In an interesting turn of events, LML Motors, the corporation which dished out the much-remembered Energy FX and Adreno FX motorcycles, is quietly charting it’s comeback trail.
LML Motors had failed to make any headlines after their iconic business partner Piaggio had packed their bags and left in erstwhile 1999. The company has been beleaguered since then, and their purple patch still continues. LML posted a net loss of Rs 45.2 crore in the fiscal year 2011-12. In the last quarter of 2012, the company’s net loss increased to Rs 17.46 crore from Rs 9.25 cr in the corresponding quarter last year.
However, the future is not bleak, according to Mr. Partha Sen Choudhary, head of Sales and Marketing, LML. He said the Company has a few launches planned in the near future, including that of the Freedom 110cc motorcycle. Other models dubbed to hit the stores are the two-stroke scooter NV and a new gearless scooter named as “Star Automatic”.
LML has pinned their hopes on the “Star Automatic”, and expect it to become the “Man’s Scooter”. This is not all, yet. They have also set their eyes in entering the 125cc/150cc motorcycle market along with 125cc Unisex scooters and 150cc lifestyle-brand scooters. Not only that, there is also some talk about lightweight three-wheelers from their stable.
According to LML, “Slow-and-Steady” is the mantra. They are going to expand to Gujarat and Maharashtra from their present markets of Delhi and Punjab. They have set a target of 10-12 dealerships in Gujarat and 20-25 dealerships in Maharashtra. Very recently LML also advertised on Indian newspapers soliciting dealership inquiries in Maharashtra. LML is not looking at an instant firesale, but a sale of around 50-60 units per month from each dealership.
A “back-of-the-envelope” calculation will show that the total annual figure works out to 26,640 units from Gujarat and Maharashtra. Add to that around 45000-50000 units from existing markets, and you get exactly why the LML is in such a upbeat mood.
LML is currently registered as a sick industrial company under the Board for Industrial and Financial
Reconstruction (BIFR). But Mr. Choudhary says the day is not far when LML would successfully maneuver it’s way out of the red. The Company exported 40000 units in the last year, and has a good demand in Europe. It’s units are exported to Italy, France, Germany, the UK, Belgium, Denmark, apart from some Latin American and African countries.
But analysts at various broking agencies are not so upbeat, though. They are of the opinion that LML is a good brand name, but the response will depend upon what model they come up with. The motorcycle market has plateaued, though the scooter market is picking up speed. Also, the general mood in the industry is negative, so a good marketing campaign is a necessity for a comeback. It remains to be seen if LML can gather enough funds for a top-notch ad campaign, given it’s current scenario.
The pie has just got bigger for the Indian customer. Now, he has a lot more slices to choose from, LML being the latest addition. College-going youngsters have a problem of plenty now, with so many Unisex scooters before them. The average middle class man will now be spoilt for choice, when it comes to selecting a 110-125 cc bike for the daily home-to-office-to-home commute. Senior Citizens can look forward to a laid-back ride in today’s bumper-to-bumper traffic with the 150 cc lifestyle-brand gearless scooters. And so, LML has something for everyone. It’s not gonna be too late before it becomes a household name as well.
– By Bishakh Rout