I visited Paris in 2006, and wrote about my experiences and shared some photos. I was lucky enough to go back last month (April, 2011) and it seemed that things have changed enough to make a new story and photo gallery worthwhile.
Continue reading “2sb Visits Paris, 2011”
More info and pictures of Peugeot’s HyMotion3 hybrid reverse-trike with a roof from Gizmag.
Peugeot displays the HYmotion3 concept. Yes, it looks pretty much exactly like a hybrid Piaggio MP3. Maybe it is an MP3, I dunno, merde, those French people, it’s like they have a different word for everything. Whatever that thing is, I wish the rumor I made up a few months ago about Peugeot coming to the U.S. would come true.
Peugeot has redesigned their Vivacity 50, I’m not in love with it, a little too “executive” for me, but it’s very distinctive and clean-looking. As reporter earlier, Peugeots will be sold in Canada in 2009, I’d expected to hear an announcement (or at least rumors) about the U.S. by now, but sadly, there’s been nothing but crickets. Can’t they see that AMERICA NEEDS SCOOTERS!?
I just read Peugeot will export 7-8 scooter models to Canada in 2009. America is apparently still (rightfully) being punished for creating the phrase “Freedom Fries” and being bossy at NATO meetings.
Peugeot unveiled two new scooters last week, the Speedfight Ultimate Edition and the RCup. The RCup features a mismatched double-round-headlight look that seems to be popular these days (Sym Mio, Adly Panther, etc). It’s hard to believe no one’s been able to convince Peugeot to enter the U.S. market, they’re great scooters, very popular in Europe, and sold in many small markets. A few Peugeots were grey-marketed through a Florida company a few years ago, and their story is unclear, they were never listed as an official distributor on Peugeot’s site, and they folded shortly after distributing one small shipment.
Things I noticed:
- Scooters and motorcycles are everywhere, even as the temperature hovered around the freezing point. (Lap aprons are very common on motorcycles and scooters.) Basically, the whole town sounds like you’re at a scooter rally, all day and all night.
- Scooters easily outnumber motorcycles 3-1. Most motorcycles we saw were small-displacement and Asian, the few bigger ones we saw were usually Ducatis or BMWs.
- It’s impossible to walk a block on any street in Paris without seeing several scooters parked on the sidewalk. Nirvana for American scooterists, but probably no fun for most pedestrians.
- Piaggio definitely dominates the market, even over Peugeot. Modern Vespas (ETs and GTs) and Piaggios (X9s and Libertys) are everywhere, and P-series scooters were far more common than i expected, maybe 1 out of 20 scooters was a P or PK-series. There were a good number of Peugeots, but mostly older beaters, I saw only a couple Speedfights. In Ireland a couple years ago, Gilera Runners dominated the market, but we only saw one in Paris. Kymco and Aprilia also had a decent share of the market. Chinese and Taiwanese scooters were common, but I saw few Hondas or Yamahas, and no “retro” Asian scooters other than one Honda Joker (called the “Shadow” there?).
- Most scooters, even the relatively expensive Vespas, were healthily thrashed, parked against walls and each other with stickers and dents galore. They’re transportation there, not fetish objects.
- We did see several nicely-maintained vintage Vespas that were clearly owned by lifestyle scooterists, mostly smallframes like the one above.
- As far as 4-wheeled vehicles, I couldn’t believe the number of Smart Cars, they’re cleaning up there. Minis (both old and new) were common, and all manner of tiny CitrÃ¶ens, Peugeots, and Renaults were everywhere. VW and Audi were probably the biggest importers. All the cars were tiny: the streets are narrow, traffic and parking is a nightmare, and gas is expensive. One of the biggest popular cars was a 2-door version of the Toyota Rav-4. Like the scooters, the cars mostly looked like they’d had a hard life.
I’ll post more later about the two scooter shops we visited.