maximise valuation of the loss-making automaker Scooters India.
The Heavy Industries Ministry is planning to put up the company for "strategic sale," which includes sale of government shareholding along with transfer of management control.
However, leveraging the Lambretta brand may be easier said than done with the iconic brand being used by several firms including fan websites and a UK-based company called Lambretta Licensing Ltd which uses the brand to sell products such as men's apparel and accessories. On their website, Lambretta Licensing states that the company has been given "exclusive rights by Lambretta Srl to expand and develop the Lambretta brand globally." The company has yet to respond to a query from carandbike.com about the ownership and rights of the Lambretta brand.
The Lambretta line of motor scooters was initially manufactured in Milan, Italy by Innocenti in the post-World War II era, beginning in 1947. By the late 1960s, Lambretta started struggling as demand for motor scooters fell in Europe. In the 1950s, Automobile Products of India (API) started assembling Innocenti-built Lambretta scooters in India.
In 1972, Scooters India Limited bought the entire Lambretta manufacturing and trademark rights, and produced models under the Vijay Super name and also distributed completely knocked down units which were assembled under different brand names like Allwyn Pushpak, Falcon and Kesri. SIL's production finally ceased in 1997. The disinvestment in Scooters India is part of the government's plans of strategic stake sale in loss-making central public sector enterprises. Scooters India used to manufacture the popular Lambretta scooters in the 1970s.
The disinvestment of Scooters India had cropped up in the past, but successive governments could not implement the plan, due to divergent views within the government and employees of the company. Despite revival packages including sanctioning a "financial package," Scooters India continued to incur losses and eventually was declared "sick".
Last month, Scooters India Limited informed the BSE that the company has appointed a new Chairman and Managing Director, but carandbike.com has been unable to contact the CMD for a response to the sale of SIL. Earlier this year, there were reports of a new Lambretta model under development, called the L70, and designed by Austrian-based Kiska design. According to latest reports, the L70, to be called Vendetta, could likely be unveiled to commemorate Lambretta's 70th anniversary in 2017. Now the question remains is - what turn the brand takes, both in terms of its future as well as ownership.