The Kneeslider (and the motorcycling press in general) are paying a lot of attention to commuter-friendly three- and four-wheeled motorcycles and microcars such as the VentureOne Tilting 3 Wheeler, KTM’s X-Bow, and the Bombardier Can-Am Spyder (more on the Spyder). As more car-like motorcycles appear, smaller cars (Mini, Smart, etc.) are also growing in popularity, and the line between cars and motorcycles was further blurred at Dealer Expo with a surprising number of trikes, oversized ATVs, dunebuggies, motorcycle training wheels, enclosed scooters, utility cars, and the like. Piaggio must ensure that their MP3 will remain the focus of, rather than becoming consumed by, this trend.
Word at the Expo was that the MP3’s greatest competition may come from within. PiaggioUSA recently spread the word that the 400cc model will come to America later this year. Dealers, who are still waiting for the 250cc version, found the 400cc announcement poorly-timed (and the shipping date optimistic). Piaggio, obviously, would be happy to sell customers either model, but if 250cc sales are disappointing, the 400cc might arrive too late to keep the public’s interest. The Vespa LXS faces a similar situation: again, dealers say U.S. shipping estimates are too optimistic, and the announcement will hurt sales of the “regular” LX in the meantime.