Monday, May 28, 2012

The Vespa family: Germany – Hoffmann/Messerschmitt

From 1950, the Vespa was built inder licence in Germany by Hoffmann of Lindof, near Dusseldorf. After 1955, production was instead organised at the Messerschmitt works Augsburg in Bavaria. Two model were offered, the 150 Touren and the 150 GS. It is interesting to note that Messerschmitt had a good reputation in the aeronautical industry, just like Piaggio. The Vespa was exported to Germany after 1956.

In Germany the Vespa failed to attract the same degree of success it enjoyed in other countries such as Great Britain and France. Among the various motives were those associated with the local Highway Code: the same driving licence and level of insurance was required whether a vehicle had a displacement of 100 cc or 250 cc. 

For this reason, there was no demand for the classic 125 cc displacement with the market preferring large displacement scooters with imposing dimensions. Of the 124,000 scooters sold in 1955, 32,000 were built by Zundapp (Bella), 27,000 by NSU (Prima), 16,000 by Heinkel (Tourist) with just 900 being Vespas. Messerschmitt therefore abandoned distribution in 1964 with Piaggio operating directly on the German market from the following year.