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Vehicle Design Master Outlines Scooter Market Trends

Dec 26, 2008 | By Quincy Liang

Pierangelo Andreani, an internationally known Italian who has been designing transportation equipment for over 40 years, generously shared his views on trends in powered two-wheeler (PTW) design, especially in the European market, during a recent visit to Taiwan.

Andreani works with cars, motorcycles, scooters, and bicycles, as well as boats. He joined the global car-design firm Pinifarina S.P.A. back in 1970 after leaving the design center of the Italian carmaker Fiat. He also worked with another eminent Italian design company, De Tomaso, where he completed design projects for such famous sports-car makers as Maserati and such motorcycle brands Moto Guzzi and Benelli.

Pierangelo Andreani, the globally renowned Italian designer, has been designing transportation equipment for over 40 years.Pierangelo Andreani, the globally renowned Italian designer, has been designing transportation equipment for over 40 years.
In 1981 Adreani set up his own design company, logically named Andreani Design. Ever since that time he has been cooperating with various world-class enterprises in Italy and elsewhere, including the Nova Design Co. of Taiwan, the design firm for local auto and motorcycle manufacturer Sanyang Industry Co. (SYM). The reason for his recent visit to Taiwan was the celebration of the 20th anniversary of Nova Design, which is now the largest transportation-vehicle and industrial design house in the Greater China region.

Trends in Scooter Design

During an exclusive interview by a journalist working for the Taiwan Motorcycle Guide (TMG) magazine, Andreani first outlined the scooter market in Europe as having two major segments: cheap scooters and big scooters.

In the cheap-scooter segment, he said, some of the major design trends prevailing today, including big wheels (with over-16-inch wheel rims) and compact size, are related to the appeal of easy riding for higher urban mobility.

Andreani describes the Yamaha T-Max as a successful combination of good steering and riding comfort. (photo of Yamaha press release)Andreani describes the Yamaha T-Max as a successful combination of good steering and riding comfort. (photo of Yamaha press release)
In the more-important big-scooter segment, the designer pointed out, the current design trend-in other words, the market-is moving toward models that combine the features of scooter and motorcycle and are equipped with 300cc to 400cc engines with automatic-gear powertrains. "Under this design trend," Andreani explained, "a vehicle is required to simultaneously provide good acceleration performance (much better than that of cheap, small-displacement scooters), riding comfort (provided mainly by the scooter chassis), clean or simplified design, and riding ease (you do not have to be dressed in full-body leather riding wear, but only a raincoat or a short jacket over your suit or work dress).

"More and more riders worldwide are relying on scooters to overcome traffic jams in city transportation for trips of less than 30 minutes, and these riders also require better power performance so that they can ride both in and out of a city. But the 300cc to 400cc engine displacement is enough; and scooters with displacements over-400cc--in Italy, at least--require much higher insurance payments."

Motorcycles with automatic transmissions, according to Andreani, illustrate a trend worth noting. (Photo of Aprilia`s press material)Motorcycles with automatic transmissions, according to Andreani, illustrate a trend worth noting. (Photo of Aprilia`s press material)
Andreani added that he does not believe the market for over-400cc scooters is big enough to exploit, because such machines are too heavy to ride in the city (for which a 125cc engine is enough), too expensive for most people, and perhaps a bit too unrealistic because someone who wanted so much engine performance would choose a motorcycle rather than a scooter.

Big Wheels

Big-wheel scooters featuring easy control have been a major advancement in scooter design in the past few years, Andreani said, and if makers further improve the frame and suspension of big-wheel scooters to give them even better steering and comfort, they will surely be, like Yamaha's T-Max, a success.

Andreani suggested that vehicle designers and manufacturers take note of the factors that led to the T-Max's big success in many markets: good steering, the riding ease of a motorcycle with the comfort of a scooter, and the feeling of riding a motorcycle while actually on a scooter.

Demographic Change

The designer also called for attention to the market shifts that result from demographic change, like the shift to the automatic transmission. Some of these shifts have implications for scooter design.

He explained: "Some PTW makers, like Aprilia and Honda, have noticed that when motorcycle fans get older and in many cases wealthier, they need higher-end, easier-operating motorcycles such as big-displacement touring bikes with automatic transmissions. Demographic changes really affect the market. For example, most people in Europe think that automatic transmissions are for disabled or new drivers, and they prefer manual-shift cars. But when the buying group gets older, the finger gearshift located on the steering wheels of some luxury car models become their favorite."

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