Now, a Vespa for Rs 9 lakh

26 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Now, a Vespa for Rs 9 lakh
Bajaj Chetak

Now, a Vespa for Rs 9 lakh

Piaggio Vehicles, the wholly-owned Indian subsidiary of Italian two-wheeler company Piaggio, is taking luxury to a new level. The Pune-based company is ready to launch India’s most expensive scooter before June this year. The scooter, which will be sold under the Vespa brand, is expected to carry a price tag of Rs 8 to 9 lakh.

To put the number in perspective, one can buy 18 Honda Activas or three Maruti Altos or a Honda City for the same price.

Branded as the Vespa 946, this automatic scooter will be so exclusive that Piaggio does not even intend to build it here. The vehicle will be shipped from Europe and brought to India as a completely built unit to be sold in limited numbers.

The pricing puts the Vespa 946 on a par with several imported and locally assembled superbikes from Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki, Triumph, Harley-Davidson and Ducati.

With the ultra-high pricing, Piaggio is keen on pushing the premium positioning of the Vespa even higher. Vespa scooters sell at a premium of 35 per cent compared to rivals. For instance, the Vespa LX is priced 36 per cent higher than the Honda Activa.

Ravi Chopra, chairman and managing director, Piaggio Vehicles said, The homologation of the Vespa 946 has been done and we would launch it in two to three months. This is a very niche product and is positioned as a collector’s edition.

The ultra-premium positioning of the Vespa is ground-breaking in a country where scooters are seen as just a utility product. Scooter demand in India reached its peak with the geared Bajaj Chetak which disappeared after the introduction of cheaper and more fuel-efficient, Indo-Japanese bikes.

Demand made a comeback with the success of the Honda Activa, which has a waiting period of over a month. The Honda Activa is the largest selling scooter in India with sales of around 100,000 units a month.

Today, demand for scooters has improved the overall performance of the two-wheeler segment. In the April-January period, the segment saw sales of nearly three million units as against 2.4 million units a year ago. This is a jump of 21 per cent, much higher than the two-wheeler segment growth of under six per cent.

Scooters contributed 24 per cent to two-wheeler sales.

Piaggio, which strengthened its position in the three-wheeler segment, expanded its presence under the brand Vespa. The company on Wednesday launched yet another variant called Vespa S at Rs 76,495 (ex-showroom, Mumbai). Vespa S joins the earlier launched Vespa LX and VX.

The Vespa S will be powered by a 125cc, three valve engine. The scooter comes loaded with features like disc brakes, tubeless tyres, which are standard on bikes such as the Bajaj Pulsar, Honda Unicorn and alike. The Vespa comes in a single piece steel monocoque chassis and is available in four colours.

Piaggio is looking to strengthen its scooter portfolio further with the likely introduction of more powerful scooters having engine capacities in the range of 150-300cc. There will also be products aimed at the volume segment, competing with the likes of Honda Activa or Hero Maestro.

These volume scooters will be priced less than the Vespa but will retain its premium tag. In the 10 months ended January, Piaggio clocked sales of 27,808 units, a fall of six per cent as against 29,646 units sold in the same period last year.

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