There’s already a long trail of modern Vespa knockoff attempts. Chinese manufacturers and importers have adorned their trade show booths and spam emails with primitive Fiberglas approximations and photoshopped mockups of Pontedera pretenders for years. The SYM Fiddle began life as a computer rendering of a Vespa LX in a Dealer Expo brochure. Even LML is allegedly developing the “Clipper,” an Indian ET4 clone.
But our new (unpaid, sorry!) Dutch correspondent David V. discovered a Vietnam-market scooter that takes the cake, the Vinashin Motor Diamond Blue 125 copies the Vespa LX right down to the hexagon badge cutout on the legshield. Amazingly, this design plagiarism isn’t even the most controversial aspect of the scooter.
Thanh Nien News reports that Piaggio is nonplussed by the “tribute,” saying “Many companies have made products based on the design of Vespa but they all failed because their products lack the same design quality and high-tech value as Vespa.” A bimbim.vn story (autotranslation) features lots of photos and asserts that Vinashin’s model is a plastic shell over a conventional tube frame, unlike the real LX’s pressed steel monocoque frame.
But the real controversy surrounds the engine, which Vinashinmotor insists were manufactured by Sundiro Honda in China. Honda Vietnam claims that the engines were not legitimately produced by any Honda facility, while pointing out that only Honda Vietnam has the right to build or sell Honda engines in VIetnam.
Vinashin director Vu Manh Ha implies that the scooter was developed and manufactured in China and assembled locally. Vietnam seems a good place to test the waters for such a product since Piaggio failed to patent the LX design there, but it’ll be interesting to see what happens as these start to appear in other markets and on trade show floors.
Lots more if you speak Vietnamese
(Thanks a bunch, David V., keep ’em coming!)