SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — French car manufacturer Peugeot has purchased India’s most iconic car brand from its maker Hindustan Motors in a deal that signifies the passing of the country’s presence in the industry.

Over the weekend, the C.K. Birla Group that owns Hindustan Motors said it had signed an agreement with Peugeot SA to sell the Ambassador for 800 million rupees ($12 million).

The large Ambassador sedan remained largely unchanged from a design standpoint for more than five decades, taxiing the country’s elite, including prime ministers, visiting heads of state and celebrities. The car represented a flashback to times when India’s policy of economic self-sufficiency meant domestically produced cars were the norm.

First built in 1948, the Ambassador was the only luxury car available in India till the mid1980s. By the time the early 1990s had arrived, economic reforms had opened new doors to small car manufacturers. Hindustan Motors stopped making Ambassadors in 2014 after about 2,200 cars were sold in 2013.

The Ambassador was modeled after the British Morris Oxford III, its lumbering shape was fitted for India’s pot-holed roads and rugged terrain. However, poor fuel economy and the lack of luxury led a rising Indian middle class to aspire to own cheaper, newer models that were more fuel efficient and easier to move through the country’s crowded cities. Soon displaced by its Japanese and Korean competitors, the Ambassador was relegated to taxi services and government departments. That has begun to end as the Indian government transition to smaller and swifter vehicles.

It is unclear what exactly the French car maker plans to do with the Ambassador brand.

Peugeot left India in the 1990s after a failed joint-venture effort, but last month signed an agreement with Birla to return to the fast-growing market. The French company said it will invest $107 million in a Hindustan Motors manufacturing facility in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

That deal includes hiking manufacturing capacity to 100,000 vehicles a year, to take advantage of the rapid growth in India, where car sales expanded 7 percent to 2.96 million cars last year.

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.