Coming to India: Vespa Cafés

Vespa Café

Vespa recently re-launched its products and manufacturing in India with the debut of a version of the LX125 built specifically for that market. Earlier this week, the company announced they’re hoping to further build the brand there with a chain of Vespa Cafés. In addition to espressos, the cafés will sell Vespa-themed merchandise to help reinforce the concept of the carefree, European lifestyle exemplified by their scooters. Unlike the Vespa boutiques that were the hallmark of the brand’s sales strategy when it returned to the US in 2000, the Indian Vespa Cafés will not be selling scooters.

The image above is a concept from Vespa India. It appears that the Vespa Cafés will either be serving wine or at least displaying it on their shelves. Also interesting is the complete dearth of imagery or other representation of actual scooters in the design and decor.

Until the relaunch this year, the Vespa brand had been absent from the Indian market for decades. From the ’70s until the late ’90s, Vespa had manufacturing agreements with Indian companies to manufacture scooters, some of which were branded Vespas, then others sold as Bajaj or LML. Both companies continued to manufacture their versions of Vespas under license after the Italian company withdrew from the market. LML still builds Vespa offspring, one of which is sold in the US as the Stella 4T. In recent years, Vespa parent company Piaggio has made huge gains in India as a manufacturer of commercial vehicles such as delivery scooters and light vehicles.

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