Piaggio to enter mid-size motorcycle market with Aprilia sports bike in September

The launch to coincide with first ever MotoGP race to be held in the country with Aprilia as a leading player.

By Shahkar Abidi & Ketan Thakkar calendar 08 Feb 2023 Views icon5406 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

Piaggio, the Italian premium bike major is entering the highly active Indian mid-size motorcycle market with the Aprila brand in the second half of 2023, as part of its plan to revamp and reinforce its two wheeler business in the country.

While the scooter portfolio will get a new set of engines and new variants, the biggest launch will be in the motorcycle space. Designed and developed for emerging markets, India is going to be amongst the key manufacturing bases where this model will be locally manufactured apart from China, Vietnam and Indonesia for Aprilia motorcycles.

The motorbike is likely to be launched in September, just ahead of the first ever MotoGP race in India - where Aprilia will be a key participant in the event. Developed with critical inputs from the Indian market, the sports bike is expected to be locally made with a deep localisation level out of the company's factory in Baramati.  

According to people in the know, the mid-size motorcycle is internally called as Aprilia RS440 and it will take on the likes of KTM RC 400, Kawasaki Ninja in a highly competitive mid-size motorcycle segment. The start of production for the model is planned in September and the company hopes to sell about 10,000 to 15,000 units per annum, said sources.

While the immediate priority is to cater to the Indian market, Piaggio is likely to use the country as a base for exports for this mid-size bike.

Diego Graffi, CMD of Piaggio Vehicles (PVPL), a 100 percent subsidiary of the Italian automaker Piaggio Group, told Autocar Professional the company is looking to refresh and reinforce its position in India two wheelers market over the next decade by launching new vehicles and entering new segments, including motorcycles.  

"We will have some new products coming up in the two-wheeler space in the immediate term. We are going to refresh and enforce the performance of our Aprilia scooter to recreate the gap that we had with competitors when we started with Aprilia few years ago, and plus we are looking at new segments coming forward because we feel that now, it's time that two-wheeler market also will go for sort of segmentation."

On the Aprilia motorcycle Graffi said, Piaggio India has worked with all the R&D centers in Italy, in India, in Vietnam and Indonesia and in China.

"So, the new philosophy of the group is to have a global approach also with these kinds of products. So, it means that local production will be most likely something that will happen as well as production somewhere in the world. And then we will decide whether to export or not depending on first of all on the needs of the local market," the top Piaggio official said.

Celebrating its 25th anniversary in India, Graffi believes Piaggio understands the Indian market well now and he feels the country has reached a point, where the two-wheeler market is ready to be split up into various segments, just like the passenger car market was in the past. Hence, the new Piaggio scooters planned to be introduced in India are designed to cater to varying needs of the evolved Indian riders with scooters offering beyond the commuter segment, such as touring, cruisers, luxury, and racing, among others. The main focus will be expanding under the umbrella of the Aprilia and Vespa scooter brand.

To that effect, the complete line up of Aprilia scooters will now be fitted with a new, higher-performance i-GET engine that provides enhanced acceleration and braking ability. The Aprilia Typhoon, built for aspiring racers, will join the Aprilia SR line of high-performance scooters.

Furthermore, the Aprilia SXR line is all set to boost the ante and give newer cruising options as a high-performance maxi scooter. To entice young customers, a new Vespa edition will be offered. Secondly, an all-new Vespa Touring edition has been created for explorers and makers. Piaggio also just debuted the limited-edition Vespa SXL Sport and a new Racing 60s, said the company in a statement.

(with inputs from Manobhava Baruah) 

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