The Vespa Experiment
May 5, 2009
Vespanomics is in motion for the Vespa Experiment, in which three singer-songwriters are in the midst of a Vespa tour of California nightclubs and coffee bars. A solid idea, everyone loves acoustic folk peppered with pseudo-environmental PiaggioUSA talking points, until you hear raging bullshit like (take it away, Paolo!):
“If the 69% of Americans who own two or more cars would just switch one set of four wheels for two, the reduction in fuel consumption, emissions, congestion and cost would be significant – not years from now, but right now,”
So all we need to do is immediately and permanently change the transportation habits of a mere 69% of Americans? If only America’s 21 million 2-or-more-car households* bought a scooter (a Vespa, natch), we’d se a significant change?
Am I cynical? Am I a big hater? No. That’s just a ridiculous dream.
Piaggio sold 15 million Vespas worldwide between 1946 and 1996. VespaUSA bragged a few years ago that with new plants in Brazil and Asia, they could supply the American market with 1 million scooters a year, even that was a pipe dream, seeing as how the MIC reported that only 222,000 scooters were sold in the U.S. 2008, the best year for scooter sales in decades.
(Feel free to quote those numbers if you go to one of the shows.)
Also, here’s a bit more detail on Vespa’s Pandora music channels (is that ANOTHER ad agency?) and news that Vespa’s doing a promo tie-in with that sad new Da Vinci Code-prequel.
*The exact number here is arguable, but we’re probably being more conservative than Timoni. First, we’re assuming he’s talking about households, not individuals, it’s ludicrous to think 65% of Americans own two cars personally. We found stats citing 21 million multi-car households in the U.S in 2005, and went with that. If Timoni’s “69%” was applied to all US households (105.5 million in 2000), that would mean 72.5 million multi-car households. We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and stick with 21 million rather than 72.5 million. Or! Maybe he meant “69% of the Americans” rather than “the 69% of Americans,” that would get him down to only 15 million scooters. The gist remains the same.