Vespa prepares for cool ride in India

| Updated on: Jan 06, 2012
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Piaggio is upbeat on the prospects for the Vespa gearless scooter which is scheduled to hit the roads in April this year.

“I will be surprised if after six months of operations, we are not forced to double annual capacity to 300,000 units. Demand is going to outstrip supply and we should not be wanting in creating capacity,” Mr Ravi Chopra, Chairman and Managing Director of the Indian operations, told Business Line.

Premium segment

The Vespa range was unveiled at the Auto Expo here on Friday. The first model to roll out from the Baramati plant near Pune will be a 125 cc gearless scooter. Piaggio is categorical about positioning its offering in the premium segment.

“Ours is not a scooter, it is a Vespa and a way of life. We are not competing with scooter manufacturers but creating our own segment. The idea is to awaken a sleeping potential consumer who does not have a product like this,” Mr Chopra said.

The Vespa is not unfamiliar to India and, till a little over a decade ago, was part of the product portfolio of the LML-Piaggio joint venture. These were then geared scooters which were going strong till the motorcycle revolution happened and consigned them to history.

Gearless scooters

Piaggio and LML had also parted ways by then and the resurgence of the Vespa is happening at a time when gearless scooters have been showing brisk growth over the years.

Leading the pack is Honda’s Activa with other players like TVS Motor, Suzuki and Mahindra also part of this segment, which is over two million units annually and growing. More recently, Yamaha has made it known that it will also enter the gearless scooter space.

However, the Vespa will be placed at a premium slot which means it could be priced upwards of Rs 60,000. Piaggio will have exclusive dealerships in top metros before spreading the network across the country as demand grows.

According to Mr Chopra, the Vespa buyer is a breed apart. “He wants to be part of an exclusive community and make a statement. Our market research has also shown that it is a unisex product which will be a hit with both men and women,” Mr Chopra said.

Published on March 12, 2018

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