Skip to content

And how’s your Wednesday?

January 4, 2012
Old-skool VW pickup

Wouldn't you love one of these? (from Facebook)

The wind has been fierce in Bellingham. High wind warnings have been a daily occurrence, gusts to 50 mph pushing the torrential rain sideways and bending the trees 45 degrees. Well, at least it’s not snowing. And the GTS remains upright (covers make good sails, so leaving it off is highly recommended under these circumstances).

While the scooter/motorcycle market in the U.S. continues to sputter along, sales in India are exploding. Scooter volumes increased 39 percent over 2010 (motorcycles were up a trifling 23 percent). Manufacturers are scrambling to meet demand, and the end is not in sight: the Indian market for 2-wheelers is expected to see annual sales of 20 million units in four years’ time.

Piaggio hopes for a sizable slice of that pie as it prepares to introduce a new line of scooters at Auto Expo 2012 in Delhi. This will be Pontedera’s third go-round on the subcontinent; it originally partnered with Bajaj Auto (which just introduced a Tata Nano-like basic car), then entered a joint venture with Lohia Machine Limited, which is where Stellas come from.

I’d read that Piaggio’s Indian entry will be based on the Vespa LX, but with changes to reduce the price and make it easier for owners to maintain: among other things, wheels you can change yourself! Once I know more, you will, too.

Finally, it would be difficult to imagine a cooler way to travel to a scooter rally than the device in the photo. There’s room for five if second-row occupants don’t mind being cozy; two scooters in the bed and three on a trailer (you’ll notice there’s a hitch) would probably limit top speed, but you’d want to take your time on the back roads. As you would if you were riding. Favicon

  1. January 4, 2012 1:56 pm

    Oh, I so want one of those…

  2. January 4, 2012 3:03 pm

    While the scooter/motorcycle market in the U.S. continues to sputter along… the Indian market for 2-wheelers is expected to see annual sales of 20 million units in four years’ time.

    Oh, it’ll be like that here, soon… as soon as the disaster capitalists destroy the last vestiges of labor unions and push average wages down to Indian/Chinese levels. Why do you think I have no car?

  3. January 5, 2012 6:30 am

    That is one cool ride. Complete old-style luggage set as well!

    It’s seems quite a snug fit for the smallframe – wonder whether a normal Vespa would fit in the same space?

  4. Jack Riepe permalink
    January 5, 2012 9:37 am

    Dear Orin:

    Please excuse my absence… I’m finishing up my book and get distracted easily. I am not surprised that scooter sales are rocketing in India, considering the Indian economy is on the rise — unlike here.

    My K75 is in the garage for the winter… The first dusting of snow fell at the Jersey Shore today, and they salted and sanded everyplace.

    Fondest regards,

  5. January 5, 2012 1:35 pm

    Jeff, I seriously doubt scooter sales in the U.S. will come anywhere close to Indian volumes. For one thing, Americans still overwhelmingly think of scooters and motorcycles as toys, not transportation (and the unique sense of entitlement among Americans will prevent the vast majority of them from ever thinking otherwise). For another, where would people buy scooters? All these dealers have been going out of business, and most of the ones that remain are closed many more hours a week than they’re open.

    Take Bellingham, for example. There is no scooter dealer within the city limits. The Ural motorcycle dealer, which is halfway to Canada in the middle of the cow pastures, took on a Genuine franchise last year, but they’ve done absolutely nothing to let anyone know that (and as far as I know they haven’t sold a single scooter). The next closest dealer that sells a major brand of scooters is 32 miles away, and the closest one that’s actually interested in selling scooters is another 35 miles beyond that.

    And I have to admit, if things got bad enough for me to have to choose between the car and the scooter, this time it would be the scooter that goes. The cost per mile of my 17-year-old Ford Escort is significantly less than the GTS. And the GTS would cost even more to run if I had to take it to a dealer, instead of to the guy who works on scooters in a friend’s garage, and charges accordingly…

  6. January 5, 2012 1:42 pm

    Chip, something larger than a smallframe would probably fit diagonally. But that would mean only one scooter in the bed instead of two. A GTS would have to go on a trailer, for sure…

  7. January 6, 2012 6:17 pm

    Jeff, I seriously doubt scooter sales in the U.S. will come anywhere close to Indian volumes.

    Well, India has roughly 3x the population of the U.S., so… yeah. 🙂 But percentage-wise, I am not so sure.

    Presently, when Americans get to the point economically where they have to ditch the car, they’re generally thinking 1.) bus (if they live where there is such a thing); 2.) bumming a ride; 3.) bicycle; 4.) walking.

    (and for many, 0.) suicide.)

    What we haven’t seen since the 1930s is Americans having to become resourceful and creative in how they conduct their everyday affairs to survive, really. The mid-east gas crisis of the 1970s had a tremendous impact on sales of two-wheelers, particularly small-displacement motorcycles and mopeds. I’m pretty sure it could happen again, given the number of questions I still get at the gas pump every week.

  8. las artes permalink
    January 7, 2012 2:02 am

    Gasoline scooters are well-known to people who would like excitement and thrill. Because of its limitless speed option, you are able to drive like hell if you wish to. Smaller and lighter it might be, it’s best for traveling and spanning the longer and winding tracks.

Comments are closed.