Something is afoot in the community and it ain’t all bad.
Most Vespa enthusiasts had already heard of the rumor about a new player in town. A new distributor of the fabled Piaggio, Vespa, Gilera etc. line. It wasn’t as if they were trying to hide it. The announcement was right there on their webpage and several new Facebook pages had sprung up heralding this new development.
So it came as no surprise to us that an announcement on the internet was made that they were finally selling scooters. What came as a shock to most of us was its price. As you can see on the banner posted above, they were having a promotion of the Vespa LX 150ie for a staggeringly low price of Php 99,000.00 for the first 99 units. This kind of pricing has never been seen for this class of scooter in the local market.
A couple of reasons might be behind the extreme drop in the pricing of the Vespa LX. The LX is being currently sold at more than Php 200,000.00 for the Italian import. The current batch of the Vespa LX is currently being built in Vietnam. Vietnam has been churning out Piaggio scoots, specifically the Liberty and the Fly since 2009, mostly welding, painting and final assembly. But in March 2012, the Piaggio Vietnam engine factory opened. Sitting beside the assembly plant, this new addition to the complex, which began official production operations in April this year, has been churning out new Piaggio and Vespa engines for the various scoots meant for the Asia Pacific Region.
With the engine factory and the assembly plant (as well as the first Piaggio Research and Development Center in Asia) all in one location, production costs have been reduced and it’s now possible to sell the units at much lower prices.
With regards to the unit’s build quality, it remains to be seen. Piaggio has a long history of having their products built offshore. From India, China and now Vietnam. So I’m pretty sure they have their systems setup to maintain quality control.
This is all well and good for us Vespa enthusiasts and soon to be owners. What’s really surprising is how Piaggio seems to have left their current distributor out to dry. We are all waiting for their reaction to this serious challenge.
One thing this will surely create is a glut of new Vespa owners on the road which is always a welcome sight, there’s never ever enough of us. The second hand market will surely be shaken a bit since the cost of 2nd hand Vespas are still almost double the new promo price of the LX. It also remains to be seen if the new player will be bringing in the other scoots of the Piaggio and Vespa line, not to mention the Aprilia and Moto Guzzi brands.
With delivery dates promised for the end of the month, I am approaching this development with guarded optimism. While I love the way this will bring our beloved Vespa closer to everybody, I would want it to happen on a level playing field and free of deceit and underhanded play.
I’ll be keeping an eye on this. Let’s hope that this ends well for everyone.