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relaunch aims to restore scomadi 'glory days'

Scomadi is relaunching its classic retro scooter brand in the UK following a recent change of importer/distributor. The Thai-owned manufacturer is promising a “return to the glory days”, thanks to a recent investment by global conglomerate Minor International.

Minor focuses on hospitality – it has a portfolio of 517 hotels including Marriott, Four Seasons and Radisson Blue in 53 countries, restaurants and distributes lifestyle brands in Thailand including Banana Republic, Bodum, Brooks Brothers, Esprit, Etam, Gap, Joseph Joseph, and Radley – and it hopes to develop Scomadi’s attempts to become a lifestyle brand.

The latest chapter in the roller-coaster history of the brand, created by Frank and Kaye Sanderson and Paul Melici in 2005, was spelled out to BDN in an interview with Att Asavanund, CEO of Scomadi Worldwide, on a flying visit from Thailand to the UK starting on 7 August.

Asavanund said Scomadi was a fit with Minor International’s lifestyle segment and the new investor was “keen to push the brand further along, not just from a scootering perspective but as a lifestyle, whether it’s clothing, accessories, cafes etc”. Although he would not divulge the size of the investment, Asavanund said that “in real dollar terms, I would say it’s substantial, but it has enabled things to move faster”.

He went on: “We are looking to relaunch the Scomadi brand. I think it has been out of the market for several years now, since the factory shut down in China, and there have only been a few examples of the TT model – I would say about 100-odd scooters produced.

“I would like to see Scomadi restored to its glory days, and that’s what we hope to achieve. So we are pushing the existing [TT] model and we are doing more development work on the scooters themselves. We are looking at several options, including an electric version.”

Being out of the market has had an impact on registrations. Last year the brand increased its registrations to 264 from the 163 it achieved in 2017, but the first quarter of this year saw sales fall 26% from 2018’s 101 to just 45. Asavanund explained that Scomadi Worldwide had moved production from China to Thailand and this had involved installing new equipment and sourcing new suppliers. “We were able to produce a bike in 18 months, which is quite fast in the manufacturing world. Obviously there were production issues which we have been sorting out. Since I started my role, I think we have sorted out most if not all safety issues regarding the scooter, for example the fuel pumps failing, speedo drives being severed; these have all been addressed and we are going as fast as we can to address all these issues.”

As for distribution, Scomadi Worldwide supplies Thailand and exports to the UK, Australia, Malaysia and, recently, India. Europe, says Asavanund, will be coming online soon. It anticipates sales of 3000 to 4000 units this year.

Asked what distinguished Scomadi from its competitors, Asavanund replied: “Innovation is one, reliability, and we are not copying anyone, these are the original designs, despite being Lambretta-inspired. I think we have to be truthful and upfront about what is going on and supporting our customers and our warranties.

“I guess the message is ‘come and try out the scooters, because what they were in the past, 12 months ago, and what they are today are quite drastically different’ and customers would be pleasantly surprised.

“It would be nice if everyone could give Scomadi GB a chance to prove themselves as well.”




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