During the EICMA 2023 motor show, we had the opportunity to connect with Diego Arioli, the Head of Product Marketing for Motorcycles at Piaggio Group. He shared valuable insights into Piaggio's plans for the RS 457 in the Indian market.
Anticipated as a premium offering, the pricing of the RS 457 was a lingering question. Arioli clarifies that the company is considering a range between Rs 3.75 lakh to 4 lakh. Emphasizing the need for an ambitious yet reasonable price, he suggests that it won't be for everyone but aims to strike a balance between exclusivity and affordability.
Diego emphasizes that the primary goal is to make it available at prices not akin to Completely Built Unit (CBU) rates. While confirming Aprilia's commitment to maintaining its premium status, he asserts the company won't engage in price competition with others. Backed by the RS 457's parallel-twin motor, aluminum chassis, and premium electronics, Arioli believes that an ambitious price is justified for Aprilia.
Aligned with this philosophy is the substantial challenge Aprilia faces in expanding its dealership network and ensuring adequate training to deliver the right experience for this high-end product. It marks Piaggio's inaugural venture into selling a locally manufactured motorcycle in India, priced at two to three times more than the existing Aprilia and Vespa scooters.
The RS 457 maintains a consistent global specification and will be marketed in Europe with identical features. Presently, India serves as the exclusive production base, but there's potential for Completely Knocked Down (CKD) assembly in the future. Aprilia boasts six production facilities globally—India, Vietnam, Indonesia, and three plants in Italy. Opting for local production was imperative for entering the Indian market, leading to the selection of the Baramati plant for this project.
In encouraging developments, Arioli hints at potential positive impacts on the big bike business with the introduction of the RS 457 in India. The prospect of establishing additional premium Motoplex outlets in major cities could lead to an expansion of the sales and service network for big bikes. Currently, such networks are notably restricted for Aprilia and Moto Guzzi Completely Built Unit (CBU) motorcycles.
The anticipated launch of the Aprilia RS 457 in India is slated for early next year, coinciding with our expectation of test riding the bike during that period.
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