‘Nepal offers huge opportunity for South Asian market’

Published On: January 15, 2019 10:32 AM NPT By: PAWAN KHANAL

Diego Graffi is the CEO and managing director of Piaggio Vehicles. He is associated with the company for more than a decade. A graduate in mechanical engineer, he formerly worked with Fiat and Moto Guzzi. A much-traveled man, with a rich experience in the Indian market, Graffi is looking forward to expanding three-wheeler vehicle market with a fresh take of his successful three-wheeler brand, Apé, in Nepal.

Republica's Pawan Khanal caught up with Graffi to talk about the issues of the auto sector. Excerpts: 

Tell us about your three-wheelers product that you're looking to expand in the Nepali market.
Currently, we have introduced only one mode for the three-wheeler segment, Apé City Petrol, in the market targeted to intra-city and cargo for goods, and also for passenger transport. We are looking to restyle the product and showcase more of our heritage and legacy in the product and bring more satisfaction to our Nepali customers by renovating the power-trend in terms of mileage and performance. Piaggio gives its utmost to fulfil the consumer's expectations. We will do the same in the Nepali market.

How confident are you about the economy of Nepal?
Nepali economy is growing in a sustainable manner. The country offers a huge opportunity for the company to expand into the South Asian market. The consumerism that is driving the economy gives us lots of confidence to expand our products and we are hopeful that we will be able to satisfy Nepali consumers through best possible services. We intend to make a significant amount of investment in the Nepali economy in future.

How does the Nepali market differ from the Indian market? 
There are a lot of similarities between the two markets. The mileage, power-train, and functional features of the product are well appreciated by consumers of both the markets. However, a difference I have noticed is that the demand for diesel-driven products is a lot stronger in India than in Nepal, where petrol-powered vehicles are much preferred. 

How is Piaggio looking to expand in the Nepali market in the next five years?
Three-wheeler is a winning concept not only in Nepal but also in the markets of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka where we intend to expand aggressively in the days to come. In Nepal, we are looking to expand our product by offering a fresh restyling of our city models, showcasing our Italian heritage and craftsmanship. In the coming years, we are looking to be the most trusted brand in Nepal for the products and services that we offer, and the ones that we intend to offer.

How is Piaggio looking to differentiate itself from its competitors?
Piaggio is attentive to design, fashion, content, and functionality that its range of products brings. The persona and flair of the product that uphold our brand image to provide a hassle-free user experience in terms of better handling, drivability and comfort are how we want to be known in the Nepali market. 

What would you say is a major challenge in marketing in the Nepali market?
There are no significant challenges at the moment. But we are looking to expand heavily in sales and service network by organizing events and campaigns to go closer to the customers. We might face some significant challenges in the process of doing so.

What message do you have for your consumers and potential consumers?
We are very thankful to all our consumers for appreciating and recognizing the efforts of our brand to offer the best services. We want to reward this appreciation by investing in our efforts to be as near as possible to our consumers and fulfil their expectations.

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