India’s automobile history can be easily summarised as pre and post Maruti.
Hindustan Motors and Premier were the two main car brands prior to Maruti. Hindustan Motors’s “Ambassador” and Premier’s “Padmini” had many fan following.
Maruti- The Family car
Then came Maruti, incorporated as Maruti Limited under the Companies Act with Sanjay Gandhi as its first managing director.
In 1981, Maruti Udyog Limited was incorporated, in joint venture with Japanese car maker Suzuki and the first car – Maruti 800 – was launched in December 1983.
But then there were other car manufacturers also, one being Bangalore-based Sipani Automobiles Ltd. Sipani launched many variants including ‘Dolphin’ and ‘Montana’.
D1 or Montana D1 – The only way to arrive!
In 1990, they launched Sipani D1 with the help of British technology and marketed as the family car. But the design was almost as same as Maruti 800. As per Wikipedia, Sipani manufactured 290 cars in the fiscal year 1989-90 and 190 cars in 1991.