Piaggio Vehicles India, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Italian two-wheeler maker, will launch its well-known Vespa scooters, followed by brands such as Gilera, Aprilia and Derbi, a small motorcycle. In order to launch all these brands, the company is setting up a Rs 360-crore two-wheeler engine plant at Baramati to power its scooters. Piaggio Vehicles currently makes Apé three and four wheelers, called Ape Truk in its Baramati plant.
This will be Vespa’s third entry into India. Vespa was considered a household name in geared scooters due to Piaggio’s initial entry into the India through a licence-manufacture agreement with Bajaj Auto in 1960s. The agreement expired in 1971 and Bajaj Auto started making geared scooters like the Chetak. In 1983, Piaggio tied up with LML to make geared scooters, but the joint venture was called off in 1999.