Joined: 12 Jul 2005
Location: Brooklyn Park
Genuine News e-mail from Philadelphia Scooters
The Stella is a classic-looking steel-bodied, 150cc, air-cooled, two-stroke with a four-speed manual transmission made for Genuine by LML, an Indian company with a reputation for producing quality two wheelers and auto-rickshaws. LML was also facing a lawsuit from Piaggio.
"I kind of found them and said, hey, when all this nonsense stops, let's be partners and I'll figure out a way to get your products into the U.S. and brand them myself and get them approved and up to date for EPA and DOT and we'll do our own thing, without the Italians. And we did it."
Stella caught on immediately, despite criticism that it was nothing but a low-cost alternative to industry pioneer Vespa.
"I don't think Stella owners see it in any way shape or form as a low-cost alternative to Vespa. It stands on its own," McCaleb said. "The people who drive Stella don't want anything else. There is an amazing cult following for that bike. Still is."
Unfortunately, a strike and lockout, combined with management and financial issues, at the LML plant in Kanpur, India, shut down production of Stella in 2005, which led Genuine to introduce the Taiwanese-produced Buddy in 2006.
"The Buddy became an instant homerun," McCaleb said. "It's much more commercial in its appeal than Stella. I think the branding is spot on. The end user following is just unbelievable. Go to modernbuddy.com. It's pretty amazing.
"For '08, I've got huge plans for Buddy," he said. "The branding works so well and it's got such a mass appeal that we're going to do a spoof on Benetton, the big international clothing company, United Colors of Benetton. We're doing Buddytown. It's going to be the United Colors of Buddytown. We're going to do an international series of Buddys. It's going to key with the Series Italia. We've got one that's going to be called the St. Tropez, and the other's going to be the Barcelona. So we're working with a lot of imagery of creating products that look like they came from somewhere else, and kind of do it in an androgynous, non-offensive way that appeals to both sexes equally. All of our standard colors, we're going to scrap them for next year and go super bright – tangerine, mint green, fire engine red and black, that's it. That's all the colors I used to use on Stella."
And as for Stella, LML is back in production.
"Stella's coming back on Labor Day," McCaleb said. "I'm going to do a whole different lineup of Stella, starting out with an old Army-green-avocado bike with whitewalls. It's very much in the mode of the early '50s Vespa, kind of an old drab green, and it will be called The Revival.
I like the news but who ever wrote that 'news email' needs to proof-read his press releases. I mean, just have someone else look it over and ask, "does this make any sense?". I'll keep my diet of rambling incoherent thoughts coming from Chris.
"Unfortunately, a strike, and lockout, combined with management, and financial issues, at the LML plant, in Kanpur, India, shut, down, production, of Stella in 2005, which, led Genuine to, introduce, the Taiw,anese-produced, ,Buddy in 2006. ,"
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