In news that will delight fans of a famous brand from yesteryear, Lohia Machinery Limited – or LML, as it was more commonly known – has announced its comeback in the Indian two-wheeler market and is set to commence its second innings by stepping into the fast-growing electric two-wheeler space. On 8 September, LML announced it has devised ‘an extensive plan to foray into India’s EV two-wheeler sector’ and that it is ‘laying the groundwork to re-appear in the market.’
While details are scarce at this point, LML says its return is ‘backed up by large investments’ with an as-yet-unnamed investing partner. The statement says LML has received proposals from ‘various technology companies’ to resurrect the once-popular brand. However, no names have been disclosed so far.
LML has also refrained from revealing details about the two-wheelers it intends to launch but has said it will be equipped with cutting-edge tech and targeted at the upper-middle and urban segments of society.
Commenting on this development, Dr. Yogesh Bhatia, MD & CEO, LML Electric, said, “We’re extremely excited to make a significant comeback. We are actively working on the product development strategies to introduce a highly innovative product equipped with the best of technology to enable & strengthen the urban mobility space. We want to empower the upper-middle and urban segments of society with our range of premium products to drive the change.”
Established in 1972, LML began its journey in the two-wheeler space when it tied up with Italian two-wheeler manufacturer Piaggio to produce its iconic Vespa scooter under license at its plant in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. In the years that followed, LML rolled out several iterations of the Vespa under its own brand name, which competed primarily against another Indian motoring icon, the Bajaj Chetak, which was also based on the Vespa.
However, LML’s association with Piaggio ended in 1999, post which the brand continued to produce scooters inspired by the Vespa, but with LML’s own scooter technology. Once the Honda Activa democratized automatic scooters, the LML range and the Bajaj Chetak found few takers. While the company soldiered on for several years, its ageing product lineup and increasing losses meant it ultimately had to file for insolvency in 2017.
Meanwhile, the Bajaj Chetak made its comeback in January 2020 as an all-electric scooter, and it looks like it will soon have to battle its old rival in the shape of the resurgent LML.