Italian Lambretta gears up for comeback
NEW DELHI: Lambretta is all set to make a comeback to India. Long before it faded into oblivion in the mid-70s, the Italian brand, which had become popular along with Vespa and Bajaj, had made deep inroads into India. The brand was a trusted choice for families and businessmen, who rode the sturdy but bulky scooter, that was also featured across many Hollywood and Bollywood movies of the time.
With a new owner and fresh investments in place, Lambretta is ready for a run on the Indian roads once again, with plans to have local production, which would also cater to exports across the world, including home market Italy.
Bringing it back is Walter Scheffrahn, a Dutch investor and a Lambretta enthusiast, who bought the brand as well as Innocenti, the company that originally developed and launched Lambrettas in 1947 in Milan, Italy, and gradually expanded across the world.
As competition intensified in early 70s, including from cars, the Innocenti family, which focused on expensive designs and Italian craftsmanship for Lambretta, couldn’t continue with the brand, which had to be shut down due to poor demand.
In India, the brand is believed to have made a debut around the 50s through Automobile Products of India (API) that originally assembled the scooters. This was acquired by state-owned Scooters India (SIL) in early 1970s, which bought Innocenti’s plant and machinery, design, and copyright. Around 1975, SIL started the production of scooters under the brand name of Vijai Super, though this too had to be phased out in late 1990s due to negligible sales.