Piaggio is planning to launch a range of scooters in India and they include the Vespa GTS and Aprilia SR Motard 125. These products will be priced at a premium, limiting their appeal.
You read it first on MotorBeam. We all know that Vespa has been in our country for more than half a century with 1960s being its initial days in the subcontinent; however the company became defunct due to certain political programs. The vehicle jumped back into life in 2012, this time being a standalone. With monocoque steel body and vibrant colors, the company made it clear that it wanted to offer something different to the Indian market. The Vespa managed to grab only a small chunk of the market as the price tag carried by the Italian scooter was pretty high when compared to competitors. So what is this article all about?
Sources confirmed that Piaggio is conducting clinics across the country for a bunch of products. The Italian automaker is holding meets with its dealers to take feedback primarily on three scooters namely the Aprilia SR Motard 125, Vespa GTS 150 and GTS 300, GTS stands for Granturismo Sport. The company is planning for localising the parts of the SR Motard 125. The Motard 125 is expected to use the same Vespa engine but with a different tuning. On the other hand the GTS 150 and 300 would be stepping into the company as CBUs with fuel injected engines. Will this be a game changer for Piaggio?
Piaggio totally forgot the fact that they are dealing with India and not Italy. Yes we have all the reasons to say this after hearing the estimated price of the GTS 150 and 300 models. Sources confirmed that 150 and 300 cc scooters would cost a bomb at Rs. 2 lakhs and Rs. 3.5 lakhs respectively. Shocking isn’t it? It’s just that we are just not sure if Piaggio is intended to use FI engines or rocket boosters to power these scooters.
Well Piaggio, we understand that your Vespa is a premium brand but do you really think that carrying a “premium tag” would make you look cool? We are sorry to say but you have read the market wrong. You lost a good amount of market the moment you priced the Vespa above Rs. 80,000/-; you lost more market by not launching another scooter since inception. Oh please don’t tell us that you did launch “new models”. All you did is change panels and nothing else. The Indian market has mutated like anything and yes we have done our homework. Agreed that your vehicle is premium but sorry the segment which you are residing will never encourage the tag “premium”.
Do you really think a steel monocoque body will lure customers? The answer is a big NO. You may find a few customers across the country that would choose the Vespa for that reason; only a few. Majority of the population really never cares about the technological advancements in vehicles. It doesn’t make any difference if the vehicle is using FI engine or carburettor one, it doesn’t really make any difference if the body is monocoque or not. Agreed that newer technology yields the best result but we are not ready to pay for that. It’s not that we Indians are not ready to pay the premium amount; it’s just that we don’t want to pay that much for a scooter used for daily commuting. At the end of the day, we want a scooter with decent build quality which is neatly priced and not to forget fuel economy and performance will still be on the priority list. The company should understand that the proper blend of the above parameters would only work in this country. Try to play with the ingredients and you are screwed up.
Since 2012, Piaggio has not even sold one lakh Vespa scooters; and we have news that dealers in couple of regions in the northern regions have shut down. If this is the path Piaggio is going to stick to then the automaker will surely pave its path back to Italy. We still don’t understand that when companies like Audi, BMW and Mercedes have cut down costs heavily by localising and when the same companies have come up with Indian centric models, why can’t Piaggio? For the reference, Suzuki got lashed by the customers for over pricing the Inazuma, eventually the company was forced to reduce the price by a lakh.
To put it in simple words, Piaggio should not commit the same mistake what they did with the Vespa models and what Suzuki did with the Inazuma. The company should bring down the cost of GTS 150 and 300 by assembling them in India and price it very competitively. If the Motard 125 is priced between Rs. 65,000 to 72,000/- then only the new scooter will have a chance to stand in the market; else it will suffer just like the other Vespas.