There is plenty of blurb on the interesting net, so this is as brief as possible!
Piaggio first licensed the production of Vespa Scooters in India to Bajaj Autos during the 1960s. In 1971, the license was not renewed but Bajaj continued to produce their own Scooters, namely the “Chetak”, using the design and engineering knowledge gained.
Bajaj officially ceased “Chetak” production on the 31st December 2005
Meanwhile in 1983, Piaggio had teamed-up with a new partner in India, LML Motors in Kanpur (The company formerly known as Lohia Machines Ltd) This started out as a joint-venture, with LML being a supplier of parts for Piaggio and also producing the P-Series Scooters for the Indian market, namely the LML NV150 2t, a hybrid of the PX Mk1 & EFL
The LML Select (similar to a Mk1 T5) was launched in 1993 with the latest technology and aesthetics and became an instantaneous success.
LML have manufactured a version of every Piaggio model, at some point, including Small-frames. These include PX Scooters exported direct to Italy for Piaggio to marque and market as Vespa PX’s. It has been suggested that upto 1 in 10 Italian PX’s on mainland Europe are in fact LML built!
In 1999, LML obtained Piaggio’s share of the company and the partnership ceased, but LML continued to produce their own Scooters for the home & export markets. In the UK the PX150 was known as the importer, AKII’s – ‘Aura LML’ whilst in the US of A, it was marketed as the “Stella”.
LML also continued their successful ‘Star’ 150-2t version of the PX125
In 1999, LML entered into an agreement with the Daelim Motor Company of South Korea to manufacture 4-stroke motorcycles.
In 2000, the company was recognized by the Indian Ministry of Science and Technology for remarkable success in introducing new models/upgrades of scooters in the market with more fuel-efficient engines, new electrical systems, latest emission norms, upgraded technology, improved styling etc, and that year entered the motorcycle market with upper-end lifestyle bikes of 100cc, using 3-valve technology.
‘Freedom’, LML‘s first deluxe commuter motorcycle of 110cc, was launched in 2002. The next year ‘Spirit of Freedom’ (range expansion through colours) was launched.
2004 and the company introduced the LML ‘Graptor’, marking its entry into the 150cc lifestyle segment. It was the first indigenously designed bike from Ugoli, Italy.
2004 marked LML‘s transition from a single product company to a multi-product two wheeler company with three simultaneous launches: the LML ‘Graptor’ (150cc), the LML ‘Freedom Prima’ (110cc) and LML the ‘Freedom Prima’ (125 cc).
It is generally agreed that LML had over-stretched themselves launching so many motorcycles that were almost identical to their competitors but slightly more expensive.
In Feb 2006 a yearlong strike and factory closure almost finished off LML as a business. Credit-Suisse and other institutions have invested new finance. The factory reopened in March 8, 2008 to manufacture geared Vespa style scooters, primarily for export only, which have always been lucrative for LML
The complete 40-Hectare site in Kanpur is capable of producing 39,000 scooters and motorcycles per month. The last reported figures were confirming manufacturing of 5-7000 (summer 2009) scooters (no motorcycles) per month – the factory is operating at a fraction of its full capacity.
However the good news is that LML finally realise that they have, by accident a design icon, which is unique. A design that might not have contractually the right to hold the ‘Vespa’ name anymore, but is never the less instantly recognisable Worldwide. Also in addition there is no competition, quite simply nobody is making metal bodied geared classic scooters anymore since the deletion of the Bajaj ‘Chetak’ and the Honda ‘Eterno’ scooters in 2008. LML is now in a position where it has a unique product loved the World over and is in this position when bizarrely there has been a revival of the domestic scooter market. LML could be summarised as the Royal Enfield of the Scooter World.
As of Dec 2009 LML seem to be in a much improving situation. Sales have been re-introduced in to the domestic market and more importantly the long awaited four-stroke has been released in different World Markets.
Europe received its first 4t scooters in Dec 09 in 125 & 150cc formats. The 200cc version failed emissions status and is presently being re engineered back at the factory for re-testing. The launch of the 4t to run alongside the 2t is a revolution in Classic Scootering and is the biggest development for years. The 125 has a potential to deliver as much as 170mpg! Official.
The 2t will continue until 2012 and possibly if there is still a demand for it be injected with view to euro 4 Status. The geared 4t will continue with a 250cc LML Italia special engine and in 2011 a third in the series of CVT or auto scooters will be released. These all have in common the style of the original PX125’s, 150’s & 200’s
LML are fully aware that the product will be degraded if they tried to radically alter the Classic Styling.
Current LML Scooter lines include:
LML ‘Star Deluxe’, 125 & 150cc 2t – UK & Europe
LML ‘Via Toscana’ 125cc 2t (2009 UK) a re-badged and upgraded Star Dlx
LML ‘Stella’ 150cc 2t – North America
LML ‘Star’ from LML Italia, 125cc 2t and from Sep 09 onwards the 125,150 & 200cc 4t Geared Scooters + the geared 4t jota in 2010
LML ‘Bella Donna’ 150 RV (Australasian)
LML ‘NV SPL’, export and some to domestic market 2008 onwards
LML ‘NV 150’ 4t (Delhi and Ghaziabad only) 2009 onwards