News chunks 10/8/07

  • Like many economy-minded Americans, a rural-Illinois journalist buys a $2000 Honda Metropolitan to save (by my calculations) $50 a year on gas.
  • The Moped Army gets a story in their hometown paper, with a shout-out to the Jedi Knights SC.
  • As the entire Bajaj family continues to feud, merge, and demerge, Bajaj Auto is still closing their historic Akurdi plant. Or maybe not. But probably. Whatever happens, it will take eons to sort it out with the unions. Of course, motorcycle sales are down and scooter sales are up, even Suzuki Motors India, one of the smaller players, is hoping to sell 125,000 scooters this year (and a 500cc Hayabusa, which in India might as well be two million crore cubic lakh-o-meters). So as soon as the dust settles and the plant closes at the peak of the scooter boom, look for our long-predicted announcement of the retro “new” Chetak, and the reopening of Akurdi, just as the scooter market tanks again.
  • Did you know: They have scooters in Arkansas now. (For the uninitiated, Arkansas is a southern American unincorporated rural province where newspaper editors use “apostrophe-s” to pluralize word’s.) It is, however, always great to see a club doing charity work. In other Arkansas scooter news, 20 University of Arkansas football players are riding scooters, which seems to be a trend among college football players lately, though I can’t find any more info right now to back that up.
  • Speaking of charity, a bunch of pub regulars in Birmingham, England are raffling a Lambretta painted in Aston Villa colors to raise money for a local childrens’ home. Meanwhile, the childrens’ home is selling candy to raise money for football lessons for Gareth Barry. (That was a little soccer joke there.)
  • Scooters India, Ltd., the most recent manufacturers of the metal-bodied 4-speed 2-stroke Lambretta GP, is investing 186 million rupees ($US 8.79) to upgrade facilities. Don’t get excited, they’ve produced only three-wheelers since 1997.
  • This thing has been garnering schloads of press in the last week, even though it’s basically an enclosed mobility scooter that would fall over if it got hit by a tennis ball.
  • Scooter parking is getting harder in Taiwan, just like everywhere else.
  • Only the Cincinnati Enquirer would publish a photo of a scooter thief in retro prisonwear with a smashed up face, then offer to sell you the photo.