Aprilia, Vespa get new retail thrust

Murali Gopalan | Updated on: Aug 02, 2019

VASP kicks off in smaller centres

Piaggio is betting big on the two-wheeler space where its lead models are Vespa and Aprilia.

Clearly, it has a minuscule presence here and the focus on the premium space only means that volumes will be limited. Diego Graffi, MD, says the recent launch of the Aprilia Storm will help attract more youngsters to the Piaggio stable.

The company’s network, Motoplex, varies in its size according to markets and their potential. For instance, it would be clearly large in metros like Bengaluru or Pune and smaller elsewhere. “We have recently launched a concept called VASP,” says Ashish Yakhmi, Head of Two-Wheeler Business. This abbreviation stands for Vespa and Aprilia Sales and Service Point, which are exclusive dealerships in smaller non-metro towns.

Piaggio is confident that there is tremendous business potential in these centres where buyers not only have the money but a desire for premium products. According to Yakhmi, the thinking behind VASP was to bring down investments and keep the business model viable for dealers.

As for electric two-wheelers, Graffi says nothing is on the table yet. “We have the technology available and can come to the market fast when we need to. It will be with our own design and technical solution in terms of our powertrain,” he says. According to him, the present electric Vespa is suitable for Europe but not for India. Electric scooters are “definitely an opportunity” but this will have to be balanced with market realities in India.

“This means offering customers something unique and different in design, styling and technology,” says Graffi. This will have to go hand-in-hand with costs. The customer should be prepared to pay for this, which means “we need to study very carefully before entering the market”.

In his view, solutions must be localised for requirements in this part of the world. “I personally think a Vespa or any other scooter with an electric powertrain makes sense,” says Graffi.

Eventually, it must be India-specific in terms of offering a premium product at a competitive price. This is still sometime away since electric three-wheelers will get top priority for now.

Published on August 02, 2019
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