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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Local Vespa sales brimming

A vintage Vespa parked in front of Phnom Penh's Independence Monument last year
A vintage Vespa parked in front of Phnom Penh's Independence Monument last year. KHOUTH SOPHAK CHAKRYA

Local Vespa sales brimming

Nine months after Italian-made scooter Vespa made its celebrated return to the streets of Cambodia, sales figures show that local popularity of the brand is surpassing expectations.

Tes Dary, inventory officer of Narita Group, the authorised distributor for Vespa maker Piaggio Group, said on Monday that from January to June this year, scooter sales had reached 70 per cent of the target goal for 2013, with the majority being Vespas. The showroom also sells Piaggio’s Fly and Liberty scooters.

“We plan to open another showroom in Phnom Penh and in another province in 2014,” he said.

Frederic Bachelet, the former Business Development Manager at Narita, said during the September launch of the showroom on Monivong Boulevard that the distributor had plans to sell 60 units per month until the end of 2012, then raise the volume to 80 per month in 2013.

“The Vespa has always been popular in Cambodia going back to the ’60s,” Kevin Stainburn, president of the Phnom Penh Vespa club, said yesterday.

Established in 1884, Italy-based Piaggio is the largest European manufacturer of two-wheeled motor vehicles, its website says. The company uses production sites in several Asian countries, including China and Vietnam.
In the showroom on Mon-ivong Boulevard, an average of 20 to 30 visitors drop by every day, Dary said.

But the price tag on a Vespa is not cheap, and its sales lag far behind less expensive models Honda and Yamaha.

Costs range from $2,990 for a Vespa S 125 ie, to $3,280 for a Vespa S 150 ie or an LX 150 ie.

Though he couldn’t comment on sales, Stainburn said the membership in the Phnom Penh Vespa Club has been growing. He added that when the club was founded in 2006, members “numbered around 30 or so when they were at their most popular”.

“My understanding is that a lot of these were ex-pats though, and partly the reason that it died is that they all moved on.”

The club was revived towards the end of 2010.

“Today we have 35 and there are more Khmer than ex-pats members,” he said.

Data from the Ministry of Economy and Finance show that imports of motor scooters reached 264,085 units, with a total value of $139 million, in the first 11 months of 2012. That is a 55 per cent jump from 170,380 units worth $86.5 million in the same period the year before.

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