Some say it all started around 1840 when a Scotsman named Kirkpatrick McMillan came up with the idea of a pedal-driven bicycle.
In 1868, in France, Michaux-Perraux attached a small commercial steam engine to a bicycle.
Gottlieb Daimler, known as the "Father of the Motorcycle", was successful with the gas engine/bicycle combination.
The first real "scooter", or 2-wheeled vehicle, that was mass-produced, was developed by Hildebrand & Wolfmuller.
After World War II Enrico Piaggio, the founder's son of Piaggio, set out to develop an affordable transportation method for the Italian people resulting in the Vespa in 1946.
At about the same time and hot on the heels of the Vespa another Italian, Ferdinando Innocenti, was developing the Lambretta.
Up until the mid '80s, Vespa and Lambretta pretty well dominated the market for scooters.
Then Honda, with its Elite scooter, and Yamaha, with its Riva model, jumped into the scooter market. The Italians saw them as cheap plastic copies, but consumers loved them and they sold like hotcakes.
In 1983 and 1985, Honda introduced their Aero 50, referred to as the first modern scooter. It offered a fully automatic transmission. The 1983 model didn't meet U.S. emission standards so they had to make some changes and re launched it in 1985.
The Japanese scooters were so successful that they eventually drove Vespa out of the U.S. market.
Taiwan manufactured scooters from SYM, PGO - The Genuine Scooter Company, Kymco, ETON and MZ also entered the U.S. market.
TN'G was one of the first companies to bring Chinese products into the U.S. TN'G stood for "Twist aNd Go" for the automatic nature of the transmission.
India also has two major scooter manufacturers, LML and Bajaj. LML manufacturers the Stella, a copy of the Vespa, for The Genuine Scooter Company.
As far back as 1995 the Chinese had increased their capacity to about 40% of global motorcycle output. At that time it became the global leader in production outracing its Asian rivals Taiwan, Japan and Korea.
By 1996 China had surpassed production in Europe and the United States.
In 2003, China makers turned out 14 million motorcycles, approximately 48 percent of global output. By 2005 that share had increased to over 50%.