Sunday, April 23, 2006

"Do You Sell Vespa?"

"Do you sell Vespa?". A very common question when people visit us at the shop. The answer is yes and no. We do sell and service used and vintage Vespas, but we mostly sell new scooters from just about every other major scooter brand other than Vespa. Many of the name brands we do sell were once Piaggio (Vespa) joint ventures - LML that produces the Stella, still makes many Vespa parts, Bajaj was also once a Piaggio partner, and TGB (Taiwan Golden Bee - Vespa is "wasp" in Italian). Kymco was part of Honda for over 30 years.

Turning 60 this year, Vespa was created in 1946 by Enrico Piaggio, an aircraft manufacturer looking for new postwar markets. Since then Vespa has manufactured scooters in over 180 countries in the world, and became a cultural icon of the 60's "Mod" movement in Great Britain. La dolce vita for Vespa at 60

Vespa was first sold in the US through Sears, and badged as an "Allstate" in the 1950's. Vespa continued sales until the 80's when California's pollution control laws forced Piaggio to cease sales in the US.

In 1999 with a great marketing push, Vespa returned to the US with the "boutique concept" touting the "Vespa Lifestyle" and positioning the brand as the high end scooter. Piaggio's latest push is aimed at selling Vespas (and Piaggio owned Aprilia and Moto Guzzi) through large multi-line European motorcycle dealerships. We'll see if these larger Motorcycle dealerships can offer the care and service Vespa scooter enthusiasts expect.