Mumbai: Once a household name in India and also the one time partner of Bajaj auto to start its scooter journey is coming back and this time alone. The classic scooter Vespa will be back on Indian roads by 2010.
Vespa maker, Piaggio has set a target of producing 150,000 2-wheelers per year initially. Along with the traditional Vespa scooter, adrenaline pumping motorcycles like Moto Guzzi and Aprilia from Piaggio are also on the way.
Chairman and CEO, Piaggio & C S P A Roberto Colaninno says, “We believe that in the next two years the only possibility from Aprilia and Moto Guzzi is to import from Italy to India before we start production."
While the bikes will be high-end machines, the Vespa will bring in the volumes.
The Vespa will be back on Indian roads, and this time perhaps for a long, long, ride.
But Piaggio's plan of entering the two-wheeler market is part of a larger strategy to build Asia as a major hub for its international business.
Which is why it will invest close to 100 million euros in the region over the next two years and 65 million of that in India.
That investment will be to launch its second four-wheeler- a sub two-ton cargo carrier and to start manufacturing engines in partnership with Toyota group company Daihatsu. Piaggio, which sold close to 155,000 vehicles in India last year is ramping up capacity to reach 200,000 vehicles by 2010, where hybrid vehicles may also be produced.
And the Indian subsidiary is also scouting to have an assembly base abroad.
Piaggio Vehicles MD Ravi Chopra says, “Either in Latin America, or Africa or South East Asia we are looking for an opportunity where we can create a facility and take advantage of low cost production.”
New plans, new investments in markets like India, Vietnam and China, and trading offices in Japan and Singapore, Piaggio is moving fast to ensure that it rides on every opportunity in Asia, especially when its European markets are getting stagnant.