Did anyone notice the Piaggio Typhoon was gone? Was anyone clamoring for it to come back? Again, nothing wrong with the bike, but Piaggio USA’s “Bad Boy” marketing is just weird.Perhaps they’re trying to position it as a Zuma 125 alternative: the 80s ‘clawmark’ stickers and yellow paint are definitely from the Yamaha playbook. (You never thought you’d long for spirals, didya?) The Typhoon isn’t quite so, um, “distinctive” as the Zuma (which may be a good thing) and it is $500 cheaper, so maybe there’s hope.
Piaggio’s selling 2008 model year MP3s at discounts exceeding $2000. While its pretty discouraging that 2008 MP3s are still on dealers’ floors in 2011 (wasn’t 2008 the year dealers couldn’t stock scooters fast enough?), if you’ve ever dreamed of riding on three wheels, now is the time, it is a quite great scooter after all. Unspecified discounts are available on more recent models as well.
SIP Scooter Shop reports that they have a reliable source confirming that Vespa will be showing off their new 4-stroke powered PX series scooter at the upcoming EICMA show in Milan this Fall. The Genuine Scooter Company LML-made Stella 4-Stroke has recently made it to dealers around the country. But will the new PX come back to America? Would current Vespa dealers want it? One thing that many will be interested in is the design of the engine. Will it be unlike the LML and fit into the classic Vespa frame?
File it all under RUMOR until we see it rolling around Rome.
Scooter Infos (Pictures) and Scooter Station report the new Lambretta LN 125 was unveiled in Paris this morning, and will be on sale in France in August. They confirm it’s built by SYM (with a SYM Fiddle engine and some Italian parts) which is good news, quality-wise, but probably bad news, U.S.-distribution-wise. The European distributor is Mooof in Belgium.
The design is as good as could be hoped for, it’s pretty swoonworthy, to be honest. Let’s hope the quality and service are there to back up the looks, especially for a 125cc bike priced at US$5345. (Note: that’s the EU price converted to dollars, there always seems to be a substantial markup for the U.S. market.)
Larry Crowne opens today nationwide. Read our review here and enter our Larry Crowne t-shirt, $25 gas card, and notebook giveaway, which ends tomorrow (Saturday).
If those stakes aren’t high enough for you, Fandango’s Larry Crowne Sweepstakes offers a 150cc Genuine Buddy St. Tropez as the grand prize.
Genuine Scooter Co. has a marketing relationship with the studio, but PiaggioUSA’s marketing department couldn’t resist getting in on the action. Piaggio’s marketing department emailed a letter to dealers bragging about the appearance of Piaggio and Vespa scooters in the film, and praising Vespa Dallas’s group ride to a screening, with a link to a local news video.
Eric catches video of NoHo Scooters’ Mike Frankovich helping Tom Hanks start his Riva at the L.A. Larry Crowne premiere last night. Despite what the uptight publicist in the foreground is thinking, this fragment of cinéma vérité will almost surely be Larry Crowne’s most memorable contribution to scootering legend, and will endear Tom Hanks to all scooterists forever. And I’m not being snarky for once.
Tonight is the Chicago premiere, see you there! The movie opens Friday nationwide, our Larry Crowne contest runs through Saturday.
Piaggio built their 100,000th MP3 on June 17, 2011 That’s 100 units of each different MP3 model! But seriously, the MP3 has been a big success for Piaggio (though not so much here in the U.S.A.), that’s an average of 20,000 a year since its introduction in 2006. Impressive, but not a transportation revolution, sales of the Vespa from its introduction in 1946 to the millionth unit in 1956 averaged 100,000 units a year!
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.
Former Piaggio Americas CEO Paolo Timoni has written an editorial speculating on the future for Dealernews. If we ever seemed less-than-confident in Timoni’s guidance, this editorial piece should make our case nicely. Timoni’s hopes for the future in many ways are parallel those of 2strokebuzz, but we’d never in a million years imply that our dreams are realistic. Granted, he admits it’s all a bit of a fantasy, but one can’t help wondering if Piaggio’s U.S. growth plan was hitched on the same fantasy.
Let’s take a quick look at his predictions:
Continue reading “Timoni’s Travels through Time”
Besides the hot topic in the Facebook world asking Lambretta owners where they buy their goods, there was an announcement today of a merger between two of the major Lambretta outlets in America. Jet200.com and Casa Lambretta USA have merged and will soon be operating under the Jet200 name. The same services of both companies will continue as before. So don’t fret, DCD. The shop will still be serving you at it’s Mile High location, though it will now be a purely Innocenti snob shop, excluding Vespa work for the benefit of focusing on, to put it politely, those who need the most help. (My words, not theirs!) Hopefully this will benefit all involved and make owning a beautiful scooter all the more tolerable.
Investment firm Chicago Associates and financial advisors Livingstone Partners announced a Scooterworks/Genuine Scooters recapitalization deal today, the press release is typical self-congratulatory business blather with not much real information, but after two very difficult years for the scooter industry in general, Genuine apparently has some investment cash, the 4T Stella and Buddy 170i (shipping now), and a promising summer ahead of them.
Hell for Leather reports they were told firsthand that the widely-hyped BMW Concept C scooter will enter production with a planned 2012 U.S. market debut. (2SB suspected this might be the case when we, apropos of nothing, started getting BMW PR emails last week.)
Guido Ebert followed up on Facebook:
…some media outlets have been wondering whether it’ll come with ABS and LED headlamps. Answer: Yes. The company likely to build the scoot already offers ABS and LED lights on its own scooters.
That sure sounds like Kymco to us. Kymco’s a fine company that builds great scooters, but will Americans pay BMW prices for Taiwanese scooters with a roundel?