Hindustan Motors has trademarked the Contessa name suggesting that it could make a comeback in a new avatar in the future
Hindustan Motors, the country’s first car producer, has a famed history in the domestic market as it retailed legendary models such as the Ambassador and the Contessa for many years. The Contessa, in particular, was drenched with luxury for its time and it was manufactured between 1984 and 2002. Barring the Standard 2000 and the Premier 118 NE, it had no competitors.
Based on the Vauxhall VX series, the Contessa stirred up quite a cult following and is still a wet dream for many enthusiasts and car modifiers. The Contessa was rolled out alongside the beloved Ambassador at the Uttarpara plant in West Bengal and the muscle car of India has now been trademarked by HM, giving us early signs that it could make a comeback in the future.
The HM Contessa initially had a 50 hp 1.5-litre BMC engine and to address the lack of power, the brand joined hands with Isuzu Motors as the 1.8-litre petrol engine was an epitome of performance back in the day besides offering sumptuous ride quality and ample cabin space. While we cannot expect the future Contessa to be a muscle car, it may not boast an ICE unit either.
Recent reports indicate that Hindustan Motors and a Europe-based company have entered into advanced talks for a JV and a Mou (Memorandum of Understanding) had also been signed. Uttam Bose, Director of Hindustan Motors told in an interview that the project would include the launch of two-wheelers as well as four-wheelers.
The manufacturer declared suspension of work in May 2014 in West Bengal due to low production and demand while the Pithampur facility declared a layoff with effect from December 2014. It must be noted that PSA Group signed two joint ventures with CK Birla group in January 2017 and the Ambassador nameplate was bought for Rs. 80 crore from Hindustan Motors.
Speculations also suggest that the developmental work on a new Ambassador has begun with the design and mechanical work for the new powertrain at an advanced stage but details regarding the new Contessa remain a mystery.