Not to be outdone by Yamaha’s announcement last week, Vespa has ended their 13 year absence and announced their re-entry into the Indian scooter market with a pink scooter. This will be their third time trying the Indian market and the first without a local partner. In the 80’s and 90’s Piaggio partnered with LML (now maker of the Stella) and before that they joined forced with Bajaj who would go on to sell the Chetek PX clone..

Piaggio / Vespa made the announcement January 6th at the Auto Expo in Delhi, India. The Piaggio group has been selling three wheelers and commercial engines in India for some time, but now they are really getting serious about scooters with a new factory in India that opens in March and will have the capacity to churn out 300,000 shiny scooters annually.

With over 2.5 million scooters sold in India in 2011 (out of 13 million total vehicles), scooters represent a huge portion of the vehicle market. Vespa is going after this segment with just one model - an updated LX 125.

Vespa is using their newest 3 valve LEADER engine in this scooter (also used in the Quarantasei concept). The claims for this updated motor include less noise, reduced emissions and fuel economy up to 60km/liter (142 mpg). I’m not sure what the fine print is achieving for that 142 mpg figure, but I wouldn’t be surprised if began: “Step 1 - Load Vespa into the back of a truck”. My wife’s LX150 typically got about 55mpg, so I doubt the updated engine does much better than 70mpg in real world conditions.

Updated engine aside, Vespa also oriented this LX 125 for Indian roads by making the engine and wheel access easier. The improved wheel access is for changing flats caused by India’s rough roads. The improved engine access isn’t explained in the press release, but perhaps it’s because Piaggio hasn’t got all the bugs worked out of this new motor yet.

Look for this scooter at dealers in India’s 35 largest cities.
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