Piaggio to build on Vespa, new brand on back burner

Last Updated: Sun, Mar 31, 2013 04:17 hrs

Piaggio Vehicles, the Italian two-and three-wheeler major, is gearing up to add more teeth to the iconic Vespa. Plans to launch an affordable scooter range on the have been put on the back burner.

In the coming months, the Vespa, the most expensive scooter in India, would have new variants. The recent reduction in Vespa prices led to strong growth in demand for the scooter. The company hopes to sell at least 90,000 units by December, more than double its monthly volumes.

Ravi Chopra, chairman and managing director, Piaggio Vehicles India, said, "We have clocked 4,500-5,000 units in monthly sales in the last two months. We are trying to see how to increase this by 1,000 units every month. Till the festive period, we should be doing 8,000 units. Out target is 90,000 vehicles this calendar year."

During the April-February period, Piaggio's sales stood at about 35,000 units. With a price about Rs 62,000 (ex-showroom, Mumbai), the Vespa is significantly expensive compared to India's highest selling scooter, the Honda Activa (Rs 51,220).

In the coming months, the Vespa would be launched with added features such as disc brakes and new colour schemes. "We have new variants of the Vespa lined up. Before the end of this year, there would be another version of the Vespa. We would have a sportier Vespa by the festive season," Chopra said.

As of now, the company has decided against launching any other two-wheeler brand in India; it plans to focus solely on the Vespa. Earlier, Piaggio was considering introducing more scooters under a different brand in India. It had scheduled launches late this year. The new brand (possibly the Piaggio brand) was conceptualised as an umbrella brand for the company's range of scooters. It was also planned these would have affordable prices. The new range was aimed at taking on the Honda Activa, the Yamaha Ray and the Hero Pleasure.

Scooters account for 21 per cent of the domestic two-wheeler market. In the April-February period, the market saw 16 per cent growth and accounted for sales of 2.67 million units, against 2.30 million units in the year-ago period.

Delhi-based Honda remains the foremost brand in the scooter market, followed by Hero MotoCorp and TVS Motors.

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