Hindustan Motors-European co JV will launch electric two-wheelers by next year
Hindustan Motors (HM), the former maker of the iconic ‘Ambassador’ cars, plans to form a new joint venture with a European partner to manufacture electric two-wheelers by next year, a senior official has said.
It may consider making electric four-wheelers at a later date, he said.
The financial due diligence of the two companies will start in July which will take two months, after which the technical aspects of the joint venture will be reviewed and it will take another month, Hindustan Motors Director Uttam Bose told PTI.
“Only then will the investment structuring (will be decided) and the new company formed, and that should be completed by February 15,” he said.
Bose said that after the formation of the new entity, it will take two more quarters to pilot the project, adding that the final product is expected to launch by the end of the next fiscal year.
After two years of marketing the two-wheeler project, a decision will be made on manufacturing four-wheel electric vehicles, the company’s senior official said.
Bose also said its Uttarpara factory will need to be upgraded as some of the control systems, as well as electronic hardware and software, need to be replaced.
He said HM was the only original equipment manufacturer (OEM) in the country, with its own forging, foundry and paint shop, as well as an assembly and welding shop, making the Uttarpara plant a fully integrated automotive plant.
However, the company closed the factory in 2014 due to lack of demand for Ambassador cars, and later sold the iconic marque to French automaker Peugeot for a realization of Rs 80 crore. It also sold its luxury car brand “Contessa” to SG Mobility.
The West Bengal government had given permission to HM to sell around 314 acres of land to the Uttarpara factory for alternative use, after which the plot was sold to a property developer.
“Hindustan Motors is making a profit now and is a fully debt-free business,” Bose said.
With a current workforce of around 300 employees, Bose said people would be chosen for the new project based on their suitability.
When commercial production begins, about 400 people will be employed on the project, he said.