Last Updated : Feb 27, 2017 03:11 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Vespa maker to focus on scooters, not motorcycles, for now

The company has even decided against launching new motorcycles at least in the budget performance segment (250cc-350cc) till next year. Such small capacity bikes were to debut under the superbike brand Aprilia.

 
 
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Italian bike and scooter major Piaggio, which owns the iconic brand Vespa, has decided against giving motorcycles any major push but will instead direct its attention towards scooters.

Iconic premium bike brand Moto Guzzi, which was launched by the company late last year, will remain a product with limited reach as there are no immediate plans to expand its footprint in a 'big way’.

“Moto Guzzi is an iconic brand. We are not thinking to launch it in a big way in India because it's more to make the consumer understand that Piaggio also has that kind of brand in its portfolio”, said Stefano Pelle, Chief Executive and Managing Director, Piaggio India in an exclusive chat with Moneycontrol.

In fact the company has even decided against launching new motorcycles at least in the budget performance segment (250cc-350cc) till next year. Such small capacity bikes were to debut under the superbike brand Aprilia.

Instead Piaggio brought a 150cc scooter under the Aprilia brand, something which is unique for the Indian market. When asked if Piaggio will bring out small capacity motorcycles under Aprilia Stefano said that such bikes were planned but the priority are scooters for the time being.

“Not very soon, because that is something that was started, and today our priority is scooters and not motorbikes. We feel we need to concentrate on this (scooter) segment first and then later on we might also be doing something on the bikes, but that’s not our priority right now”, added Pelle.

The budget performance bike segment has witnessed tremendous traction in recent years. New launches from Bajaj Auto, KTM, Yamaha, Mahindra & Mahindra, Benelli, Hyosung and UM Motorcycles have populated this market. TVS Motors and BMW in addition to launches from existing players will further intensify competition.

Piaggio, which also sells cargo and passenger three-wheelers in India, believes that brand Aprilia is not as popularly known as some of its rivals. Therefore, it is important for the company to build a brand connect first before launching competitive products at later stages.

The launch of a moto scooter under the Aprilia brand is a step in that direction believe market experts considering the huge demand for scooters in India. Aprilia wants to create a niche for itself in that segment with fast and high performance urban scooters. It recently launched the Aprilia SR 150, a powerful urban scooter, priced at Rs 70,000.

“Aprilia is known amongst those who are passionate about bikes. If one goes to talk about Aprilia with a man on the street, he will not know what it is. So in terms of top-of-the-mind Aprilia is very small. So when we launched the Aprilia SR we had to launch the brand as well as launch the product. That was the challenge. On the other hand those who know Aprilia know what kind of bikes we make so those who new the brand this was a very nice surprise. For those who do not know the brand they have to first know what Aprilia stands for”, added Pelle.

First Published on Feb 27, 2017 12:45 pm
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