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.
They need to take a good, hard look at the boutique model. I know many of the original ones are still around, including the
original one, but that's likely because the original ones were all in the best markets and locations. In many mid-sized markets such as Austin, San Antonio, San Diego, etc., boutiques have closed and shops selling other lines (such as Motorsport) have taken over Vespa sales for the area. 280 dealers may be too many; expecting boutiques to succeed in smaller cities and cramming multiple shops into the larger ones when sales are doing anything but booming has proven a poor strategy.
So much is written here about the need for Piaggio to do more advertizing and promotion. Think about the cost involved in a national advertizing campaign. Exactly what would you suggest Piaggio promote? What needs would they offer their products as solutions to?
Vespa is promoting Vespanomics (still). They are currently offering their products as a solution to having two cars
They don't need to do a national ad campaign to have effective advertising. They could offer dealers co-op money and provide them with good, agency-made creative. They could target certain markets and outlets. Digital billboards in LA. Radio in some areas. They could advertise on cable and target specific demographics, including the older, more well-heeled buyers that comprise a large percentage of owners these days. They could do more digital advertising. Their digital marketing could be much more effective.
None of this will do much good without the right messaging, though. As I've said in the past, I think trying to sell Vespas on the basis of practicality and savings only highlights their shortcomings when compared to other makes with lower MSRP, cost of ownership and maintenance, higher fuel efficiency, etc. In the US, people who want Vespas and can afford them buy Vespas. People who want a practical and cost-cutting scooter to supplement their transportation needs get something more utilitarian.
In the US, they first have to stimulate a perceived need for a scooter, and then compete on a brand, model, price basis.
They don't need to sell the entire country on the concept of scootering, they just need to sell Vespas to those with the budget and who fall into key demos/classes of likely buyers. Vespas are sold on want more than need in the US.
I'd almost think they could have more success doing the opposite of your suggestion. How about a campaign with, "Do you want a scooter
, or do you want a Vespa