Well ahead of it’s time was what the LML Select II was all about when it was launched, replete with turn indicators, the spare wheel under the left pannier, an instrumentation console with fuel gauge and even a clock making it into the equation. Add to this a grunty 150cc two stroke engine producing 8 Bhp, the LML Select II simply stood head and shoulders higher than the Bajaj Chetaks and the Priyas of this world.
Yet, Lohia Machinery Limited, popularly known as LML and the Vespa brand simply failed to click in India despite Piaggio providing technical knowhow to LML. After the scooter market bottomed out in the late nineties, a failed foray into motorcycle, initially with a tie up with Korean motorcycle makr Daelim to build and sell the Adreno and Energy twins and later the Freedom 110cc four stroker saw LML shut shop in India.
In the meantime though, LML’s scooter imports to countries across the world continued steadily. The NCR region of India somehow never got over the scooter obsession and this spurred LML to make a comeback with the four stroke versions of the various Vespa models like the NV and the NV SPL that it used to sell before it went under. Oh, how can we forget the still born LML Beamer 150.
These models were sold only in the NCR region on a built to order basis while LML continued to grow it’s exports. Now, things seem to have come a full circle for LML and for India as a scooter market, as LML has just pulled the wraps off a four stroke iteration of the popular Select model, aptly named as the Select 4.
The Select 4 features a 150cc four stroke engine producing 8.6 Bhp of peak power at 6200 rpm and 11.3 Nm of peak torque at 4250 rpm. The engine is mated to a cable shift, hand operated 4 speed manual transmission. The kick start version will cost INR 47, 140 while the electric start version will cost INR 50, 948, both prices ex-showroom, New Delhi.
Is this the beginning of a new trend in the Indian two wheeler market as more and more players seek to make inroads into the scooter segment. Yamaha is all set to bring in a range of sporty scooters to India by next year and so is Piaggio. Also on the anvil are new scooters from Hero MotoCorp, TVS and Suzuki apart from market leader Honda having it’s own plans.
Beginning with this scooter, LML seeks to slowly expand it’s product portfolio later this year with a 100cc and a 125cc four motorcycle later this year. The motorcycles will be joined by a sub 125cc gearless scooter and the 20cc four stroke LML Star which is to be positioned as a lifestyle scooter to take on the likes of the Piaggio LX125, which will be launched sometime next year. With that, let’s hope that LML gets back into action in a full fledged way in India and offers Indian customers class leading choices like it did in it’s last innings.