The Indian auto market has been hit hard by COVID-19 and the lockdown protocol it brought about. As brands collectively lose around a thousand crore each day, many small-scale car dealerships are on the verge of going out of business. The COVID-19 lockdown measures came at the same time dealers were working to complete the sale of their remaining BS4 stock by April 1, 2020.

This deadline was recently extended but under conditions. Under this, dealers can only sell 10% of their BS4 stock for 10 days after the lockout is removed (for now, this period is May 3 – May 13, 2020). Data shows that unsold BS4 vehicles in all vehicle classes are worth almost Rs 6,400 crore.

Amid the lockdown, Piaggio’s Pune dealers introduced substantial discounts for their BS4 Aprilia and Vespa models. Discounts go up to Rs 40,000 depending on the model year. What is more interesting is that the dealers also offer discounts (up to Rs 25,000) for the new BS6 models. Of course, the price reductions will only be available for a short time and could apply on a first come, first served basis.

Vespa / Aprilia showroom. Photo file.

Towards the end of last year, we had shared the updated BS6 prices for the main Aprilia and Vespa models. On average, prices have climbed by almost Rs 20,000. This is a ridiculous price increase for a scooter, especially since there are no major improvements compared to their counterparts. BS4. Besides updating its products to BS6 specifications, Piaggio India also introduced two new models: Aprilia SR 125 Digi Console (with digital instrument cluster) and Vespa LX.

Higher Aprilia scooter models now sport a nickname “SR160” instead of the previous “SR150”, due to their larger powerhouse. The 160cc engine produces 10.8 hp (+0.93 hp) and 11.6 Nm of torque. The lower SR125 range gets a 125cc engine good for 9.5hp and 9.9Nm. The same power plants, with FIs to reduce emissions, are used in the Vespa range.

Compared to other popular names in the segment, the Aprilia or Vespa models do not offer a major advantage to justify their high prices. However, they boast a tasteful aesthetic and use of premium materials, which is rare in the Indian scooter market. If more dealers advertise reasonable discounts, Piaggio could see better results on its sales chart in the months to come.

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