Local reminder: Mods and Rockers 2012 Chicago begins tonight with a 6pm “rumble” at ACE and a 10pm ride to Mayday SC’s Mods Vs Rockers Allnighter at Late Bar. Saturday is packed with events including English Breakfast, the always-amazing rides and concours, and a Lee Rocker show at Bottom Lounge.
A Piaggio/Vespa dealer has told 2strokebuzz that a new 2Q 2012 dealer order form from PiaggioUSA has eliminated a large share of the Piaggio product line from the U.S. market, most notably the full range of MP3s.
According to our source, The Piaggio MP3 250, 400, and 500cc three-wheelers are no longer available to dealers, and the promised MP3 Yourban 300 will not replace them, let alone the endlessly-hyped hybrid that Jay Leno promised dealers in 2008. It appears Piaggio is totally abandoning the MP3 in the United States.
(UPDATE: Other evidence suggests the MP3 Yourban will be available in the U.S. later this year, probably with 350cc displacement. see comments.)
The BV lineup, previously available in 250, 300, and 500cc displacements, is now limited to the new 350 model in black or silver only.
The Vespa line is being desaturated in a more literal way, with a far smaller color palette. The Vespa GTS/Super 300i is no longer available in red, and the Vespa 150 LX S loses its red, orange, and two-tone versions, it will now be available only in Black or Titanium.
Continue reading “MP3, Piaggio Lineup, and Vespa Colors Slashed”
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.
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.
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.
On April 13th, Lance Powersports published an open letter to SYM owners explaining the current SYM situation. An Eastern-U.S. distributor has still not been named, but Lance’s new sister company, Alliance Powersports, will handle left-coast distribution and has taken over SYM parts and warranty service nationwide. SYM owners should contact their dealer for parts and service, dealers should contact Alliance for parts/warranty support. Lance/Alliance National Sales Manager Mike Hickman also tells us that Alliance can supply new bikes to Eastern dealers until an Eastern distributor is named. The full letter and Hickman’s contact info follows.
Continue reading “SYM Distributor Update”
POCPhil launches the 2011 gas price scooter media blitz. Fine, even Phil’s doing it*, I’m not gonna begrudge dealers for milking the gas mileage argument, scooter shops that lasted through 2010 really need the business, and I hope 2011 rivals 2008 for scooter sales. But if consumers do some research, they’ll see fuel prices are an excuse to buy a scooter, not a true justification.
Continue reading “2011 Gas-Price Scooter Frenzy Begins”
Don’t wanna jinx anything, or poke any hornet nests with a stick, but various sources suggest that a certain Indian-manufactured metal-bodied 4-stroke manual-transmission scooter named after a Tennessee Williams character will be hitting dealers in the next week or two.
We reported a few months ago that Florida/Georgia scooter dealer chain Scooter Superstore of America (SSTAM) had filed for bankruptcy. Several sources tell us SSTAM’s shops officially closed at the end of January. These court documents call for SSTAM’s collateral and inventory to be returned to GE Commercial Distribution Finance Corporation. Mechanics from the Hollywood, FL location have opened a new service center, Vespariva.
After last month’s rumors, we’ve received a copy of an email Lance Powersports is apparently distributing to dealers announcing they’re SYM’s new distributor in the western United States. It’s unclear if eastern states will continue with Carter Brothers or move to a new distributor, but either way, Lance clearly isn’t making any efforts to be Carter’s BFFs…
You will see a renewed passion for this wonderful line of scooters, supported with wonderful customer service including parts support, tech support, and an attention to detail that we believe was missing from the previous distributor, Carter Bros.
The memo promises Lance will stock “a limited amount of scooters/parts” “very early in 2011” and will build up their inventory going into the spring and summer.
Piaggio/Vespa and other distributors have tried regional distributors in the past with mixed results. If memory serves, Derbi and Kinetic had regional U.S. importers as late as the early 2000s. A regional approach seems a bit anachronistic and overcomplicated today, but we look forward to seeing what Lance can do to get SYM back on track in the U.S.
Guido Ebert reports that both Power Sports Factory and Flyscooters are in the process of closing for business. Both have sent letters to dealers. Many Chinese scooter importers have come and gone without ever being mentioned here on 2strokebuzz, but these two companies stood out from the pack in a few ways.
Continue reading “PSF and Flyscooters to Close”