MILAN, Italy (AP) _ Luigi Innocenti, who helped popularize motor scooters in postwar Italy with his Lambretta model, has died at 72.

Innocenti died in Milan on Sunday and his funeral was held Wednesday. The family did not disclose the cause of death.

Innocenti, the only heir of an industrial dynasty that founded the Innocenti car manufacturing company, was a designer and engineer.

His Lambretta and the Vespa, made by the rival Piaggio group, caught the imagination of Italians in the 1950s before many could afford cars.

But as incomes rose, Fiats replaced the scooters and Innocenti was forced to gradually dismember the group, selling the bike assembly line to an Indian company. The car unit was later sold to Britain's Austin Rover.

Piaggio survived the crisis, regaining popularity as an alternative method of transportation in Italy's traffic-clogged cities.

Innocenti is survived by two sons.