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Opinion: A dollar short

December 17, 2017
Scomadi scooter

Photo: Scomadi Ltd.

Happy Holidays! Hope this finds you well.

Apparently, the Lambretta-styled, Thailand-built Scomadi scooter is finally coming to the U.S. Maybe.

A post published Sunday on ScooterFile says the company is working with “an unnamed US importer” to certify their products for U.S. sale.

If you’re just joining us, Scomadi scooters went on sale in the U.K. in 2014. Joining several other Lambretta-styled scooters, the folks behind Scomadi wisely decided to stay out of the crossfire that is the firefight over ownership of the Lambretta name.

The post is very(, very) light on details… y’know, stuff like which models, pricing, an actual on-sale date, projected or not.

However, the question no one seems to be asking is this: Does anyone still care?

When the old General Motors attempted to revive the Pontiac GTO in 2004, it fell flat on its face. People old enough to remember the originals from the 1960s hated it because it didn’t look like a 1960s GTO; the young’uns GM thought would be all over it aren’t impressed by cubic inches.

Same deal here. “It’s not a REAL Lambretta! It’s PLASTIC!!!” wail the purists. (Plastic body panels attached to a steel tube frame… the same plastic LEGO bricks are made of, in fact.) “What’s a Lambretta?” ask those who haven’t seen Quadrophenia 9,436 times.

Apparently, Scomadi’s range (50 and 125cc air cooled, 200cc liquid-cooled) sells well (enough) in the U.K., Europe and Asia, though as usual in the scooter biz, the company shows a strong disinclination to state how well.

Keep in mind, those are places where people buy scooters to use as transportation. How well would they sell in the U.S., the land of Craigslist postings offering scooters ridden once or twice, with no miles on them? A good question.

While U.S. sales of motorcycles have increased slightly, the scooter segment has seen declining sales. It surely doesn’t help that scooter dealers have been going out of business at an alarming rate.

Scomadi does have some buzz going for it, unlike the ill-starred K-Jack Cushman II.

I always used to joke that once the three dozen people who’d want a Cushman II because a parent or grandparent had one of the originals got one, nobody else would be interested. Not long ago, I asked K-Jack how many they’d sold. They replied, 35. Thirty-five. Total. Since production began. Okay, I was off by one.

Nobody seems to understand that making money selling retro-themed scooters to an aging, dwindling market of people nostalgic for things from half a century ago is simply not possible, at least not in the long term. Honda once said, you meet the nicest people on one of their bikes. They sold the idea of riding, as much if not more. Sadly, not today.

  1. December 17, 2017 6:31 pm

    I would like to look at Scomadi. The Turismo Technica 200 has metal panels, not plastic and the new 400 could be a valid option up against the GTS. But the market here is not as you point out that strong. So I keep my fingers crossed.

  2. December 18, 2017 7:20 am

    Here in Portugal Scomadi is selling relatively well (50, 125 cc). Back in 2015 at EICMA i saw one prototype that looked really cool, the 250cc 4 stroke, 6 (manual) speed !
    Sadly they have not been able to put them in the market.


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