Piaggio’s Vespa Scoots Back Into Phnom Penh

Vespa, the iconic Italian scooter, is now officially available for purchase in Cambodia—again.

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A 2012 Vespa 150cc is displayed at Narita Vespa on Monivong Boulevard yesterday during the dealership’s launch. (Siv Channa)

Italy-based automobile company Piaggio, in cooperation with the local Narita Group, opened the doors yesterday to the country’s first licensed Vespa dealership.

“The market is growing in Cambodia, and we’re seeing more people with higher salaries and an increased luxury lifestyle who want a Vespa,” Mark Franklin, managing director of Piaggio’s Asia-Pacific region, said during the opening ceremony at Narita Vespa on Monivong Boulevard.

“A lot of people have old Vespas that were here before the war, 30 to 60 years ago. Now, it’s making a comeback,” he said.

The new Vespas range in price from $2,950 for the 125cc model to $3,250 for the 150cc model. Mr. Franklin said the Vespas are designed for the local environment and consumers with a lower seat and lower handlebar, and a narrower body to weave around traffic.

“People say it’s expensive, but you’re paying for the quality,” said Frederic Bachelet, marketing and sales manager for Narita Vespa, adding that he has already sold 30 units. “You can’t compare a Vespa to any other motorcycle. It’s like an iPhone. It’s a status symbol.”

Vespa had 115,000 sales last year in Asia—the largest amount so far in the region, said Mr. Franklin, who could not break down sales by country.

“Some may see that as small, but one Vespa is equivalent to two to three Hondas,” he said.

Narita Vespa’s future plans extend beyond Phnom Penh. Showrooms in Siem Reap and Battambang are expected next year, Mr. Bachelet said.

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