Italian scooter-maker Piaggio has introduced Vespa LX (see picture) as a premium brand in the Indian market at a whopping Rs 66,661 ($1,282), which it says is 40 percent lower than its global brand.
Ravi Chopra, Chairman and Managing Director of Piaggio Vehicles Limited India, defended the price tag saying it will be “the pride of ownership” that would reign the most in India. “With its India foray, Piaggio will create an exclusive, premium segment,” he says.
The Italian company is confident to carve out a niche market for its scooters despite the
cost-conscious consumers in India. The Italian company has set up its new factory in
Baramati in Maharashtra at a cost of $30 million and has $20 million budget to double
the capacity to manufacture 300,000 scooters a year by 2013.
Piaggio has developed a new engine which provides a 60-km mileage per litre, twice the mileage provided by leading brands like Honda and Bajaj scooters. It features a 3-valve aluminium cylinder head, with a body having an overhead cam and roller arms, MAP sensing and variable spark timing management for high engine efficiency, says the company on its website.
The company (PVPL) is a 100 percent subsidiary of Piaggio, Italy, which invented the Vespa in 1946 and later pioneered the apé, the three-wheeler in 1947. PVPL commenced its India operations in 1999 with the launch of Apé, Invented by Piaggio in 1946 as the world’s first scooter, the Vespa is popular in many Asian countries and Italy. It is present in more than 100 countries with over 17 million units sold since its inception.
With its Indian foray, Piaggio intends to create an exclusive, premium segment for the brand. “The Vespa will be positioned as a lifestyle, iconic, timeless and ageless product that goes beyond mobility and leverages its heritage and unique values,” says the company.