Ignore the spoof stories doing the rounds again of restarted production at SIL. In reality the firm is up for auction.
The Lucknow-based scooter and 3-wheeler manufacturer has recently been put up for sale by the Indian government. According to CarAndBike Team, the government plan to leverage the Lambretta name to boost the value of the sale.
Scooters India Ltd (SIL) was formed in 1972 when the Indian Government bought the entire scooter and 3-wheeler production line from Innocenti, but the first scooters – made using many Italian parts – were not produced until 1975.
SIL badged their home-market scooters as Vijai, but continued to use the Lambretta brand for exported machines. I visited the factory in 1996 and at that time the firm had already decided to concentrate on 3-wheeler production. There were still some half-finished Lambrettas on the production line which would go on to become the last completed batch sold in 1997-98.
Subsequently SIL spent years of being rated as a ‘sick company’ despite repeated investments. The government currently owns 93.74% shares of the company and the remaining shares are with Special National Investment Fund (3.94%) and the Public (2.32%).
Recently the Department of Heavy Industries announced that the Indian government planned to disinvest 100 per cent equity holding in Scooters India Limited to a “strategic buyer who will be identified through two stage auction process”.
The buyer will purchase all assets including Land & Buildings, Furniture & Fixtures, Civil Infrastructure like roads, drains, compound wall, etc. and Plant & Machinery including electrical, stock, inventory of spares in stores etc. on an “as is where is basis”.
The government have specified certain financial requirements for the purchasers including “at least 3 valuations in the last 5 years of assets of similar nature, of value of Rs.100 crore (£12M) or more in each case.”
“Financial Bid will be opened only after the presentations of only those parties who qualify in the technical evaluation” continued the statement.
What does it mean for vintage Lambretta parts supply?
To all extents and purposes the parts supply of official replacement Lambretta parts has just about dried up from the factory, though firms like Scooter Restorations and AF Rayspeed still have many items in stock.
For important and high-demand parts like crankcases and engine parts, there are now many aftermarket suppliers producing far better quality components that SIL ever did.
If you have an old Lambretta to keep on the road then spares supply should not be a concern.
Between the lines
Previously when the Indian government have tried to sell SIL they have courted large muilti-national companies to continue with the factory as a production facility, all of whom have backed off.
Recently we mentioned in an article on the Lambretta trademark that the Indian Government were continuing to fight in the EU courts over the brand name.
It could turn out that the bidders in this auction are far more interested in the intellectual property of Scooters India Limited than anything physical.
Thanks to Matthias for the tip-off