Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Fuoco 500 to Come Stateside!

There are a lot of cool scooter news stories out today, that I just cannot ignore. So I'm putting down the cardboard boxes and strapping tape for a couple of hours, to give you an overview of the coverage, and just a smidgen of my highly biased opinion.

Most exciting to me, is the news that Piaggio will be rebadging the Gilera Fuoco 500, as the Piaggio MP3 500. Also exciting is that it doesn't look like Piaggio will be altering the "naked" look of the Fuoco with MP3 body panels. Check out this spy photo from a recent Piaggio dealer meeting in AZ.

Yeah baby, slap an MP3 badge on that puppy, and call it good!
I know some folks prefer the more civilized styling of the other members of the MP3 clan. And a lot of folks think even the initial MP3s were fugly (especially compared to their Vespa cousins.) Personally, I think the Mp3 is so ugly it's cute, a definite bulldog of a scoot. Well, if that's true then the Fuoco (do I really have to start referring to it as an MP3 500?), is a bull mastif. Plus, that front end, viewed from the right angle, looks like a dragon's head, which should be enough to tell you which one I prefer...

Is this going to start a precedent? Will we start getting select other scoots from Piaggio marques such as Aprilia and Gilera, stateside? Hmmm....

I'm also curious as to how this decision was made at Piaggio. To scooterists on this side of the pond, the Fuoco was a no-brainer for America's sprawling suburbs, 2 hour round trip commutes, thousand mile interstates, and bigger is better attitudes. I'm willing to bet I wasn't the only scooterist to find the highest ranking Piaggio rep at AmeriVespa this year, and plead for this puppy to be imported, dismissing arguements that Gilera's a European marque having no stateside support with an petulant "Well, just slap a Piaggio badge on it!"

The same pipe-dream was also repeated many times on Modern Vespa. Was Piaggio listening, or did their marketing department come to the same concluscion through demographic research, that American scooterists knew intuitively? Here's to hoping they were paying attention to their existing customer base....

The rumor mill is predicting the MSRP of the Fuoco... um, MP3 500 to be in the range $10k USD. Steep for a scooter, to be sure. The 582cc Honda Silverwing is $8k; The Suzuki Burgman 400 is $6k, the 650 is about $8k, and the 650 Exec is near $9k; Yamaha's 395cc Majesty is $6k. But in the contemporary scooter market, Italian hotness has always come at a premium, and there is nothing to compare to this Italian hotness.

Other coverage of this story:
The Scooter Scoop
2StrokeBuzz
Modern Vespa (Where user Lucky Bastard started the ball rolling)

Previous drooling rants from the Dragon on the Fuoco:
The Fire Next Time
Gilera Fuoco Vid

update:
per a reliable source on Modern Vespa,
The 250 will be $7199 next year (They are $6999 right now). The 400 will be $8699 and the 500 will be $8899.
And the Vespa S 150 will be $4099
So out-the-door we're still talking about $10k, depending on your locale.

1 comment:

Ian said...

any idea if the 400 or 500 will have more cargo room?

Also, the pricing seems a bit weird. $200 difference between +25% displacement and much more aggressive styling, i.e. more of a "sport" scoot-trike-covenant ghost thing, seems like too small of a step. However, I don't know the scoot market extremely well- I've owned and ridden two, and had been shopping for a while until I saw the Honda Big Ruckus. Unf., it's not really available stateside anymore. I was cruising the vespa site casually, went to piaggio, and BAM- saw the MP3. Sold, 'cept I needed a bigger block . . .