Piaggio India plans to launch mass market automatic scooter in 2013
Piaggio India, which introduced the Vespa brand of lifestyle scooters in the country, earlier this year, with the Vespa LX125, plans to enter the mass market automatic scooter segment dominated by the likes of the Honda Activa, Suzuki Access 125 and the TVS Wego. Since the Vespa LX125 is positioned as a lifestyle scooter, with its price being a good 10,ooo rupees more than the competition, volumes generated by the Vespa will not match the likes of the industry leaders like Honda and Suzuki. However, Piaggio does want big volumes in the fast growing market and for this, the brand plans to introduce a mass market automatic scooter.
The automatic scooter, whose specifications remain unknown at the moment, will be launched under a new brand. This is to ensure that the Vespa brand continues to remain a lifestyle brand while the new brand which Piaggio plans to launch in 2013, will concentrate on driving volumes. Expect the new scooter to feature a 100cc-125cc four stroke engine with the emphasis on high mileage. Also, the new automatic scooter from Piaggio will be priced much cheaper than the Vespa LX125 as it will operate in the price conscious mass market segment.
The new automatic scooter will be manufactured at Piaggio India’s manufacturing plant at Baramati, Maharashtra and will be developed from grounds up to suit Indian conditions and buyers. Piaggio India has ambitious plans for the Indian scooter market and this is evident with the company’s sales targets in 2014, which at 20,000 units, will be more than five fold the current numbers. Therefore, the upcoming 2013 automatic scooter will be a very important launch for the brand, with it brining in most of the big volumes.
The automatic scooter segment has been conistently delivering better growth than the rest of the two wheeler industry given the sheer convenience of such products in the high traffic conditions of the Indian cities. Automatic scooters operate with a CVT transmission which means that you simply have to twist the accelerator to move forward without having to bother about changing gears. So, automatic scooters have proved to be extremely popular in cities with both men as well as women, even though they deliver lesser fuel efficiency than 100cc motorcycles.
Amongst other news in the industry, Southern two wheeler major TVS Motors will launch two automatic scooters in the next few months. While one will be a 125cc four stroke scooter, the other will be a hybrid scooter, which will be India’s first such product.