Monday, July 02, 2012

Vespa : Fashion Unchanged

Brand : Vespa
Company : Piaggio

Brand Analysis Count : # 512

Vespa is back in a new avatar or rather in its Original avatar. The brand which died in 2006 is being resurrected by its original owners is set to change the way Indian consumers think about scooters. Vespa initially came to India in 1960 with partner Bajaj  and later through LML. The brand had a tough ride in the Indian market with some few successes like LML Vespa Select. But the brand failed to bring in volumes which eventually led the demise of this stylish brand.

Although Vespa had a different image compared to its rival Bajaj, the brand was never considered to be lifestyle oriented. Consumers considered it as a stylish scooter and the image ended with that.

This 2012, Vespa has come back to Indian market with its original persona of an Italian Scooter. The launch is significant because of the iconic status that Vespa enjoys elsewhere in the world. It is also interesting to see how Indian consumer will welcome the second homecoming of the brand.
The main reason behind the relaunch of Vespa is the increasing interest shown by consumers towards the scooter segment. According to Economic Times, Indian scooter market is around 2.5 million units growing at CAGR of 20%. Lot of new launches are happening in this market and consumers seems to prefer the utility of this product.

What is interesting in Vespa is the brand's positioning as a fashion statement. For the first time in this segment, a brand is exploring the possibility of creating a new market - lifestyle scooter. The target segment is youth who wants to be different, make a style statement. Essentially a psychographic segmentation. The brand is now focusing on print campaigns which makes sense .
The brand has the tagline " Fashion Unchanged" and is drawing power from its legacy dating back to 1945. The brand uses funky colors and evokes as sense of youthfulness that fits a fashion brand.

The brand has done it right in terms of the product design. The scooters looks cute and stylish and the advertisements looks chic. Although the product reviews are average, Vespa is expecting to sell for its looks and more importantly its brand image. The brand owners are repeatedly telling that Vespa is not for power-hungry as an excuse for the poor engine specifications. But hope they don't forget that consumers should get a decent deal when the brands commands a premium. Poor specs cannot be masked through colorful advertisements and lifestyle positioning.

The challenge for the brand is to show value. The brand is expensive and the specifications is nothing special so getting Indian youth to open up their wallet for the sake of looking fashionable seems to be a tough task.
The silver lining is that this is the era of design and experience. Lot depends on the brand's ability to convey fashion statement through the product. 
The steep price will force customers to compare value with the workhorses like Activa, although Activa is not a style statement. There is a chance that the brand will remain aspirational restricted to a few. The brand could have done wonders if it was priced at an affordable range and get more on the road - some thing like an affordable fashion statement. But Italian arrogance is visible in the pricing. The brand with the styling and premiumness can make Indian consumers drool or will they ?

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  1. The word which I liked must is "Italian arrogance is visible in the pricing". I absolutely believe that only so called fashion statement could not generate the lead when there is cut-throat competition exists in the market. They should respect the market sentiments and even when the leader in this segment has priced far below than the Vespa. I believe if they will not come near Activa they will not able to capture the market.

  2. New look of vespa is too trendy i will be appreciated by the young generation..

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