Change coming for Piaggio Group USA
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2006 PX 150 & Malossi Kitted Malaguti Yesterday (Wife's)
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Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:12 am quote
Wade wrote:
It's not even expensive to the average wage earner tbh. They just need to be shown a reason to buy.
Well, since half the households in the US earn (BEFORE TAXES) less than $45,000, a $6,000 scooter that won't carry the kids to school or groceries for four to the house, might be hard to sell. That $6,000 is 1 1/2 month's wages. Now add climate for a variety of areas of the US, and we're talking about a seasonal vehicle.

That said, you are very correct that the "Yacht Club Crowd" wants something more laden with artificial testosterone than a scooter. I had fellow members in virtually every yacht club to which I have belonged who spent a pretty sum on boats that rarely left their moorage. But they all had a Yacht Club decal in the window of their luxury car. What was really funny was that they would ask us how we could stand to pay the cost of fuel for the months of cruising we did every year. Again, it's all about perceived needs and how we might want others to perceive us. Some of us belong to yacht clubs because that's where some real boaters hang out, and others because of the implied prestige. Kinda like vintage vs modern being two totally different tastes in scooters.

There are a lot of hurdles involved to get Americans to 1) experience the joy of riding. After all, a license is required. and 2) find utility in a scooter. What are you going to advertise? The US is a 4 wheel culture, and has been since shortly after WWII. Piaggio saw a need that cars were too expensive to fill, and continental Europe became a two wheel culture. When the need for a more highway capable vehicle arose, people were ready for a PTW to rise to the occasion.

Generalizing the motives of the US population that currently owns Vespas to be inherent in the rest of the population is just folly. Just as inaccurate as equating my 60 year old neighbor's reasons for riding her PTW to that of yourself. Her 125cc scooter is all she can afford. She's had it 10 years, and has no interest in anything other than it continuing to provide her with reliable transportation. Other than scooter ownership, you probably have very little in common with her for why you are owners.
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Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:25 am quote
A couple of thoughts have come together in my mind.

Piaggio USA has large stocks of 2009/10 models, either held by themselves or languishing at dealers.

Most MSF courses do not offer even one scooter as an alternative to those who attend the course.

So how about Piaggio scoops up all the 'aged' (as perceived in the US by the unfortunate 'model year' thing) inventory, and offers them to all the MSF courses around the US *at cost or below*, thus freeing up the dealerships to take on new stock, even if Piaggio has to swallow zero profit on that inventory. The scooters at the classes would be their advertising.

The other thing Piaggio have to do, not only in the US but elsewhere, is to stop the ridiculous insistence that dealers buy a whole bunch of stock at once. Dealers should be free to buy in just what they need, on a day to day basis. Sym offer this in the UK. Dealers are very happy with it, new stock arrives just one or at most two days after ordering, showrooms aren't crammed with old stock that won't sell.

Just my amateur ideas.
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Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:42 am quote
jimc wrote:
A couple of thoughts have come together in my mind.

Piaggio USA has large stocks of 2009/10 models, either held by themselves or languishing at dealers.

Most MSF courses do not offer even one scooter as an alternative to those who attend the course.

So how about Piaggio scoops up all the 'aged' (as perceived in the US by the unfortunate 'model year' thing) inventory, and offers them to all the MSF courses around the US *at cost or below*, thus freeing up the dealerships to take on new stock, even if Piaggio has to swallow zero profit on that inventory. The scooters at the classes would be their advertising.

The other thing Piaggio have to do, not only in the US but elsewhere, is to stop the ridiculous insistence that dealers buy a whole bunch of stock at once. Dealers should be free to buy in just what they need, on a day to day basis. Sym offer this in the UK. Dealers are very happy with it, new stock arrives just one or at most two days after ordering, showrooms aren't crammed with old stock that won't sell.

Just my amateur ideas.
and when are you starting at Piaggio corporate?
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Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:47 am quote
jim-

There is one difficulty with promoting selling from the warehouse in the US. It's a hell of a lot harder and time consuming to move a scooter from a distribution center 2,000 miles away than 500 miles away. Unit cost of transportation would drive prices even higher than they are now with scooters being shipped in batches.

Jefersonmac-

Billboards are not cheap. Figure $500 to $2,500 per month, based upon the desirability of the location, with a minimum of 6 months about the least available, plus artwork and setup fees easily reaching $3,000 or more. Even at the $500/mo rate, that's $6,000 for a 6 month period. You would need to generate an additional $60,000 in sales to offset the advertising cost, assuming that you incurred no other marketing related expenses whatsoever.

It's not an impossible mission, but a highly difficult one, and obviously the industry itself has not been that willing to do more than enjoy the niche and attempt some brand differentiation. It's not just Piaggio.
Molto Verboso
Joined: 10 Feb 2008
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Location: Midwest
Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:47 am quote
Iv'e always made it a point to look closely at the scooters I see buzzing around my area.I'm surprised how many there are really.That said I have very rarely seen any Piaggio scoots,maybe twice in 4 or so years. And that with a Dealer in town.

Like I said I see scooters out all the time and the below are what I see:

China Scoots 50 cc & 150cc
Suzuki Burgman 650
Yamaha Zuma 50cc & Majesty
Kymco Agility, Xciting & Super 8
Piaggio MP3 & Vespa ( Seen both one time only)
Hooked
"Spirit of '63" Vespa VNB & '66 Vespa 125 Smallie
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Location: Atlanta
Sat Mar 05, 2011 6:55 am quote
My 2 pennies.

In regards to Paolo's departure, I think the man deserves a pat on the back for the job performed. With that said there's certainly a lot more that needs to be done in order to ensure Piaggio's survival in the North American market. A new face means a fresh pair of eyes on the situation and good things are bound to come out of it.

Now, let's look at marketing and brand awareness. I'd like to use Mini USA as a benchmark. I'm sure everyone here knows somebody who owns a Mini Cooper or you see them on the road on a daily basis. As far as sub-compacts are concerned, they are not considered 'affordable' and in regards to fuel economy they're not top of the class... Though they are close. Well, why do you see so many? Image. Uniqueness. A sense of belonging. Cult of Personality. That's what sells a Mini, IMHO. They are more expensive then say a Fit or Focus [insert your favorite sub compact here] but when you see a Mini you are actually seeing an extention of the driver's personality. It's something a Mini owner cannot get enough of. Mini's ad campaign is microscopic in comparison to the likes of Honda, Toyota, Ford, etc... but it's effective. Look at their site and their print ads. They ooze personality. This is the sort of thing Piaggio/ Vespa needs to tap into. Sure, you could purchase a cheaper scooter that looks like a Vespa, but deep down inside you'll never really be satisfied. You'll always be wanting a Vespa. That's just my take. I wouldn't be caught dead on anything other than a Vespa... Modern or vintage. I drank the Kool Aid years and years ago, but I never have sleepless nights wondering what it would be like to own a Vespa. If Piaggio wants people to flock to their scooters they have to make non-owners feel they are missing out on something.

I hope this makes some sense. I've had six cups coffee and sometimes by thumbs cannot keep up with my thoughts.

T.
Addicted
No more Vespa
Joined: 21 Oct 2010
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Location: Columbia, SC
Sat Mar 05, 2011 7:02 am quote
Belkwinith wrote:
My BF is totally middle american and he believes the difficulty lies in price.

He also thinks of scooters as a expensive toy despite the fact that my BV500 can keep up with his motorcycle.
...

The Toy Mentality is difficult to over come, for me it is the heart of the issue.
Yup, I totally agree

I love it that SCers may not wear helmets or even shoes on their mopeds/scooters/motorcycles,
but there's still a whole lot of them using their vehicles for transportation

Unfortunately,
I see Vespa USA as exploiting the "scooter as stylish toy" mentality in their marketing,
so they aren't going to change things

Piaggio could (those BVs rock as transportation!)
but they'd need to invest in a more comprehensive service network
and how likely is that?

So I'm left hoping that Honda will take it on
It's kinda sad
Hooked
Yes, I am a scooter model
Joined: 06 Jan 2011
Posts: 459
Location: Southwest United States
Sat Mar 05, 2011 7:14 am quote
SussedMod wrote:
My 2 pennies.

In regards to Paolo's departure, I think the man deserves a pat on the back for the job performed. With that said there's certainly a lot more that needs to be done in order to ensure Piaggio's survival in the North American market. A new face means a fresh pair of eyes on the situation and good things are bound to come out of it.

Now, let's look at marketing and brand awareness. I'd like to use Mini USA as a benchmark. I'm sure everyone here knows somebody who owns a Mini Cooper or you see them on the road on a daily basis. As far as sub-compacts are concerned, they are not considered 'affordable' and in regards to fuel economy they're not top of the class... Though they are close. Well, why do you see so many? Image. Uniqueness. A sense of belonging. Cult of Personality. That's what sells a Mini, IMHO. They are more expensive then say a Fit or Focus [insert your favorite sub compact here] but when you see a Mini you are actually seeing an extention of the driver's personality. It's something a Mini owner cannot get enough of. Mini's ad campaign is microscopic in comparison to the likes of Honda, Toyota, Ford, etc... but it's effective. Look at their site and their print ads. They ooze personality. This is the sort of thing Piaggio/ Vespa needs to tap into. Sure, you could purchase a cheaper scooter that looks like a Vespa, but deep down inside you'll never really be satisfied. You'll always be wanting a Vespa. That's just my take. I wouldn't be caught dead on anything other than a Vespa... Modern or vintage. I drank the Kool Aid years and years ago, but I never have sleepless nights wondering what it would be like to own a Vespa. If Piaggio wants people to flock to their scooters they have to make non-owners feel they are missing out on something.

I hope this makes some sense. I've had six cups coffee and sometimes by thumbs cannot keep up with my thoughts.

T.
Interesting points, there.

It reminds me, out of ALL the cars in Consumer Report surveys, from luxury to SUV to the most practical to the most and least expensive, the Mini is the one with the highest owner satisfaction and upwards of 80% of owners say "would buy again."

Food for thought, Piaggio.

Although why, I dunno?
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Piaggio BV 500 BLUE DRAGON
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Sat Mar 05, 2011 7:16 am quote
Marketing wise -

I would love to see a commercial that starts off with a line of motorcycles roaring down the road to some far off scenic location.

As the bikers arrive and dismount, a scooter pulls in rolling down the line of bikes, garnering shocked looks.

The scooterist parks and dismounts, taking off the helmet, revealing a grey-haired but, spritely older woman.

She nods to the bikers as she walks past, "Nice ride, huh boys?"

Shot of the bikers looking quizzically at the mod granny and then looking appreciatively at the scooter.

Shot of the smiling granny, looking out at great view.

End shot of the scooter, voice over, "The Road, it's for everyone."
Hooked
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Sat Mar 05, 2011 7:24 am quote
Sounds good, Belk.

I was thinking maybe Vespa could get Oprah for a campaign, too? I mean Rachael Ray rides, but this may call for da big guns!
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Sat Mar 05, 2011 7:31 am quote
Wade wrote:
From my perspective, it sure looks like Vespa would benefit from a shift in marketing strategy. What makes brands like Porsche, Harley-Davidson, Apple, Rolex, thrive? I suggest that it isn't that they offer cheaper more practical alternatives to thier competitors, or even better products.
Marketing scooters as a cheap alternative mode of transportation might sell some $2000 bikes, but that's not Vespa's goal. Vespa needs to be percieved as a thing to be desired - fashionable, prestigious, extravagant, and marketed outside the scooter community to enthusiasts of other stripes. Magazines like Golf Digest, Yachting, Cigar Afficianado, Automobile, and plenty others fall into the hands of people with passion for expensive things. I'm suggesting that Vespa stop marketing as though their competition is a Kymco or a used Mazda. There's nothing wrong with being perceived as an expensive toy.
+1

This is certainly the action plan that I would want Piaggio to take, for starters.

SDG
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Sat Mar 05, 2011 7:33 am quote
Think of all the cool motorcycle ads you've seen. Ads that you would want to show your friends and say, "I want that!"

Then consider this ad.

Yeah, That will capture the market for sure.

vespa ad.JPG

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Piaggio BV 500 BLUE DRAGON
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Sat Mar 05, 2011 7:49 am quote
More Commercials:

Voice over a variety of scenarios with people utilizing scooters.

1. A college kid, riding to class.

2. A young woman, riding from her job in the city to her apartment.

3. A young executive, riding home and bringing in a bag of groceries that was on his curry hook, then kissing his pregnant wife.

4. An older couple, riding a scooter down a scenic twisty road as they smile.

Voice over says,

"At the end of the day, it's not about possessions, it's not about wealth, it's not about style."

"If life is a journey, it's about what gets you to your destination."

Shots of each person, at their destination, with the scooter in the background.

Voice over - Scooters - they get you there.
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Sat Mar 05, 2011 7:53 am quote
TheWasp wrote:
SDG wrote:
2 a month..........am I proposing something too much here?
I don't know dude, you sell them and are open while others have closed up shop. How do YOU propose to sell two more scooters a month?
Well this certainly would not apply to the dealers around MV however for starters how about buying 1 for yourself and riding it? Or in my case, maybe buying 5. Passion is what drives this, period. Passion doesn't have a pricetag, passion doesn't have to make sense, passion doesn't require logic and on and on. We sell Vespa because of passion, our showroom is energized with a genuine enthusiasm for all things scooter related, period.

For example there has been quite a bit of discussion regarding my personal identity on MV, all genuinely worthy talk. As Jess has told me as I continue to grow on MV stay out of the fray, that I cannot possibly be a dealer and a person on MV and I completely agree with this. My point in sharing this is that if I can only be a dealer or a person on MV I want to be known for my person. I have passion for Vespa, I love MV because of that. Business is secondary to the love I have for my scoots, my fellow riders and a couple of boards I belong to where I can share it all. I figure someday I won't be a Vespa dealer anymore, I give my Son 10 years to get ready however I certainly want to still be SDG around here after that as I have many many years of riding left to do.

I hope our new CEO rides. I hope he rides like a Charlie Sheen induced rockstar with a gal on the back as he is getting pulled over for cutting up NYC traffic, ya know? It all starts at the top and although I truly adored Paolo and trusted his decisions we are moving forward so I now get to dream about a new boss with hopeful qualifications. I give all I can to the scooter world everyday of my life so I don't need to make any work ethic adjustments, excited about some new ideas though.

SDG
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Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:06 am quote
Re: Change coming for Piaggio Group USA
PeterC wrote:
ericalm wrote:
How about a campaign with, "Do you want a scooter, or do you want a Vespa?"
As an old advertising copywriter, I have to say, that is one award-winning theme line!
Thanks! PiaggioAmericas, if you're reading this, I am available for hire as a creative director.
SDG wrote:
Wade wrote:
From my perspective, it sure looks like Vespa would benefit from a shift in marketing strategy. What makes brands like Porsche, Harley-Davidson, Apple, Rolex, thrive? I suggest that it isn't that they offer cheaper more practical alternatives to thier competitors, or even better products.
Marketing scooters as a cheap alternative mode of transportation might sell some $2000 bikes, but that's not Vespa's goal. Vespa needs to be percieved as a thing to be desired - fashionable, prestigious, extravagant, and marketed outside the scooter community to enthusiasts of other stripes. Magazines like Golf Digest, Yachting, Cigar Afficianado, Automobile, and plenty others fall into the hands of people with passion for expensive things. I'm suggesting that Vespa stop marketing as though their competition is a Kymco or a used Mazda. There's nothing wrong with being perceived as an expensive toy.
+1

This is certainly the action plan that I would want Piaggio to take, for starters.
I got so much vitriol for saying basically the same thing 2 years ago.

What can I say? I'm ahead of my time.
ericalm wrote:
The point I was going for is that when you have a high-end product, making an pitch to consumers based on financial incentives is the wrong bait for the wrong fish. Those benefits will appeal most to those who would likely discover that if Vespanomics holds true for a Vespa, it's even more beneficial when you buy a Kymco or some other well-regarded brand with a lower price point and lower cost of ownership.

There are Apple/Vespa similarities, though—enough that I think Vespa can learn from Apple's approach and also from how Microsoft's is failing with their strategy. Both Apple and Vespa are regarded as high end products that have the most appeal to a minority of buyers. I don't think either has illusions of dominating their respective marketplaces or intends to—they know they're charging a premium for their products, thereby limiting availability to the masses. Both are criticized by detractors as being overpriced products for elitists and aesthetes.

But, yeah, there are probably more differences between the two. Also, both the Apple and MS campaigns are based on comparison with one another, something that wouldn't really apply to Vespa.

There are plenty of other products which I think are similar enough to offer some lessons for Vespa marketing. The Mini Cooper, for instance: a highly stylized vehicle with "vintage" origins that has a higher cost than many comparable small cars. They may brag about the MPGs but they certainly won't try convincing you you're saving money or that it's the economical choice. Instead, it's the style of Mini, the fun of Mini, the philosophy of Mini.

Acceptance of PTWs as "normal" transportation—and the expansion of the scooter market that comes with it—is going to take a lot of effort not just from Vespa but from all major manufacturers, active owners and (though I'm reluctant to mention it) government. On the one hand, there's the message of the viability of PTWs as an alternative form of transportation. On the other hand, that viability needs to improve for a broader range of people through improvements in parking in many cities, traffic laws, vehicle codes and so on.

I suspect that the manufacturers are too insular to take much initiative here. The largest and most powerful industry/owner-related groups such as the AMA and MIC seem to have much different priorities (such as access to public lands for off-highway vehicle use, fighting ban on youth ATVs and dirtbikes, etc.) than pushing for policy to make cities and towns more PTW-friendly.
The Host with the Toast
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Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:06 am quote
The US likes big bikes and fast cars, Vespa or Small PTW's will never become mainstream. last nigt I seen 1 Motorcycle in a sea of cars. Piaggio is smart not to focus on the US and put its cash in Asia.
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Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:13 am quote
SussedMod-

Mini's all time record monthly sales were Feb 2011, with about 3,500 units sold in the US. That's about a 22% increase, in a market that increased by 27%, so they did not even hold their previous share. Not knocking the Mini, but it's a minor player in the market at about 0.4% of total US sales.

Back in the 1950's, the advertisements for Piels beer were among the most popular TV viewing, commercials or actual shows, on New York area television. The NY Daily News used to post when the commercials would be broadcast, so no one would miss them. You remember Piels beer, don't you? It was a niche beer with a very unique taste. The beer was so unique that all the popularity of their award winning ads could not increase their market significantly. I know. I loved the commercials, can still quote hysterically funny lines from them, and quit drinking it after my first bottle.
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Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:13 am quote
The new CEO, whomever he/she may be, will need to look at the US market in a more US-centric way.

The scoot will always be a toy in USA. It might be cool if one is car-less in an urban-area. It might be a way to save money on transport for a two-person h/h where one of them has a reasonable, safe and wx-friendly commute (tire replacement and other service do somewhat diminish that). Otherwise it's a toy. So sell it as a toy. (But not in the boutique fashion please!)

Since USA is at the point where upward mobility for MOST (not all but most) means wanting a vehicle-filled three car (or more) garage, a larger home (or a incredibly well-appointed, smaller home when empty-nest time comes), upscale cars in that garage, etc. the Vespa is hardly going to fit in as anything other than a toy. Talk to any immigrant who's on their way up. Private schools, Beemer, nice address, etc. is what they want- not a Vespa. Indian friends of mine recall fondly their Vespa and Bajaj scoots they rode back in India but now it's Lexus, Cadillac, Rover, etc. that they want. To buy a Vespa would have their friends asking "What's wrong, are you having money problems?"

Debate over consumerism, environment, traffic, conservation etc. can rage onward ad infinitum. A handful of folks might be swayed into making a choice to ride (likely they were open to it prior) but the great majority won't.

Post WWII suburban development forever linked USA primarily to the auto. Gas prices, EPA, DOT, Billions of $ for rail lines, etc. don't seem to have much affect on changing this fact.

So the Vespa (Piaggio, Genuine, Kymco, etc.), the Harley, the boat, the snowmobile, the $4000 bicycle, etc. remain toys. Market them and sell them as such. Promote the fun, getting quality for your $, etc but don''t expect scoots to be a necessity. It's actually a compliment to the life and opportunity the USA affords. Opportunity is why my family moved here.
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Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:18 am quote
Re: Change coming for Piaggio Group USA
ericalm wrote:
PeterC wrote:
ericalm wrote:
How about a campaign with, "Do you want a scooter, or do you want a Vespa?"
As an old advertising copywriter, I have to say, that is one award-winning theme line!
Thanks! PiaggioAmericas, if you're reading this, I am available for hire as a creative director.
SDG wrote:
Wade wrote:
From my perspective, it sure looks like Vespa would benefit from a shift in marketing strategy. What makes brands like Porsche, Harley-Davidson, Apple, Rolex, thrive? I suggest that it isn't that they offer cheaper more practical alternatives to thier competitors, or even better products.
Marketing scooters as a cheap alternative mode of transportation might sell some $2000 bikes, but that's not Vespa's goal. Vespa needs to be percieved as a thing to be desired - fashionable, prestigious, extravagant, and marketed outside the scooter community to enthusiasts of other stripes. Magazines like Golf Digest, Yachting, Cigar Afficianado, Automobile, and plenty others fall into the hands of people with passion for expensive things. I'm suggesting that Vespa stop marketing as though their competition is a Kymco or a used Mazda. There's nothing wrong with being perceived as an expensive toy.
+1

This is certainly the action plan that I would want Piaggio to take, for starters.
I got so much vitriol for saying basically the same thing 2 years ago.

What can I say? I'm ahead of my time.
ericalm wrote:
The point I was going for is that when you have a high-end product, making an pitch to consumers based on financial incentives is the wrong bait for the wrong fish. Those benefits will appeal most to those who would likely discover that if Vespanomics holds true for a Vespa, it's even more beneficial when you buy a Kymco or some other well-regarded brand with a lower price point and lower cost of ownership.

There are Apple/Vespa similarities, though—enough that I think Vespa can learn from Apple's approach and also from how Microsoft's is failing with their strategy. Both Apple and Vespa are regarded as high end products that have the most appeal to a minority of buyers. I don't think either has illusions of dominating their respective marketplaces or intends to—they know they're charging a premium for their products, thereby limiting availability to the masses. Both are criticized by detractors as being overpriced products for elitists and aesthetes.

But, yeah, there are probably more differences between the two. Also, both the Apple and MS campaigns are based on comparison with one another, something that wouldn't really apply to Vespa.

There are plenty of other products which I think are similar enough to offer some lessons for Vespa marketing. The Mini Cooper, for instance: a highly stylized vehicle with "vintage" origins that has a higher cost than many comparable small cars. They may brag about the MPGs but they certainly won't try convincing you you're saving money or that it's the economical choice. Instead, it's the style of Mini, the fun of Mini, the philosophy of Mini.

Acceptance of PTWs as "normal" transportation—and the expansion of the scooter market that comes with it—is going to take a lot of effort not just from Vespa but from all major manufacturers, active owners and (though I'm reluctant to mention it) government. On the one hand, there's the message of the viability of PTWs as an alternative form of transportation. On the other hand, that viability needs to improve for a broader range of people through improvements in parking in many cities, traffic laws, vehicle codes and so on.

I suspect that the manufacturers are too insular to take much initiative here. The largest and most powerful industry/owner-related groups such as the AMA and MIC seem to have much different priorities (such as access to public lands for off-highway vehicle use, fighting ban on youth ATVs and dirtbikes, etc.) than pushing for policy to make cities and towns more PTW-friendly.
Timing is indeed everything my friend. Eric we were always going to go back and refer to that 2 year old thread, ha.

Fantastic responses to my post, we are all learning right now on MV.

Cheers peeps!

SDG
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Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:34 am quote
jimc wrote:
So how about Piaggio scoops up all the 'aged' (as perceived in the US by the unfortunate 'model year' thing) inventory, and offers them to all the MSF courses around the US *at cost or below*, thus freeing up the dealerships to take on new stock, even if Piaggio has to swallow zero profit on that inventory. The scooters at the classes would be their advertising.
This is a brilliant plan. And a condition to receiving these scooters would be that one would be at each of the classes for use or display. The class I took, you had to tell them beforehand that you wanted a scooter, even though that option is not mentioned, nor a way to do it in the recommended website registration. One guy left the class, because he only wanted to ride a scooter.

There have been many good suggestions in this thread. In my opinion, Piaggio needs to have a campaign plan that offer three options. They have the classic icon (Vespa), the innovative (Piaggio) and the sporty (Aprilia, linking it with their racing bikes)

Someone mentioned about yacht owners with their yachts in moorage, but a sticker on their cars. It reminded me of my friend I had dinner with on Thursday. He is a Harley owner. If he is not working, he is wearing a Harley shirt and hat and all. And the guy rides 30 minutes a week, IF the weather is nice. But he bought into an image and enjoys that image. THAT is what Piaggio needs to sell. It is not merely a toy motorcycle, it is an image.

As to the scooter itself. They need to be able to articulate it as fun (and no dorky), superior to a motorcycle in city usage, green (that is it uses less fuel and is environmentally friendly rather than a money saver). And it is a nice alternative to driving a cage. Mainly because it is more fun. There needs to be a way to show a man having a choice of vehicles to drive in the morning and choosing the scooter.

If it was a cartoon, the first picture would be the man, dressed for work in the garage, messenger bag in hand, looking at the two available vehicles. A Car and a scooter (any of the Piaggio's).

The next picture is of him getting on the scooter.

The last picture is a closeup picture of his face with a big smile (yes, I know it calls for an open-face helmet). The caption would be something like "When was the last time you smiled all the way to work?"

There are lots of ways to use that concept, including the affordable internet option.

The other way to advertise is Youtube. All you really have is the production costs. And if they are interesting, people will watch. And if there is a well known celebrity that would like to show off their scoot and the enjoyment that they get, that would be a coup.

OK, I don't know much about advertising but here are two low cost recommendations and a recommended theme.
Ossessionato
2009 Vespa GTS 250, TBA
Joined: 31 Jan 2009
Posts: 2272
Location: Green Valley, AZ
Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:55 am quote
To expand on Belkwinith's excellent line, "If life is a journey, it's about what gets you to your destination in style."
Hooked
2008 Burgman 650 Executive
Joined: 28 Sep 2010
Posts: 113
Location: Waco, Texas
Sat Mar 05, 2011 8:55 am quote
Additional thoughts.

Target marketing to college students. This would be merely a small portion of the marketing, but it is a good niche market. I am thinking advertise in student publications and on the internet.

Again, market the Icon, The Innovative and the attachment to Aprilia Racing reputation. Probably use the smaller models with the graphics showing students riding to class. I would think marketing for particular schools would use the local conditions. For example, are cars barred from the inner campus but scooter are not? Are there special PTW parking spaces?

Marketing would peak 30-60 days prior to financial aid ( student loans) coming in. The Honda dealer here often has college students (Baylor University) coming in with their student loans to buy scooters. I think they comprise a great portion of his scooter buyers.

I think dealers locating near Universities is also a good idea. Vespa Dallas is at SMU and Vespa Fort Worth (same guys) was at TCU.
World Traveler
2007 LX150 Daring Plum Leonardo Da Vespa
Joined: 02 Jul 2006
Posts: 27967

Sat Mar 05, 2011 9:36 am quote
My first intro to them was overseas. From that point on i have always "wanted one". However when i got my first scooter it was a Honda. They had a successful ad campaign back in the 80's and I don't think i would of been able to buy here because there wasn't a dealer. 3K for a heliz 250 back in 87 wasn't cheap by any means. That said i have been around Honda products my whole life and knew they were built well and i wasn't disappointed. Fast forward to when i moved back here and was looking. Dealer here sucks and they have no certified tech. I bounced around with some cheap models before i found this forum and a used LT.. If it hadn't been for this forum i would of went back for a Honda. Here i was able to discuss Vespa's and find a dealer to have one shipped. It has provided all of us over here with the tools in which we can work on our scooters successfully. Had that not occurred i bet the guys would of gotten rid of their scooters at one point by now and would ride their MC'S. Here is the best place to market them and they don't. We can ride all year as well as some other parts of the US. I don't see anybody doing a thing about it. The price is a tad high for college kids but vespa's hold their value A better 50cc scooter would be perfect. We have a lot of very affluent people here and it's a shame more aren't seen on the road. The Piaggio group NEEDS to hold their stores accountable for what they do. There shouldn't be a shop with out a certified tech. I knew that if i bought one that i could come on here describe the symptoms and i could have a friend do the work. Nobody else will work on them and the serice is expensive and shoddy at our local dealer. Small island and word of mouth is key, good or bad. I'm afriad it's bad for our vespa's. From here i learned where to get parts. I'm not a dealer but i would bet the Piaggio group doesn't work with their dealers. That is essential IMHO. We also need some ads because even in a place where there are a lot of scooters people don't know what a Vespa is. To capture the younger generation how about internet ads? They can't be expensive. It's a whole new world out there for any company and sticking to the "old" ways isn't going to work anymore IMHO.I would also say that a scooter no matter what brand is a "toy" here in the US. A toy being something that is not essential to live. Maybe gas prices will help but until we start chipping away at our forms of transpo it will remain as such. They could start with really marketing FLA, HI, CA ( you have probably the best sales tho from that state) an other states where it's not winter half of the year. Wouldn't be to hard to find out why and how the best dealers are doing it. Just use their methods on the rest of the dealers. Still in the end we will never be but a small fish in a large pond to them. Asia, India and even Africa will be their markets.However we can do much better over here.Just my .04
Hooked
2008 Burgman 650 Executive
Joined: 28 Sep 2010
Posts: 113
Location: Waco, Texas
Sat Mar 05, 2011 9:47 am quote
Quote:
The price is a tad high for college kids but vespa's hold their value A better 50cc scooter would be perfect.
I kinda agree. Marketing to private schools and specific state schools would make sense. In Texas I am thinking in terms of:
Baylor
TCU
SMU
Rice
UT
A&M.


I don't know enough about the demographics of the smaller private schools like Mary Hardin-Baylor or the other larger schools (North Texas, University of Houston, Texas Tech, etc).
Enthusiast
LX150 (RIP), PX200, LI200 (RIP), MP3 500
Joined: 21 Feb 2011
Posts: 50
Location: "Cliftondale" Georgia
Sat Mar 05, 2011 9:49 am quote
I've been in scooters a long time, and aside from the abundance of ads in the 70's, the only real Vespa ads lately have either been in Scoot Magazine (not too readily available except for a scooter shop) or by the local franchise that recently closed here (television commercials).
If Piaggio wants to continue selling higher end, higher priced scoots, they need to advertise in mainstream media such as Playboy, GQ or FHM for the male market, a comparable outlet in women's magazines, or even gender neutral publications. Billboards are indeed expensive and only target a small group. Get their name out there in larger markets where the average person may see the ad while waiting on a dentist appointment or a haircut. I can't tell you how many times people have asked me "What's a Lambretta?" only to have an even more confused look when I say its a scooter, similar to a Vespa. Brand Awareness is paramount to the success of anything. People have either forgotten what a Vespa is, or they are too young to know. Hopefully the new CEO will realize that, and do something about it
Wiki Moderator
LX 190, Aurora Blue + Stella FOUR STROKE FURY! + '87 Helix
Joined: 11 Apr 2006
Posts: 6916
Location: Los Angeles
Sat Mar 05, 2011 9:58 am quote
Sikem wrote:
Quote:
The price is a tad high for college kids but vespa's hold their value A better 50cc scooter would be perfect.
I kinda agree. Marketing to private schools and specific state schools would make sense. In Texas I am thinking in terms of:
Baylor
TCU
SMU
Rice
UT
A&M.


I don't know enough about the demographics of the smaller private schools like Mary Hardin-Baylor or the other larger schools (North Texas, University of Houston, Texas Tech, etc).
Vespa FW closed. Vespa Dallas has closed a location. Good luck prying the BMW keys out of the hands of SMU an TCU students.

It's a hard sell in TX because outside of maybe Austin, it's difficult to navigate many cities without a car and the weather isn't scooter-friendly year round. You could get around Denton on one, but would still need a car if you ever wanted to get out of Denton.

Then again, I once saw a guy riding a Honda Elite 80 on the side of the highway from College Station to Austin and back. (I passed him one way, then met him at a party in Austin 2 days later because Austin is like that.)

Just about the only markets where 50cc scooters sell very well are in college areas in states with low licensing and other requirements for 50s. In general, though, students aren't as good a target as professors/teachers who actually have money.

This is one of the areas where I think Piaggio would do well to market their Piaggio-branded and Aprilia scooters. Lower cost, same quality. I have long felt these were neglected by the company and deserve more exposure here.
Ossessionato
2015 Sprint 150 ABS Yellow. 1974 Vespa Rally 200 White, non battery model.
Joined: 06 Feb 2006
Posts: 2304
Location: Austin, Tx
Sat Mar 05, 2011 10:24 am quote
Eric, Vespa Dallas just closed the shop accross the street and moved it with their showroom, in the back. Because of that, he has seen more people trade in scooters for newer ones!
They sold over 23 scooters in January.. their best january... ever!!
And that's with NO Stellas for sale whatsoever!
Pretty much all Vespa and Piaggio.
Moderator
2006 PX 150 & Malossi Kitted Malaguti Yesterday (Wife's)
Joined: 11 Dec 2007
Posts: 12959
Location: Paros Island, Greece
Sat Mar 05, 2011 10:38 am quote
AlexBv200 wrote:
Eric, Vespa Dallas just closed the shop accross the street and moved it with their showroom, in the back. Because of that, he has seen more people trade in scooters for newer ones!
They sold over 23 scooters in January.. their best january... ever!!
And that's with NO Stellas for sale whatsoever!
Pretty much all Vespa and Piaggio.
My friend, the Piaggio dealer on the island of Naxos, sells over 400 new scooters per year. I have no idea what the Kymco, Honda, Yamaha and other dealers sell. The population of Naxos is 9,000. What is the population of Dallas?

I'm not knocking the US market. Just dealing in real numbers.
Molto Verboso
'09 BV250, '02 ET2 '07 LX150
Joined: 09 Aug 2008
Posts: 1006
Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Sat Mar 05, 2011 10:40 am quote
Re: Change coming for Piaggio Group USA
ericalm wrote:
PeterC wrote:
ericalm wrote:
How about a campaign with, "Do you want a scooter, or do you want a Vespa?"
As an old advertising copywriter, I have to say, that is one award-winning theme line!
Thanks! PiaggioAmericas, if you're reading this, I am available for hire as a creative director.
[/quote]

As a consumer, I really like this. I know how much I wanted a Vespa even after I bought my BV, because it just didn't feel "quite" right. Still have the BV but ride the LX much more often and with a great deal more "panache".

I was always embarrassed by the "boutique" concept, but then I'm a mid-westerner; and we are generally slow to accept/adopt ideas from both coasts. For what it's worth. It made the scoots being perceived as frivolous. Hard to counter that perception around here.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
GTS 300ABS, Buddy 125, Typhoon 125
Joined: 29 Dec 2007
Posts: 9221
Location: Oregon City, OR
Sat Mar 05, 2011 11:34 am quote
Scootover wrote:
Lets see,this could be a CEO simply wanting to go on to bigger and better things.
For the CEO of Piaggio USA, any other assignment would be bigger and better.
Addicted
Scooter Model: Occasionally
Joined: 20 Jan 2006
Posts: 506
Location: On the perimeter
Sat Mar 05, 2011 12:11 pm quote
ericalm wrote:
It's a hard sell in TX because outside of maybe Austin, it's difficult to navigate many cities without a car and the weather isn't scooter-friendly year round.

Hey Eric, I'm in Dallas and there are lots of us that scooter regularly. I exclusively commuted via scooter for something like 6 years (and for a couple of years, the round trip was 26 miles). The "have to go in a car" mindset isn't exclusive to Texas. You're in El Lay, man! You should know.

Anyway, I've scootered in Austin, and it isn't a lot different than Dallas. One just has to figure out how to get from here to there without hitting the freeways. I've also scootered from Dallas to Denton and back a few times. There's a way to do it, but it takes a while unless you want to hit 35 for the bridge over Lake Lewisville.

My setup is that I have a new Vespa, an old Vespa, and a light truck. The truck sits most of the time but is great for hauling scooters to a rally or driving if I want to pick up a load of groceries, or if I don't want to suit up in bad weather. I did it for years though.
Hooked
Yes, I am a scooter model
Joined: 06 Jan 2011
Posts: 459
Location: Southwest United States
Sat Mar 05, 2011 1:01 pm quote
SDG wrote:
Wade wrote:
From my perspective, it sure looks like Vespa would benefit from a shift in marketing strategy. What makes brands like Porsche, Harley-Davidson, Apple, Rolex, thrive? I suggest that it isn't that they offer cheaper more practical alternatives to thier competitors, or even better products.
Marketing scooters as a cheap alternative mode of transportation might sell some $2000 bikes, but that's not Vespa's goal. Vespa needs to be percieved as a thing to be desired - fashionable, prestigious, extravagant, and marketed outside the scooter community to enthusiasts of other stripes. Magazines like Golf Digest, Yachting, Cigar Afficianado, Automobile, and plenty others fall into the hands of people with passion for expensive things. I'm suggesting that Vespa stop marketing as though their competition is a Kymco or a used Mazda. There's nothing wrong with being perceived as an expensive toy.
+1

This is certainly the action plan that I would want Piaggio to take, for starters.

SDG
The only problem is this is how Vespa is perceived already, and what's up with Vespa atm? Same thing that is up with other scooter brands. Closed dealerships and low sales.

I guess if the well to do niche buyer who buys a Vespa as a vanity piece (however passionate they may be) can keep Piaggio USA afloat and dealers in business, that's great. But if not, not so great. And so far, not so great.

You're a dealer, you must know your demographic, you are "over the hill" from Beverly Hills and surrounded by affluence at your location. This must be your audience, so it's a perfect "plan of action" for you. But what about those who don't sell Vespa in SO, but elsewhere? Who will be their audience? I am entertaining the prospect of selling Vespa to a wider demographic because I believe with all my passion, they can be. Is this not possible? Seems to me trying to suggest passion to the same 'ol narrow demographic may not give those folks enough reason to buy a scooter. I mean, you either ride or you don't. Period. I don't ride a Vespa because it's a Vespa. I have reasons I ride that have nothing to do with the brand. Therein lies the passion. I understand my scooters in a particular way. I don't care for exclusivity, because it's a fallacy. Or at least doesn't make me feel special or passionate or anything like that. But, that's just me, I suppose.

I would suggest, like it or not, Vespa's competition is Honda, Yamaha, Genuine, Kymco, SYM, and all the rest. And it is in fact a scooter which must compete with other brands to stay healthy in the U.S., and beat the competition on the same field. If not, well, Honda had the number one and two selling scooter last year in Vespa's home market, did they not?

Things that make you go "Hmm?"

And the next time someone calls my Wasp a toy I am going to bash 'em one!
Hooked
Vespa Marietta
Joined: 19 Oct 2010
Posts: 254
Location: Marietta, Ga.
Sat Mar 05, 2011 1:22 pm quote
TheWasp wrote:
And the next time someone calls my Wasp a toy I am going to bash 'em one!
I apologize. I certainly did not mean to use the term "toy" in a diminutive way.
World Traveler
2007 LX150 Daring Plum Leonardo Da Vespa
Joined: 02 Jul 2006
Posts: 27967

Sat Mar 05, 2011 1:24 pm quote
WASP it's the lack of a better word I used it to. MY vespa isn't a toy but i still think most of the US thinks they are. I wish people could see that scooters are a viable solution to transpo.
Hooked
Yes, I am a scooter model
Joined: 06 Jan 2011
Posts: 459
Location: Southwest United States
Sat Mar 05, 2011 1:26 pm quote
Aw, screw it, guys. I am throwing in the towel. Forget my dream of freedom loving Americans everywhere owning and riding a Vespa, and a big ass Superbowl commercial. After a little further thought I now remember this: Most people here don't ride scooters or motorcycles (same thing to many) and never will. A sad and sobering thought.

Carve up the market however you like, and do your best. If that means Vespa is a niche product, so be it. At least some people will own them and ride. But people in cars suck, and it's all about cars in the U.S.

I am disappointed in my fellow American atm :'(
Moderator
2006 PX 150 & Malossi Kitted Malaguti Yesterday (Wife's)
Joined: 11 Dec 2007
Posts: 12959
Location: Paros Island, Greece
Sat Mar 05, 2011 1:54 pm quote
TheWasp wrote:
If not, well, Honda had the number one and two selling scooter last year in Vespa's home market, did they not?
Actually, no



Nor did Honda seriously threaten #1 Piaggio Group overall

Veni, Vidi, Posti
GT60 (X2)/ ET4 (X2)/ ET2/ 78 P200/ 67 Sprint/ 09 GTS/ 03 Ruckus/ 13 946/ 16 Prima 70/ 15 Sprint
Joined: 07 Oct 2006
Posts: 6104
Location: Sherman Oaks
Sat Mar 05, 2011 2:01 pm quote
TheWasp wrote:
SDG wrote:
Wade wrote:
From my perspective, it sure looks like Vespa would benefit from a shift in marketing strategy. What makes brands like Porsche, Harley-Davidson, Apple, Rolex, thrive? I suggest that it isn't that they offer cheaper more practical alternatives to thier competitors, or even better products.
Marketing scooters as a cheap alternative mode of transportation might sell some $2000 bikes, but that's not Vespa's goal. Vespa needs to be percieved as a thing to be desired - fashionable, prestigious, extravagant, and marketed outside the scooter community to enthusiasts of other stripes. Magazines like Golf Digest, Yachting, Cigar Afficianado, Automobile, and plenty others fall into the hands of people with passion for expensive things. I'm suggesting that Vespa stop marketing as though their competition is a Kymco or a used Mazda. There's nothing wrong with being perceived as an expensive toy.
+1

This is certainly the action plan that I would want Piaggio to take, for starters.

SDG
The only problem is this is how Vespa is perceived already, and what's up with Vespa atm? Same thing that is up with other scooter brands. Closed dealerships and low sales.

I guess if the well to do niche buyer who buys a Vespa as a vanity piece (however passionate they may be) can keep Piaggio USA afloat and dealers in business, that's great. But if not, not so great. And so far, not so great.

You're a dealer, you must know your demographic, you are "over the hill" from Beverly Hills and surrounded by affluence at your location. This must be your audience, so it's a perfect "plan of action" for you. But what about those who don't sell Vespa in SO, but elsewhere? Who will be their audience? I am entertaining the prospect of selling Vespa to a wider demographic because I believe with all my passion, they can be. Is this not possible? Seems to me trying to suggest passion to the same 'ol narrow demographic may not give those folks enough reason to buy a scooter. I mean, you either ride or you don't. Period. I don't ride a Vespa because it's a Vespa. I have reasons I ride that have nothing to do with the brand. Therein lies the passion. I understand my scooters in a particular way. I don't care for exclusivity, because it's a fallacy. Or at least doesn't make me feel special or passionate or anything like that. But, that's just me, I suppose.

I would suggest, like it or not, Vespa's competition is Honda, Yamaha, Genuine, Kymco, SYM, and all the rest. And it is in fact a scooter which must compete with other brands to stay healthy in the U.S., and beat the competition on the same field. If not, well, Honda had the number one and two selling scooter last year in Vespa's home market, did they not?

Things that make you go "Hmm?"

And the next time someone calls my Wasp a toy I am going to bash 'em one!
We have had success in two unique locations over the past 5 years. The first was in the suburbs far removed from Beverly Hills. It is what you do local and the level of passion you have that sells or not sells scooters.

The staff here is the reason we do well, excluding me 100%.

Don't take your ball and go home just yet, your input in valuable here.

SDG
World Traveler
2007 LX150 Daring Plum Leonardo Da Vespa
Joined: 02 Jul 2006
Posts: 27967

Sat Mar 05, 2011 2:07 pm quote
MENHIR i certainly hope that wasn't my plum Leonardo that that chick was doing gymkana all over.
Veni, Vidi, Posti
946
Joined: 18 Jun 2007
Posts: 5738
Location: Marietta, GA
Sat Mar 05, 2011 2:28 pm quote
Re: Change coming for Piaggio Group USA
ericalm wrote:
SDG wrote:
I'm told too small a percentage of the dealer body is selling too large a percentage of the scooters in the USA, the balance is way off nationally.
Sad to say, but part of the problem may still be too many dealers, dealers in the wrong locations, dealers often competing with one another for survival.

There are as many or more Vespa dealers in some states as Mercedes dealers. I'm not saying the two are equivalent, but it's indicative of levels of affluence and demand for luxury vehicles. Missouri, for instance, has seven Mercedes dealers and 10 Vespa dealers. Idaho has two Mercedes and six Vespa.
Oh hell yes, that's part of the problem. We don't even have to talk Mercedes and Idaho - similar conditions exist Northern California, too. Between my house in San Jose and Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, there are 4 Vespa dealers. If I go up the other side of the Bay towards Oakland, there are at least another 2. So let's just say, conservatively, that there are 5 total in case I'm putting one in the East Bay where it doesn't exist. (There's also one 30 minutes south in Santa Cruz, but I won't include them in this discussion since they are somewhat geographically isolated by some mountains on one side and an ocean on the other.

5 Vespa dealers for all of the (metro) SF Bay area - San Fran, San Jose, Oakland, Palo Alto, Berkeley, Mountain View, etc.. Sounds reasonable, doesn't it?

In the same geographic area, there are precisely *3* MINI dealers - Mini SF, Mini of Santa Clara (formerly of Mountain View), and East Bay Mini. I would say that the number of Minis I see on the road in this very Vespa-friendly area outnumber the Vespas I see on the road 50:1...maybe 100:1. Yet there are twice the number of dealers for the scooters than their similarly popular automotive brothers in spirit.

Perhaps that's a deficiency in MiniUSA's dealer distribution plan, as the Bay Area is clearly a hotbed for sales of those cars. Surely more than 3 dealers could survive here, but I digress. I would go out on a limb and guess that 2 of the 5-6 Vespa dealers in the Bay Area account for >70% of all sales...perhaps more.

That's not to say that I think the smaller dealers in our area don't deserve to have their franchise...but *6* in Idaho?! Really?!?
Hooked
Yes, I am a scooter model
Joined: 06 Jan 2011
Posts: 459
Location: Southwest United States
Sat Mar 05, 2011 2:28 pm quote
SDG wrote:
TheWasp wrote:
SDG wrote:
Wade wrote:
From my perspective, it sure looks like Vespa would benefit from a shift in marketing strategy. What makes brands like Porsche, Harley-Davidson, Apple, Rolex, thrive? I suggest that it isn't that they offer cheaper more practical alternatives to thier competitors, or even better products.
Marketing scooters as a cheap alternative mode of transportation might sell some $2000 bikes, but that's not Vespa's goal. Vespa needs to be percieved as a thing to be desired - fashionable, prestigious, extravagant, and marketed outside the scooter community to enthusiasts of other stripes. Magazines like Golf Digest, Yachting, Cigar Afficianado, Automobile, and plenty others fall into the hands of people with passion for expensive things. I'm suggesting that Vespa stop marketing as though their competition is a Kymco or a used Mazda. There's nothing wrong with being perceived as an expensive toy.
+1

This is certainly the action plan that I would want Piaggio to take, for starters.

SDG
The only problem is this is how Vespa is perceived already, and what's up with Vespa atm? Same thing that is up with other scooter brands. Closed dealerships and low sales.

I guess if the well to do niche buyer who buys a Vespa as a vanity piece (however passionate they may be) can keep Piaggio USA afloat and dealers in business, that's great. But if not, not so great. And so far, not so great.

You're a dealer, you must know your demographic, you are "over the hill" from Beverly Hills and surrounded by affluence at your location. This must be your audience, so it's a perfect "plan of action" for you. But what about those who don't sell Vespa in SO, but elsewhere? Who will be their audience? I am entertaining the prospect of selling Vespa to a wider demographic because I believe with all my passion, they can be. Is this not possible? Seems to me trying to suggest passion to the same 'ol narrow demographic may not give those folks enough reason to buy a scooter. I mean, you either ride or you don't. Period. I don't ride a Vespa because it's a Vespa. I have reasons I ride that have nothing to do with the brand. Therein lies the passion. I understand my scooters in a particular way. I don't care for exclusivity, because it's a fallacy. Or at least doesn't make me feel special or passionate or anything like that. But, that's just me, I suppose.

I would suggest, like it or not, Vespa's competition is Honda, Yamaha, Genuine, Kymco, SYM, and all the rest. And it is in fact a scooter which must compete with other brands to stay healthy in the U.S., and beat the competition on the same field. If not, well, Honda had the number one and two selling scooter last year in Vespa's home market, did they not?

Things that make you go "Hmm?"

And the next time someone calls my Wasp a toy I am going to bash 'em one!
We have had success in two unique locations over the past 5 years. The first was in the suburbs far removed from Beverly Hills. It is what you do local and the level of passion you have that sells or not sells scooters.

The staff here is the reason we do well, excluding me 100%.

Don't take your ball and go home just yet, your input in valuable here.

SDG
Yes well, my ball is too big. And so is my dreamy head. I forget that scooters are in fact a hard sell everywhere for everyone, and for what it is worth or isn't, Vespa does make a fine, fine scooter. It is a fine scooter for very apparent reasons, but those reasons aren't valued by people who don't ride, and people who don't understand the difference between a Honda Accord and a BMW 5 Series. And as you know, it is not just in price and aesthetics. It is in fact in quality, engineering, fit and finish and performance. Makers of fine automobiles understand this, and they have well deserved reputations for putting out product that can meet the standard. Sure, some buy simply out of wanting to be associated with a certain image or brand, but I think most do understand what they are buying. And it is more then a three pointed star.

This is also Vespa. So maybe Piaggio just needs to sell to these people better? I mean, dealerships have closed, but even if just upscale buyers would buy a Vespa (as you said, just 2 more a month) this would be great. I mean we always hear about the high earning "2%'s" on the news these days. And they have plenty of friends and the like. This is 2 out of every 100 people, at least. Why aren't THEY buying scooters. I used to live down the road from one of the most affluent cities in America before I moved (San Marino) and around the corner from tree hugging South Pasadena. But nary a scooter I saw, much less a Vespa.

So it's hard for me to get my head around the idea of "expensive toy." It is in fact a serious machine. I mean at 2:30am last night it got me 15 miles across town and back, and it was fun even though I was on an errand I did not want. And I must say, I am not a yacht person, rich person, or concerned with exclusivity. I am a medium income guy with three scooters, and my GF has the car. I will buy a GTV 300 one day not because it's expensive, but because it's not. It's like 1/4 the cost of that Mini Cooper I keep reading about in this thread, and half the cost of a cheapo subcompact Kia with roll down windows and no air conditioning. I can afford both those cars, but want neither.

And tell me, what would you rather roll up to a Black Tie Event with? That's what I thought =]

It's a great scooter that gives you much more then what you pay for. That's how I see Vespa. And, as one of the things that liberates my soul at 2:30am
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