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Auto Expo 2012: Scooters make a comeback

N Madhavan     January 6, 2012
If the 2012 Auto Expo is any indication, the scooters - after nearly getting wiped out a decade ago - are clearly making a come back. Almost all two-wheeler manufacturers (including Yamaha - yes Yamaha) have either launched a scooter model or have shown their intention to do so.

Piaggio, the largest manufacturer of two-wheelers in Europe, re-introduced the iconic Vespa brand in the Indian market on Friday. The 125 cc scooter will be positioned as a life style brand and will hit the Market in April this year. World's largest two-wheeler manufacturer Hero MotoCorp, on Wednesday unveiled a masculine scooter Maestro. Yamaha too displayed three scooters - Mio, Fino and Xeon - that the company sells in Thailand and Indonesia and also showcased Ray - a concept model. Other players like Suzuki, Mahindra and Honda too had something new to offer.

TVS Motors chose to announce development of a new technology that marries the convenience of the scooter and the mileage of a motor bike. According to the company the mileage of its scooters will increase by 20 per cent and hopes that it will offer it the badly needed competitive edge to gain a greater market share in this space.

The renewed interest is not without reasons. The scooter is the fastest growing segment within the two-wheeler industry today. It is going at over 30 per cent month on month. In 2011 the segment grew at 20 per cent even as the two wheeler industry grew by only 12 per cent. '' We expect scooter segment to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 20 per cent in the next five years even as the overall growth of the two wheeler segment is expected to be around 12 per cent,'' says Ravi Chopra, CMD, Piaggio Vehicles Pvt Ltd.

In 2011, the size of the scooter segment was 2.20 lakh units.

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