Business India ×
  Magazine:
Milestones

Published on: Sept. 20, 2021, 7:06 a.m.
The glorious journey of the ‘wasp’
  • Vespa’s memorable ride across the globe

By S.M. Boothem

The Vespa was born on the 23 April 1946 in post-war Italy and is now celebrating its glorious journey of 75 years which also coincides with India’s 75 years of Independence. Piaggio first licensed the production of Vespa scooters in India in the 1960s. In 1983, the company produced the P series scooter for the Indian market. In the 2012 Auto Expo held in New Delhi, the iconic Vespa re-entered the Indian market.

Piaggio unveiled its range of scooters at the Expo. This became the first such venture of Piaggio in India without a local partner. For Indian markets, the Vespa was officially launched on 26 April 2012 in Mumbai. To mark the grand event, Piaggio India recently unveiled the 75th edition of Vespa – limited units of this specially crafted are available to customers across India.  In the last 75 years, Vespa models have gone through a complete transformation in terms of look and design.

“We, at Piaggio India live the Vespa culture of freedom, originality, spontaneity and innovation. Vespa has lived the idea of emancipation, independence and exploration with light mobility. Being always fresh, vibrant, young and unconventional, the Vespa 75th edition celebrates the iconic history and special values of Vespa and depicts them with special execution. We celebrate the value of independence through the Vespa 75th, at the same time India celebrates 75 years of Independence”, said Diego Graffi, CMD, Piaggio India. 

“Vespa is not just a vehicle, but a lifestyle icon that has gained global stature and transcended trends. Celebrating its 75 glorious years with a creatively designed Vespa 75 edition represents the most exciting journey into history while looking at the future of mobility through its values. The Vespa 75th will offer Vespa fans an opportunity to symbolise the values of freedom and originality,” added Sudhanshu Agrawal, Business head – 2W, Piaggio India. 

Piaggio invented the Vespa in 1946. Having successfully established itself in the worldwide two-wheeler segment, Vespa was launched in India in April 2012. The company has a plant in Baramati, Maharashtra, where it manufactures the iconic Vespa alongside the Aprilia SR and SXR range.  

History and birth

After World War II, in light of its agreement to cease war activities with the Allies, Italy had its aircraft industry severely restricted in both capability and capacity. Piaggio emerged from the conflict with its Pontedera bomber plane plant demolished by bombing. Italy’s crippled economy, and the disastrous state of its roads, were not immediately conducive to the re-development of the automobile market. Enrico Piaggio, the son of Piaggio’s founder Rinaldo Piaggio, decided to leave the aeronautical field in order to address Italy’s urgent need for a modern and affordable mode of transportation for the masses. 

At the end of the war, Enrico Piaggio gave Corradino D’Ascanio, an aeronautical engineer, the task of designing a new type of two-wheeled vehicle. D’Ascanio built a completely new two-wheel concept which was totally innovative. Unlike motorcycles, he placed the engine on the rear wheel, a highly original concept. In September 1945, the MP6 prototype remained completely nameless until it was presented to Piaggio. Upon seeing the MP6 for the first time, Enrico Piaggio exclaimed: “Sembra una vespa!” (It looks like a wasp). Piaggio effectively named his new scooter on the spot – Vespa. 

Star connection

In 1952, Audrey Hepburn side-saddled Gregory Peck’s Vespa in the feature film Roman Holiday for a ride through Rome – the popularity of the film helped boost sales. In 1956, John Wayne dismounted his horse in favour of the two-wheeler to originally get between takes on sets. Marlon Brando, Dean Martin, and the entertainer Abbe Lane became Vespa owners. William Wyler filmed Ben Hur in Rome in 1959, allowing Charlton Heston to abandon horse and chariot between takes to take a spin on the Vespa. In recent times, Bollywood has taken a leaf out of the international page and used the Vespa in several movies. The Italian style, attractive and colourful Vespa is famous not only with Indian customers but also with Hollywood and Bollywood actors and is often part of their movies.

Don't miss this

Cover Feature

Battle for ZEE

The battle to oust Punit Goenka from the flagship company of Subash Chandra is unlikely to see anyone emerging victorious soon

Special Report

Dissonance over e-commerce

The Modi government needs to quickly fix the controversy over draft rules

Corporate Report

ELGi begins a new growth phase

ELGi has shown a great deal of determination to proactively deal with its customer and market requirements

Corporate Report

Mobikwik goes to market

Will it open a new chapter for the digital payment and mobile wallet firm?

Our letter to you, once a week.
Register with The CSR Weekly for free!

E-MAGAZINE
The battle for Zee
Why September is crucial
Top Business Houses
FROM THIS ISSUE

Corporate Report

Corporate Report

Exhibitions

Automobiles

Hospitality

International

Social Responsibility

Healthcare

Goodyear India partners Americares India Foundation

Published on Feb. 2, 2021, 9:21 p.m.

The partnership will support COVID-19 healthcare facilities in Faridabad and Aurangabad

Environment

Tata Motors launches a 'Go Green' initiative

Published on Dec. 23, 2020, 10:34 a.m.

The company will plant a sapling for the sale of every new commercial vehicle

Women Empowerment

Tata Starbucks ties up with Educate Girls to empower women

Published on Dec. 2, 2020, 3:10 p.m.

The partnership aims to provide volunteering and educational support to those who have relocated to urban cities from villages

Environment

Indian Oil has a social initiative for a clean and green world

Published on Nov. 25, 2020, 2:53 a.m.

The public sector company is planting a tree for every retail customer visit during its TreeCheers campaign period

Climate Change

Agriculture

Bihar and West Bengal most fiscally vulnerable to Climate Change

Published on Oct. 13, 2021, 3:36 p.m.

There is an absence of climate tagging of budgetary allocation

Law

Supreme Court permits Green Tribunal to act suo motu

Published on Oct. 13, 2021, 3:32 p.m.

The NGT may now self-ignite action either towards amelioration or towards prevention of harm

Power

Where are the green corridors?

Published on Oct. 6, 2021, 1:24 p.m.

Green corridors, like the Green Energy Corridor will be the need of the day

Power

TVS Motor, Tata Power charging ahead!

Published on Oct. 6, 2021, 11:43 a.m.

The companies join hands to extend countrywide EV charging facility

Stay ahead of the times.
Register with The Climate Change Weekly for free!