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Exclusive: Scooter brand LML scouts for investors to launch another comeback

Promoters hope to rake in Rs 1,000 crore to develop two-wheeler scooters and bikes. Launch planned for late 2022, with manufacturing units in Haryana and Madhya Pradesh

September 09, 2021 / 11:37 AM IST
Representative image

Representative image

Kanpur-based LML Electric is talking to investors to give shape to its ambition of developing, manufacturing and distributing electric scooters, with a 2022 launch target.

The promoters of the newly registered company, led by Managing Director and CEO Yogesh Bhatia, said they are evaluating investment proposals from a number of interested parties who want to either become a strategic partner or technological partner or both.

“LML is a great brand and we need to tap its potential. We have received investment proposals from various parties which our team is evaluating. The promoters own 100 percent of the company as of now. We would like to close the fund-raising activity before the end of the October-December quarter. This project would require around Rs 1,000 crore,” Bhatia said in an interview with Moneycontrol.

Scooters first, bikes later

The electric two-wheeler segment is currently witnessing strong demand momentum for both low and high-speed models thanks to direct incentives provided by the Centre and States as well as new-generation technologies offered by the manufacturers.

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LML electric plans to use the investment to develop electric scooters initially, followed by electric motorcycles at a later stage. The funds will also be used to set up manufacturing capacity in Haryana and Madhya Pradesh, with an initial installed capacity of 100,000 units per annum, said Bhatia.

“We will be in a position to deliver our products by the end of 2022 November or December. We will start with scooters and in later stages we will have motorcycles just as we had LML bikes earlier. There will be multiple models with unique trendy designs and modern technology, which will have the typical LML feel,” he added.

Bhatia clarified that LML Electric is completely delinked from the yesteryear LML except for the brand. “There is no link between LML Electric Private Limited and the previous LML company. But the brand will be the same LML, under which we will have multiple product offerings. We are starting with a clean slate, it’s a fresh beginning,” Bhatia added.

The Old LML

The original LML, which was incorporated as Lohia Machines in 1972, was engaged in making synthetic yarn machines.

In 1984, the company, led by Deepak Singhania, signed a technical collaboration with Italy’s Piaggio to make scooters. The scooters had body styling similar to those manufactured by Bajaj Auto under the Chetak brand.

In 1999, Piaggio sought to terminate the partnership and by that time LML had become the second-largest scooter maker in India.

LML permanently shut operations in 2018 after multiple attempts to revive the business.

Targeting the mid-range segment

LML Electric aims to start off being a mid-range EV manufacturer whose products could be priced lower than Rs 1 lakh.

“Our scooters will be priced in the mid-range because we know how price sensitive the Indian consumer is. We know (Bajaj) Chetak sells for Rs 1.5 lakh and Ola is priced at Rs 1.25 lakh. Our product will be priced lower than this but there will be no compromise in features and specifications. We want to have products with swappable battery technology,” Bhatia added.

In-house design

LML Electric has appointed an external agency to provide inputs on consumer trends on design and styling. The company's first products will take shape based on these inputs.

While several electric two-wheelers sold in India are based on Chinese designs and technical know-how, LML Electric wants its products to be developed completely in-house.

“There will be one distribution partner in each district of the country. There will be more partners in large cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru. We plan to have 750-1,000 partners for a pan-India presence,” Bhatia added.
Swaraj Baggonkar
first published: Sep 9, 2021 11:37 am

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