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In other fake news…

November 3, 2018
2019 Vespa GTS

Rather cheeky of them to slap a watermark on a Piaggio press photo, eh wot? (Scooternova Magazine screenshot)

With EICMA set to open next week, news of a “NEW” Vespa GTS has spread like Ebola across the Interwebz. Unfortunately, the word “new” does not mean what these websites think it means.

This supposed “new” Vespa features a “new” engine, described below:

“300 HPE (High Performance Engine).

The latest evolution of the “300” (278cc) single-cylinder, 4 stroke, 4 valve, liquid-cooled, electronically injected engine has benefited from extensive work by Piaggio technicians aimed at increasing performance while at the same time reducing fuel consumption. Maximum power now comes in at 17.5 kW (23.8 HP) at 8250 rpm, which apparently translates into a 12% increase over the previous engine, while maximum torque, equating to 26 Nm at 5250 rpm, boosting it by 18%. These improvements are paired with reduction in consumption, with mileage apparently increasing from 29.4 km/l to 31 km/l “in the WMTC cycle.”

For reference, have a look at my most recent post about the GTS, in particular the specification table at the bottom (something very few other moto blogs provide, BTW).

The 23.8 hp quoted in the above paragraph is exactly 2.7 hp more than the present engine. That hardly qualifies as “High Performance,” and is unlikely to be apparent to even the most sensitive seat of the pants. Ditto for torque, the 26 Nm quoted above translating to 19.2 lb-ft, a whopping three pound-foot difference.

A reworked engine does not make a new bike, however. And aside from a few minor details like LED headlights and blinkers, there’s nothing significantly different about the 2019 GTS. If you don’t believe me, compare the photo above to any you might come up with in a Google image search.

The EU is now requiring scooters and motorcycles to meet Euro 4 emissions standards, so changes to the engine were in order. That lower emissions can go hand in hand with (slightly) increased horsepower and fuel efficiency is an added bonus.

But this is the time of year when every company on Earth that sells things with wheels and an engine introduces “new” products. It’s a new model year. The 2019 GTS has received what the biz calls a “facelift.”

The current Vespa largeframe debuted in 2004, as the Granturismo 200. It continues today, and seems likely to continue in production indefinitely. Why?

2-euro coin

Like so many other publicly-traded companies, Piaggio Group has gone all-in on the notion of “shareholder value.” Their press releases show up in my inbox regularly and often, and a large percentage carry the headline “Share Buyback Information.”

As I write this, you can purchase one share of Piaggio Group common stock with the coin pictured on the left. AND GET CHANGE BACK!

While it’s true that a somewhat higher share price would make Piaggio Group more attractive to investors, they could surely accomplish that by, uh, growing the scooter market in North America. But that seems not to occur to anyone in Manhattan.

That’s why there are all these Special Edition Vespas. Take the Yacht Club editions. “Oh Muffy, aren’t they just the bee’s knees?” They seem new, in the absence of actual new product.

The EICMA press conferences begin Tuesday; there will surely be other news from Piaggio Group, and others. Stay tuned.

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