Auto Expo: Piaggio unveils new Vespa; March launch likely

Italian automaker Piaggio has returned to the Indian market with its iconic Vespa scooter, which was a common sight on Indian roads in the 1960s.

The new range of gearless Vespa scooters was unveiled at the Delhi Auto Expo on Friday. Sporting 125cc engines, they will be available in the market from March.

This will be the third time the Vespa is being launched in India, but it is Piaggio's first venture in the country without a local partner. More than four decades ago, Piaggio licensed the production of Vespa scooters to Bajaj Auto Ltd.

The joint venture ended in 1971, and the company partnered with LML Motors in 1983 to make and sell scooters in India. It exited the venture in 1999, when LML acquired Piaggio's stake.

"Our foray into the Indian market activates a whole new segment of style and fashion conscious consumers who are looking for a premium, exclusive lifestyle offering reflecting their personalities and attitudes. We would like to leverage this sizeable untapped market segment that shows tremendous potential for growth in the coming years," said Ravi Chopra, chairman and managing director, Piaggio Vehicles India.

Piaggio is creating an exclusive dealer network for the brand across the country and plans to tie up with 100 dealers.