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Iconic Vespa back on Cambodia's market

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Vespa scooters are displayed at a new showroom in Phnom Penh last month. Photograph: Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post

Italian-made Piaggio and Vespa scooters officially went on sale last weekend after being absent from the Cambodian market since 1975.

Mark Franklin, the managing director of Piaggio Asia Pacific, said the development of the Cambodian economy, and the trust his company had in it, had convinced Piaggio to return to Cambodia.

“Our company is glad and proud to be given the opportunity to bring about the best-quality brand of products — Vespa and Piaggio scooters — to serve the Cambodian people,” Franklin said.

For its comeback, Piaggio appointed local company Narita Group to be its authorised distributor.

Narita Group chairman Long Narith said his company’s partnership with Piaggio Group would bring Vespa, the most iconic scooter in the world, to Cambodia’s people.

“We will work hand in hand with the Piaggio Group to open up additional 3S [sales, service and spare parts] centres throughout the country,” Narith said.

Vespas will be priced between $2,000 and $3,000.

Commerce Minister Cham Prasidh said Vespas had been available in Cambodia since 1952, but sales had faded during the civil war in the 1970s.

“The return of Vespa emphasises that Cambodia is very receptive to investment and enjoys political stability,” Prasidh said. “We hope Vespa will consider establishing a plant here in the future.”

Franklin said Piaggio had already expanded into Asian countries such as Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam. “Everybody accepts our products very well,” he said.

“I believe the middle class will look for luxury in some products, so there’s no reason to think we shouldn’t come back to Cambodia, as we did in Thailand and Vietnam.”

Narita, also a Nissan dealer, plans to open showrooms in Battambang and Siem Reap within the next year.

The Piaggio Group, originally from Pontedera, Italy, is the largest European manufacturer of two-wheeled vehicles. The company has assembly plants in Italy, Spain, India, Vietnam and China.

To contact the reporter on this story: May Kunmakara at kunmakara.may@phnompenhpost.com

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