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Hind Motors hopes to sell 15,000 Ambys this fiscal

Our Bureau

KOLKATA, March 6

HINDUSTAN Motors Ltd is hopeful of selling about 15,000 units of the Ambassador car in the current fiscal. In 2000-2001, the company sold around 17,000 cars.

The decline in Ambassador sales in the current financial year has been attributed mainly to the confusion over the use of CNG in Delhi and restrictions on issuance of taxi permits in Kolkata.

According to Mr G. Lakshmma Reddy, Vice-President (Marketing) of Hindustan Motors Ltd, the confusion surrounding the CNG issue restricted Ambassador sales in Delhi.

In Kolkata, where nearly 100 per cent of the taxis on the roads are Ambassadors, sale of the vehicle was affected after local transport authorities decided to restrict issuance of taxi permits to contain congestion on roads in the city.

In the next fiscal, however, Ambassador sales are likely to touch 20,000 units. This would be facilitated with the introduction of power steering variants of the vehicle that were launched here today.

Hindustan Motors has equipped two of its Ambassador models — the Ambassador Classic 2000 DSZ and the Ambassador Classic 1800 ISZ — with power steering.

Mr Reddy told a news conference here that a power-steering version of the Ambassador had been a long-standing demand of customers, especially owners of self-driven vehicles.

In 2002-2003, Hindustan Motors was hopeful of selling at least 2,000 units of power steering-equipped Ambassador models.

He said the power-steering retrofitment facility in the existing 2000 cc and 1800 cc Ambassador cars would be available from the third quarter of 2002-2003. However, this would entail a cost of Rs 33,000, including fitment charges.

Agreeing that power-steering variants of the Ambassador were long overdue, Mr Reddy said the delay on this score was due to technical changes that were required to be made at the manufacturing facility at Uttarpara near here.

"Earlier, we asked you to drive the Ambassador with your hands. Now we shall tell you to drive it with your fingers,'' he said.

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