India is the world’s second-largest market for motorcycles and scooters, with an average annual rate of growth of 7% over the last six years. Approximately 8.4 million vehicles were sold in India in 2009 with scooters accounting for 15% of the market at 1.3 million units with growth estimated at 13% each year.
It’s no wonder then that the Piaggio Group, the world’s fourth-largest producer of motorcycles and scooters, wants a piece of the pie. The Indian expansion plan is part of a larger Asian initiative announced in 2008 which included partnerships in China and Japan and a new subsidiary in Vietnam. The new Vietnamese facility opened in late 2009, leading to 15,000 units shipped Asia in the first quarter of 2010, an increase of over 500% from the same period of 2009.
The Piaggio Group includes brands such as Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, Derbi and Vespa, but at the moment only Vespa will be brought to India with an LX125 scooter specifically tailored for the market expected to launch by the end of 2012
The Piaggio Group plans to construct a new facility in India to produce up to 150,000 units per year. The Piaggio Group will invest 30 million euros (US$36 million) in 2010 and 2011, with projected revenue of 70 million euros (US$84 million) by 2015.
Piaggio has tried to bring Vespas to the Indian market twice before, from 1960 to 1971 in a partnership with Bajaj Auto and again in 1983 with LML Motors until that agreement ended in 1999 in a bitter dispute. Piaggio also currently has a subsidiary based in Pune, India, that produces three- and four-wheel vehicles such as the Ape and the Ape Truk.