- Gepubliceerd: dinsdag 05 april 2016 15:21
- Geschreven door René
I talk about 1990, and the changing market for mopeds in the Netherlands here.
The competition in the small Dutch market was increasing and several competitors saw that Puch was facing hard times, with rising prices and lesser quality. Dethroning the number 1 (Puch) was becoming serious business and the agents looked and listened closely. The Maxi and Rider Macho/Rider Lady had some cosmetic chirurgy and new decals, but that was it. Piaggio hoped that it could turn the market into their own arsenal of products, but Puch owners were very true to the brand.
Since rebadging hadn't come into mind of those involved, a close look at the competition said that Puch deserved a scooter model of it's own. Honda had been the biggest competitor with the Vision Met-In (a followup on the Vision) and with the Scoopy. Yamaha had the cheap Mint model and even Tomos came out with a rebadged Suzuki Address. Piaggio had their very succesful PK50 and the newly introduced Vespa Sfera.
But Puch had to do something completely different. With exeption of the large-wheeled Honda Scoopy and the sturdy Vespa PK50, all scooters were quite small in size (and comfort). Luckily, Piaggio shopped around in Asia and found a light scooter with amazing drivabillity and very good quality. It was called 'Scatto' for the European markets, and since Piaggio itself was developing new scooters for the own brandnames (Vespa, Gilera, Piaggio) to replace the mopeds, the new Scatto scooter could very well be the new model for Puch.
Here you have the only 2 studio pictures in existence, with the Puch brandname on it. I myself have driven it. It was a large, but very handy scooter, which reacted and handled great. The engine was very powerfull and of excellent quality. It could handle 2 passengers with ease, had a front locker for carrying small items (rainsuit, chainlock) and a very large display with all the control lights and speedometer. The 10 inch wheels looked small, but had excellent grip on the road. The design was not the most modern of the day, but every part was easy to access for maintenance.
When it was showcased at the 1990 exhibition, reactions were mixed, due to the older design and higher prices than the Maxi and Macho models. I was hoping for it to debut on the Dutch market, but it was decided to be nixed, if favor of something completely else. For several other European markets however, like the Italian, it debuted as the Piaggio Scatto and was sold with moderate success for several years. In retrospect i think the Scatto would have been an excellent new item for Puch. It looked original, was technical very capable and not that expensive and would be the first larger model since a decade (after the Puch Monza) on the Dutch market. Pricewise, well... that is marketing for you, but as a new standalone scooter for Puch, it surely was a unique item; unique enough to create the distance between the different brands from the Piaggio factories.
In the end, it was nixed because the Italians had the idea to just rebadge stuff, so in the later years the same idea (a scooter for Puch) was being redeveloped and marketed as the later Puch Zip and Puch Typhoon. In the end, it was the design (look) of the scooter, as being too old, that got the Scatto cancelled for the Dutch market.