficionados willing to pay the price of a modern-classic car.