Hind Motor Financial Corporation of India (HMFCI) and French automotive producer Peugeot are, by a three way partnership, reportedly engaged on relaunching the Ambassador in a brand new avatar. Some say the common-or-garden Amby, because it was lovingly referred to, might even be introduced again as an electrical car (EV).
“As an EV, it will do better than as a non-EV. The brand name is a help. It still resonates with at least two generations of folk in India,” says model and enterprise technique knowledgeable Harish Bijoor.
However, India has modified, and so has its wheels. Historically, the Ambassador was in vogue between the early Sixties until the late Eighties, when it was thought of a sturdy automotive, versus the Impalas and Chevrolets of the day.
At the height of its reign, the Ambassador had a B2C (business-to-consumer) attraction, which died quickly sufficient, due to the Maruti revolution (800 and Zen) ,adopted by the Contessa, Daewoo Cielo and the Premier 118 NE.
Despite some engine overhauls and beauty modifications right here and there, Ambassador was relegated to being a B2B (business-to-business) automotive ultimately — both one which authorities officers selected to make use of, or later, a taxi model — one thing that at all times accelerates the erosion of name worth in shopper minds.
“With more choice, consumers saw the Ambassador as regressively old-tech, unstylish and rather unreliable,” says Shivaji Dasgupta, MD, Inexgro Brand Advisory.
Then got here the ultimate downfall, when the B2B enterprise began falling as nicely, on the altar of automobiles that seemed extra stunning, sturdier and proved their price on Indian roads.
“The analogy is that of the Volkswagen Beetle. It is the same story now. The Beetle is a romance, and not a car. So is the Ambassador,” Bijoor says. “The upcoming Ambassador, armed with a standard marketing plan, could fail.”
So it seems like nostalgia by itself is probably not a sufficiently big ‘pull’ issue. “There was a time in India when you could buy any car of any colour, provided it was an Ambassador. But for the last 30 years, no one has missed the Amby,” says Naresh Gupta, co-founder and chief technique officer, Bang within the Middle.
“It was a tough vehicle to drive, difficult to maintain and technologically, 30 years older than the Maruti 800. The car just ceased to have any demand.” Sure, it could possess a form that’s simply recognised, however that “means nothing, when it comes to consumer desire,” Gupta provides.
The new Amby, if sporting the identical form, might turn into a topic of memes, in accordance with model analysts. It isn’t any secret that with elevated competitors and extra subtle shopper aspirations, right now’s automotive purchaser may be very completely different from the occasions when automobiles had white cotton cloth seat covers, Gupta notes.
“Frankly, there is no space today for a retro-looking, nostalgia-driven car. Today’s audience changes cars often, looks at newer body styles, and needs social acceptance. Even Mahindra struggled with the original retro-looking Thar, till it was modernised and made to appeal to singles wanting a statement car,” he says.
For a profitable relaunch, the worth proposition have to be thrilling for the retail buyer. “Only when the product in its primary format is interesting, can the residual fairness be dropped at the social gathering.
Unknown entities like MG and Kia have been moderately profitable, despite negligible previous associations, purely on the energy of the intrinsic buyer worth,” notes Dasgupta.Iconic manufacturers from the ’70s and ’80s have, when relaunched, struggled to evolve with the occasions.
Onida, Kelvinator, Nokia, Motorola, Blackberry, and even Bajaj Chetak usually are not what they was once. “Nostalgia makes for a good social media post, but a tough proposition to sell,” says Gupta. There are some manufacturers, although, which have aced the relaunch recreation by basing their comeback on buyer centricity.
“A very interesting case is the Baleno from Maruti, which became successful when relaunched as a premium hatchback from a premium sedan, quite unusual in this category,” says Dasgupta.
When one seems at music label HMV, he says, it was relaunched unsuccessfully as digital music and movie manufacturing label Saregama by the RPSG Group.
But its Carvaan machine succeeded, presumably as a result of the format was customer-centric — a superb utility of constructive nostalgia in design, and up to date insights in presentation.
Given the challenges within the automotive market presently, the Ambassador has lots of floor to cowl.”Notably, millennials don’t subscribe to the manufacturers of the ‘Nehruvian Socialism’ period. Considering their prolificity within the auto market — EVs included — the Ambassador has a tall process forward,” says Dasgupta.