Vespa USA is currently offering custom paint at selected dealers. It’s an interesting idea, but of course got us wondering how it’s done. Here’s our train of thought:
- Wow, really? That would be neat.
- Why would it be only for a limited time?
- I’m sure this has nothing to do with the fact that LML is offering custom color combinations on their new Stars in Europe.
- Would you have to order it from the factory and wait nine months?
- They can do patterns and graphics!? Is is a vinyl wrap? There’s no way they are they doing it at the factory, they have factories all over the world now, it would be logistically impossible.
- Ah, there are limited participating dealers, the dealers have to work with someone locally.
- That seems like it’d be really hard to manage costs and quality.
- Hmm, looks like the local painter is obligated to warranty the paintwork.
- Anyway, I bet it’s expensive as hell.
- It starts at $4300? isn’t that less than MSRP for an LX150?
- Yes, a 2011 LX150ie is $4599! Is $4300 JUST FOR PAINT?
- Ahhhhh, that price is for a 2010 LX150 (not a 2011 LX150ie). with one color.
- Even so, painting a scooter properly starts at several hundred bucks, how can they be eating that much money, even on a past-date scooter?
- They must have an awful lot of 2010 LX150s to get rid of.
Scootering has a long tradition of customization and “dealer specials.” In most cases, these dealer specials were pretty rinky-dink, they looked good on the showroom floor and set themselves apart from the competition, but the paint was rarely applied carefully or even professionally, often peeling or chipping on the ride home. Most replicas of vintage “Dealer Specials” you see today were far more professionally done than the originals. The “limited-time” nature of this deal begs the question, “How is this different from any other time you’d go to a dealer and pay them extra to repaint your bike.” We’re guessing the answer to that question is a) Vespa’s trying to find a novel way to unload old bikes, and/or b) There are enough steps for this process to go wrong that Vespa and/or the dealers don’t want to commit to a longer plan.
I admit I don’t know much about painting modern Vespas, but I know you can’t paint an old one well without lots and lots of time and money. Looking at the list of dealers, I don’t see any of the dealers I’m most familiar with, the guys that have a lot of experience with scooter restoration. These guys know it’s not hard to find someone to agree to paint a scooter at a reasonable price, but just about impossible to convince them to paint another one, even at twice the price. We wonder if these local painters are body shops that have done touch-up work for dealers but don’t realize what they’re getting into. It’s an interesting idea and it’d be great if it is marginally affordable and if the work is good. We’ll see.