Stefano Pelle, managing director, Piaggio Vehicles, speaks to Amit Panday on the setting up the Motoplex store in Pune recently.
What is the Motoplex concept and how would it benefit Piaggio’s two-wheeler business in India?
Piaggio began working on Motoplex sometime back. This concept brings some of the most prestigious two-wheeler brands worldwide under one roof. Almost everyone knows Vespa but how many would know that it belongs to the Piaggio Group? Similarly, true motorcycle enthusiasts around the world know about Aprilia and Moto Guzzi but would they know they these brands belong to the Piaggio group? Possibly not!
We plan to leverage the popularity of Vespa, which is one of its kind, along with the other technically fantastic motorcycle brands like Aprilia and Moto Guzzi to give our customers a feel of the Piaggio family. This is not just another dealership but is a store with a premium experience. Our potential customers can walk in not just to buy a premium scooter or a motorcycle or the merchandise here, but they can also hang around, have coffee, speak with the officials, watch videos and carry the experience back with themselves.
How many more Motoplex stores are there globally, and will you set up more in India?
By end-2015, Piaggio worldwide will have 90 Motoplex stores globally. That will include at least 3 new Motoplex stores in India in the next 3-4 months. The last Motoplex was opened in New York (in Manhattan just two weeks ago). The Piaggio Motoplex stores are in Tokyo, Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore, Germany, UK and many other locations. (The company is expected to select amongst Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mumbai and Chennai for setting up three new Motoplex stores in India.)
Aprilia has been officially selling in India for a very long time. While the big bike market saw many developments over the last few years, the Aprilia brand remained non-existent all this while. Are you not thinking about launching the Piaggio big bike brand(s) on a larger scale here?
We will. Of course! But this is the first step, and we have something lined up for these brands, which will happen over the months to come. While we expand the network of the Motoplex, naturally the brands will become more visible and then it will make more sense to officially launch them.
How, in your opinion, Piaggio looks at the Indian two-wheeler market on a global scale?
Vespa is a very young brand in India. It is a premium product, which comes with premium pricing. Therefore we are not a part of the number game. Having said that, we understand that India is one of the largest two-wheeler markets in the world. While we are yet to establish our presence here and make a statement of our products, we will see what can be done to boost our business from this subcontinent in the near future.
Q: Will you participate at the upcoming Auto Expo in February next year? What new should we expect?
Yes we will be there, and you see our new, exciting products at the Expo.
Wasn’t the Piaggio Group once considering local assembly of select Aprilia motorcycles at its plant in Baramati?
Yes, we are thinking about it. It is still on. It might happen soon. But we need to go step-wise, and building the network of Motoplex and making our brands visible is our top priority. We need to make sure that 2016 starts in a good way.
Will we see more action in 2016? Are you looking at introducing any new brand from Piaggio’s global basket?
We have a renowned portfolio of popular brands such as Gilera, Scarabeo, and Derbi that are not present in India currently. However, for the time being we plan to focus on the three existing brands – Vespa, Aprilia and Moto Guzzi. As I said, we are very young in India. We have a lot to do with the existing brands; we have a lot of new people in the company. You will certainly see more action in 2016.
Will all upcoming Motoplex stores follow the same international format all the world?
All flagship Motoplex stores will be very similar to this (the company owned store in Pune). We have a different category of Motoplex stores which may vary in terms of available space and products on display. This one in Pune is a flagship store, and if you visit any other flagship store around the world, you will get the same feeling. The other upcoming Motoplex stores in India may not necessarily look the same. We will have spare parts backup across all our stores.