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Vespa to be back on Indian roads by march 2012

Last updated: 06 September, 2011
New Delhi, Sep 6 (IANS) 18:19 IST

The iconic Vespa scooter will be back on Indian roads by March next year, more than a decade after it was withdrawn by Italian two- and three-wheeler major Piaggio.

The company launched Vespa in the country in the 1950s in collaboration with the Firodias.
"As per our plan, we will be launching the Vespa by March next year," Ravi Chopra, chairman and managing director, Piaggio Vehicles, told reporters on the sidelines of an event here Tuesday.

The new Vespa will be a 125cc gearless scooter. The company did not disclose its price range.

According to Chopra, an investment of 30 million euros is being made in the firm's scooter manufacturing facility at Baramati in Maharashtra.

"The capacity of the plant would be 150,000 units and would be expanded to three lakh units per annum by mid-2013," Chopra said.

Vespa had a chequered run in the country. It ruled the Indian roads for 20 years, in collaboration with the Firodias, but the Indira Gandhi government declined to renew its licence in 1971. The famous Bajaj Chetak was an outcome of that decision.

The company made a re-entry in 1983, this time in collaboration with the Lohias of the LML group but had to leave the shores again in 1999 after a protracted battle with the Indian partners.

When asked about the company's plans to venture into the motorcycle segment, Chopra said: "We are studying the matter carefully, there is a huge opportunity for that segment in India."

Chopra added that the company was developing a new 200cc petrol engine for the three-wheeler segment which will be ready by mid-2012.

The company recently increased its three-wheeler production from 800 to 1,000 units per day.

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