“Hamara Bajaj” commercial

I was just Googlestalking someone (more about that link in a minute) and found the famous “Hamara Bajaj” commercial in her YouTube favorites. I’ve always heard how great this commercial is, but never seen it until now. Assuming the swastika at :28 holds a different meaning in Indian culture than it does in Western culture (I’m pretty sure it does), it is a very touching tribute. Now MAKE SOME, Bajaj! I stand by my assertion that Bajaj will unveil the perfect scooter exactly one month after the worldwide scooter boom comes to an end.

Pics from LML Factory Tour

Two pages worth of photos from the LML factory in Kanpur show the most detailed aspects of PX-clone production we’ve seen to date. Credit to the boys at Eddybullet.com and Xytar of the BBS for posting the link.

sidenote : I really wish that PK copy would have made it to American shores. I wonder if those were part of the Genuine / LML smallframe rumors i heard several years back that never materialized.

Indian makers explore natural gas models

RedOrbit reports that LML, Bajaj, Honda, and Kinetic are all working on natural-gas powered concept bikes, possibly including dual-fuel options. Just thought we’d throw that in there with all the 210cc nuclear-powered rotary-engine automatic time-travelling Stella rumors floating around.

New LMLs: The Scootering story

Most of this thread is proof that Modern Vespa has eclipsed the stupidity of the BBS, but it includes scans of Scootering’s story about LML’s 4-stroke geared scooters, presumably someday to be known as the “Stella 250.” Great info there, and nice to see Scootering’stypesetting hasn’t improved in the several years since I’ve bought an issue. Peignot? Come on! England’s hatred of the French apparently doesn’t extend to shitty French typefaces.

LML: 4T PX, ET clones available soon?

The March 2008 issue of Scootering confirms earlier reports that LML (the Indian manufacturer of the Genuine Stella) is ready to start production of 4-stroke geared Vespa-PX scooters. The story, written by an owner of UK LML importers Eddy Bullet, reports that 125, 150, and 250(!)cc versions are in the works. On a recent trip to New Zealand, VCOA historian John Gerber met the local LML importer (Retro Scooter, who import the LML as the Belladonna) who also confirmed the news, though he didn’t mention a 250cc version. He reports the Belladonna is selling very well in New Zealand. Gerber also met an Indian scooterist living in New Zealand who had actually ridden the long-rumored LML Clipper (a clone of the Vespa ET-series).
Continue reading “LML: 4T PX, ET clones available soon?”

Bajaj sales down

Following recent news that Italian scooter sales have dropped, Bajaj Auto’s January report shows a 15% drop in two-wheeler sales. More astonishing: In 2000, Bajaj sold close to 800,000 Chetaks, if we’re reading this data correctly, only 1,100 of the 1,66,492 two-wheelers they sold in January are scooters (presumably Kristals, their only current model). All you readers who wonder why we cover Bajaj might have a point. (TradingMarkets.com)

Piaggio steps up Asian operations, hybrids due late 2008

Bobby and Ravi, together again

At a press event in Mumbai today, Piaggio announced plans to re-enter the Indian scooter market, focusing on manufacturing hybrids for the local market by 2010. The press release states that the company will be selling Vespa/Piaggio hybrids in Europe by the end of this year.

Piaggio has been producing 3- and 4-wheeled utility vehicles in India for years, but has avoided the crowded scooter market. The press release also lists new agreements with partners and suppliers, and hints at more. It also outlines their operations in China (a partnership with Zongshen Group, making Piaggios for local and world markets), Vietnam (a new factory manufacturing scooters for local markets), and Japan (a new importer/distributor).

$2500 Tata Nano

The big news today, of course, is the launch of India’s Tata Motors’ $2500 Nano automobile. That’s right, India is building cars (there are more on the way from other makers, including a possible Renault/Bajaj collaboration) that cost half as much as a new Vespa. And Tata, who you’ve probably never heard of until this week, is a rapidly-growing superpower with steel, manufacturing, automotive, industrial, and hotel resources. The company is currently in the process of acquiring the pride of their former imperialist conqueror, Land Rover/Jaguar, from Ford Motor Co.

Ratan Tata, quoted in a press release, described the origins of the car:

I observed families riding on two-wheelers–the father driving the scooter, his young kid standing in front of him, his wife seated behind him holding a little baby. It lead me to wonder whether one could conceive of a safe, affordable, all-weather form of transport for such a family.