After recently expanding its Vespa portfolio by launching the VX variant, Piaggio is planning something big for its scooter aficionados by launching the Vespa 946 by end of 2013. The 946 has to be one of the most radical scooters to be ever put to production and its retro-futuristic design gives an indication to the styling cues of future generation Vespas. The major design highlights of the 946 is its floating saddle which is hinged on a cast aluminium support, full LED headlamp and taillight and LCD instrumentation cluster.
The Vespa 946 is offered in two engine options, a 125cc and 150cc mill respectively, both of which employ 3-valves and fuel injection. The single-cylinder 125cc mill has a power rating of 11.9PS and 10.3Nm of torque. The flagship 150cc engine pumps out 13.2PS of power and a torque figure of 12.6Nm. Piaggio has loaded the 946 with electronic goodies like disc brakes at the front and rear with ABS (anti-lock braking system) and ASR (anti-slip regulator) Traction Control, which, with the aid of electronic system, helps the rear tyre from slipping.
The body of the 946 is crafted from welded steel, but for the first time in Vespa’s history they have employed aluminium components in the frame and mudguard to make the scooter lighter and durable. Also Read: Vespa VX: First Ride
Currently the Vespa 946 is undergoing homologation test at ARAI to check whether the scooter meets the Indian standards for emission, safety and road-worthiness. Ravi Chopra, Chairman and Managing Director, Piaggio Vehicles India, is quoted by ET as saying, “In India, we will have to go through the process of homologation. Currently, it (Vespa 946) is under homologation under ARAI and the process will take 3-4 months. Hopefully, it will be available from the fourth quarter of 2014. Vespa 946 is the ambassador of Vespa.”
Piaggio haven’t disclosed the pricing of the Vespa 946 as of now and said that it would announce it only at the time of launch. But expect the 946 to cost a bomb as it would be brought in to our country as a CBU (completely built unit). Internationally the 946 retails for $9,946 which equates to around Rs 6 lakh but we feel Piaggio would price it lesser than that for our market. At this price, one might think that Piaggio wouldn’t be selling much of these scooters and you are right.
But for the Italian manufacturer the 946 is a model to showcase its design and engineering skills to the Indian consumers and to increase brand awareness of the Vespa marque in our country. Although the Vespa was launched as a premium scooter in our country, it has managed to carve out a niche for itself and Piaggio has managed to sell 52,000 units of the scooter in the past 13 months.
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