Vespa Looks East

"Total global demand for scooters is 44 million. Europe accounts for 1.7 million; the US is about 700,000; South America another 3.5 million; and all the rest is Asia. So the future is clearly Asia." - Roberto Colaninno
"The rest" is about 40 million scooters, but Vespa - a brand that almost parallels my own life (it came into existence a year before I did) - is at this point a luxury item. When it started - I looked in vain for a famous photo of an Italian family riding one, a kid standing on the running board and another seated in front the handlebars - Vespa was the pride of Italian proles (until they could afford a Fiat). So how much of that 40 million does Vespa have a shot at? The math still works in their favor: Just 10% of Asia would match their sales everywhere else.

The quote is from Paul Betts's interview with Roberto Colannino in the Financial Times, Monday, 8 November 2010, US edition, page 16. Colannino (below) brought Vespa back from the dead. Now he's trying to revive Alitalia.


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