The Uttarpara plant of Hindustan Motors (HM) may soon be bustling again. The company has tied up with a European car manufacturer and getting set to make e-vehicles.
The Uttarpara plant, around 20km from the city proper, is the oldest car-manufacturing facility in India and the second oldest in Asia, after Japan’s Toyota. An MoU has already been signed between HM and the European company – the identity of which, as yet, is not being divulged by HM – and a definitive agreement would be signed in another year, said sources close to the development.
HM director Uttam Bose told TOI that if everything went according to plans, the plant, from where the last Ambassador rolled out in 2014, will again start making cars. The plant will first start making two-wheelers before moving on to cars.
Bose, who has been at the company for decades, said HM was now debt-free, following a series of financial restructuring moves over the years, and that it had a positive net worth.
Suspension of work at the Uttarpara plant was declared in October 2014. “At that time, the number of employees was 2,300, which has now come down to 300. We have reduced our accumulated losses by selling land parcels to the Hiranandani Group as well,” Bose added. The director said that in the proposed joint venture, HM would offer land and some funds, while the European company would provide technology and some funds. “Initially, we were talking to some Chinese EV firms, but then we decided to go for a European company. The company we have chosen has sound technology,” he added.
HM, European car maker likely to invest 600 cr in JV
Hindustan Motors (HM) director Uttam Bose said the estimated investment for the joint venture with the European company would be Rs 600 crore, but the detailed figure would emerge in another year.
Bose pointed out that the existing plant area – 90 acres – would be used for the project. Apart from the 90-acre area, the company has more land on the premises.
“The total land parcel with us at Uttarpara is 275 acres. So, land would not be a problem. The Uttarpara plant was an integrated plant with all facilities, some of which can be remodelled,” he said.
The director said the joint venture would have access to HM’s distribution network. “We have already initiated discussions with distributors, and they are keen to work with us,” he said, adding that HM had 250 distributors across the country till 2014.
In 2021, the Hiranandani Group had entered into an MoU in the state to set up a logistics and hyperscale data centre park in the region. The group had signed an MoU to acquire 100 acres in Uttarpara from HM to set it up.
The project was announced by chief minister Mamata Banerjee, along with a host of other IT and power projects.
In 2008-09, Chennai-based Shriram Group had bought over 300 acres at the HM factory for real estate and an IT park.