Kinetic has joined forces with a Bollywood movie studio to co-promote their Blaze scooter with the new film “Apna Sapna Money Money.” The Blaze is the first in Kinetic’s “Italiano” series of former Italjet designs.
“Scooteristi” posted a comment on our interview with P2Motors to let us know that Italjet’s site had a new Dragster on display. Italjet’s site had been down for a while, but lo and behold yesterday when I checked, it was live and totally re-done, with a new Dragster, a new scooter called “Jack,” and a few oogly dirtbikes and ATVs. The link is dead at the moment, but maybe they actually are up to something!
Two weeks ago, Armando Gonzalez of Phase2 Motors contacted 2sb to let us know he was working on bringing the Kinetic “Italiano” line of scooters to America. To make a long story short, Kinetic is an Indian manufacturer that, in 2003, acquired the rights to manufacture and distribute seven Italjet models worldwide. Italjet became more-or-less defunct around the same time, and Kinetic has been working towards bringing these models to market ever since, under the “Italiano” name. Early this year, Kinetic released their version of the Italjet Millenium (as the Kinetic Blaze) with positive results, and promised bring the Velocifero to America. Recently, Kinetic issued another press release promising the Blaze, and quietly removed the Dragster from the list of Italjets it planned to release. (Massimo Tartarini, son of Italjet head Leopoldo Tartarini and owner of the “Italjet” name has several times announced plans for the Dragster, but hasn’t followed through, to our knowledge.) Back to Kinetic, here is our interview with Armando Gonzales:
Continue reading “P2Motors interview: Kinetic’s plans for America”
For months, we’ve been trying to find out who would bring Kinetic’s “Italiano” line of former-Italjet scooters to the U.S. In the end, he found us. Armando Gonzalez of Phase2 Motors, in suburban Seattle, posted this comment Saturday:
Hello all, just stumbled on this site and caught the posts. Great comments. I met the Kinetic Managing Director last year in San Francisco and am working to re-start Kinetic distribution in the U.S. The current distributor based in Philly is ready to retire and has had trouble getting a strong product line from Kinetic. Now that the Italjets are available, things are looking up, but you are right about their priorities. I was in India in June and itâ€™s hard for them to justify putting much emphasis on the U.S. market because our annual scooter sales are dwarfed by what they sell in Inida (even as the #4 scooter company). Anyhow, Iâ€™ve been trying to convince them that Velocifero and Dragster are the big ticket items in the U.S. Iâ€™m going to copy the above comments and pass them along to Kinetic (minus any names) to help bolster the case. If all goes according to plan I hope to get some of these hot models into the U.S. sometime next year. Please chk out my site and send me an email if you have suggestions. Iâ€™m going to have to setup a dealer network from scratch and will need all the viral marketing help I can get. Pls keep those candid comments coming.
We’ve sent a slew of questions to Armando about Italjet, Kinetic, and his plans, we’ll publish his replies when we get them. Thanks for chiming in, Armando!
Update: A little more info about P2Motors and the Kinetic situation on the ScooterBBS. To clarify, P2Motors does not yet have a deal in place with Kinetic, but is working toward taking over from Cosmopolitan Motors. Cosmopolitan is Kinetic’s current importer, and has been for some time, but–for whatever reason–has brought very little visibilty to the brand in the U.S.
Kinetic is back in the news, saying more or less the same thing they’ve been saying, minus the “Velociferos to America” part and instead saying we have the Blaze (“the third-best selling scooter in India!”) to look forward to. Why a company with the rights to, and tooling for, the entire Italjet line would chunk out boring “family” scooters before the Dragster is beyond us. Then again, Piaggio hasn’t brought the Gilera Runner to the US, so what do we know?
The Business Standard of India reports a joint venture has been formed by Kinetic Communication and Ducati Energia to manufacture “flywheel magnetos, CDI, ignition system, regulators and ECU for two and three-wheelers.” The venture will be called “Ducati Energia India,” and will be based in Pune. Kinetic is currently developing and manufacturing the former Italjet line of scooters. If only they could work Lucas into this deal, they’d pretty much dominate motorcycle electrics for a thousand years.
While you’re waiting for 2sb’s Genuine Blur review (3/4 finished! it’s epic!), The Hindu Business Line is drooling all over the Kinetic Blaze, the Indian version of the Italjet Millennium. Still no clues towards a U.S. importer, despite Kinetic’s claims the Velocifero would be here by the end of the year.
After the initial (positive) response to the Kinetic Blaze in the Indian press, and reports in May that Kinetic’s version of the Italjet Velocifero would (“soon”) be coming (exclusively) to America, Kinetic has been pretty quiet. Now they’ve announced the Blaze is going to be exported to Japan, but still no official word on Velociferos or America, not to mention the one word we all want to hear: “Dragster.”
India’s TV18 reports Citicorp Finance is buying a 10% stake in Kinetic Motors. The interview with Kinetic Managing Director Sulajja Motwani doesn’t reveal much about their plans, but she says Citicorp’s investment covers their needs for the development of Italjet and SYM models over the next couple years. The hopes of Italjet Dragster fans everywhere are in your hands, Ms. Motwani.
Since our report last night about the return of the Velocifero, in which we reported that ItaljetUSA.com was going through a domain name transfer, several other long-dormant Italjet sites, all working last night (Italjet.com, Italjet.it, and Australian importer ItalScooter), have also been replaced with domain transfer announcements. Is Italjet gearing up to market the Kinetic-manufactured scooters internationally? Will the Kinetic Italiano scooters bear an “Italjet” badge? Who will be the U.S. importer? Will they get it right this time?
Kinetic Engineering announced today that the Velocifero, the second in its line of license-built Italjet scooters, will debut soon. What comes as a fairly huge surprise is that the Kinetic Velocifero will be “exclusively manufactured for exports to (the) U.S.” ItaljetUSA has been dormant for a few years, and it’s unclear who’s running the show. The italjetusa.com site appears to be changing hands (or at least hosts), so watch it closely for more info. (a “whois” search revealed nothing). Kinetic chairman Arun Firodia was quoted in a release as saying “We plan to export 20,000-30,000 scooters in a year. Each vehicle’s cost is around $500-$600.” (that’s their cost, not yours, settle down)
Can Kinetic sell up to three times as many scooters in the U.S. as Vespa? Can they do it with a 50cc Indian-manufactured scooter that debuted here more than ten years ago? The Velocifero design was highly regarded when it came out, and aesthetically it holds up well. Quality was respectable, but supply of vehicles and parts,–and service support–was dismal. Italjet prices were comparable to similar Vespas and Aprilias. Both Italjet and ItaljetUSA seemed dormant by early 2003 (the Italian site is frozen in time in early 2002–by which time the Velocifero had been discontinued), but the Italjet announced the Kinetic deal late in 2004. If Italjet USA hopes to sell that many scooters, they’ll need all cylinders firing: advertising, sales, service, parts, quality, and a price lower than the $3200 they were asking in 2000. Adding the Dragster to the U.S. lineup sure wouldn’t hurt, either.
This review of a prototype Kinetic Velocifero indicates that it maintains the look and steel body of the Italian version (a 2000 Italjet model is pictured above), but calls the 50cc 2-stroke engine “hopelessly underpowered.” The Velocifero, along with the other six scooters in the “Italiano” family, is to be manufactured at its Pithampur plant in Madhya Pradesh. The first of these models, the Blaze, was released in India a couple months ago, to a good amount of fanfare, and is selling about 10,000 units a month. In a world full of respected brands selling their names to Asian companies, this may be one of the few cases where the final product earns more respect than the original.
On my way to work this morning I saw, of all things, an Italjet Velocifero, the first i’d ever seen in the US. It’s hard to believe there are any still out there, there can’t have been too many brought in, I don’t believe they’ve been imported since at least 2000, they’re famously difficult to maintain, even without the dismal supply of spares. So kudos to you, lone Chicago Velocifero rider, keep the faith until Kinetic gets their act together.
As reported on The Scooter Scoop: Kinetic, who acquired rights to produce seven Italjet models way back in 2004, has at last released their first model: the Kinetic Italiano Blaze (thankfully renamed from the Italjet Millenium, which seems, erm, dated). Kinetic’s site features an overhead photo of all seven planned “Italiano” (apparently they’re not using the Italjet name) models in a popup window (note the Blaze is labeled as the “Blade”). Those Kinetic Dragsters may be a reality yet, not to mention the long-awaited Kinetic circa-1993 Velocifero, the first retro-RETRO scooter. Hopefully someone with Indian scooter importing experience and nothing else to do at the moment will bring them to the USA.
UPDATE: also from Scooter Scoop, here’s a test ride and review.