Starting by assembling the six-cylinder Studebaker Champions, Hindustan Motors began its Morris assembly operations with the Ten, launched in India as the Hindustan 10 in 1949, the latter becoming the first model of car with an Indian branding.
Made By Indians
The first of the Indian industrialists to look at assembling cars in India after the bankruptcy of International Tyre & Motor Company was Walchand Hirachand Doshi. Walchand went to the US in 1939 looking to collaborate with one of the American Big Three for the manufacture of cars. As both GM and Ford already had assembly facilities in India, Walchand Hirachand eventually ended up with Chrysler Corporation, signing up in 1940. But then WWII intervened, and car production was put aside for the war effort.
Another wealthy industrialist, Ghanshyam Das Birla incorporated Hindustan Motors in 1942. And automobile enthusiast (and owner of a Bugatti Type 35A) J R D Tata decided to get the Tata Group to incorporate Tata Engineering & Locomotive Company Limited (TELCO) in 1945, with plans to make locomotives and vehicles. In Punjab, a company called Mahindra & Mohammed was incorporated in 1945 to initially trade in steel.
Post WW II and the independence of India in 1947, once things had stabilized the business of car manufacturing and assembly was once again considered. By 1948, Mahindra & Mohammed had become Mahindra & Mahindra, as business partner Ghulam Mohammed left for Pakistan to become Pakistan’s first finance minister.
Though Hindustan Motors began work on a new factory near Calcutta in 1948, it was Premier Automobiles who were the first off the block in early 1949, when the first set of Dodge, Plymouth and DeSoto badged cars rolled off their factory near Bombay, along with the first batch of trucks with Dodge, Fargo and DeSoto branding.