Kolkata: As Hindustan Motors (HM) sells its iconic brand, Ambassador, to French auto giant Peugeot, it not only witnesses the end of an era but also brings forth the inability of most indigenous carmakers to keep up with foreign makers. Experts feel the situation is due to lack of investment into research and development.

Industry experts pointed out that the C K Birla-owned Hindustan Motors owe much of its problems today due to lack of initiatives to modernise the Ambassador plant at Uttarpara in Hooghly district of West Bengal. HM introduced the brand in 1957, based on the Morris Landmaster. While the car was a national icon till the 1980s, the inadequacies in it were exposed after Maruti 800 emerged as an alternative.

HM announced the BSE on Friday that it has signed an agreement with Peugeot for the “sale of the Ambassador brand…” for Rs 80 crore. Incidentally, this would be Peugeot’s second venture into the Indian market since it tied up with PAL for assembling and selling Peugeot 309 for three years in the mid-1990s. Earlier this year, Peugeot formed a JV with the C K Birla Group for the latter’s Chennai plant.