India: A History of Automotive Manufacturing
Though ready-to-be-driven motor cars were imported and sold in the very early years of the automobile, some of the car manufacturers also shipped out chassis-engine ensembles, to be ‘bodied’ in India. Thus the coachbuilding of bodies was perhaps the earliest automotive ‘manufacturing’ activity in India, and given a tradition for skilled woodwork, several Indian coachbulding companies had an early start.
The oldest known was that of Steuart & Co, from Calcutta. Established in 1775, over the years, Steuart & Co had built up a very fine reputation for their ornate and elaborate state coaches, howdahs for elephants and a variety of horse carriages, many sumptuously decorated with gold, silver and ivory.