by Lynne Johnson
Does driving a Vespa really reduce your carbon footprint? Yes, says Paolo Timoni, CEO and President of Piaggio Group USA. And that's why his company recently updated its website, to teach consumers about the benefits of driving a Vespa.
"The site can offer solutions, sometimes proposing combined usage depending on the driving situation. It's ok to own both, the site just shows you how to optimize your cost effectiveness," Timoni shares. The site's interactive fuel calculator offers a quick snapshot of just how fuel economy can improve if drivers park the car occasionally and opt for two wheels instead.
The site's best new feature is the user-generated charted rides area, where a Google Maps-based Community Rides tool helps scooter commuters or tourers uncover, share, rate, download and comment on new riding routes. Shortcuts to popular destinations, scenic weekend rides, regional routes that avoid local traffic snarls or multi-state adventures are all archived and available in one convenient location. With this feature social networking quickly replaces the need for GPS.
"Community is very important to Vespa riders," says Timoni, "you can see how others use the scooter to learn about and understand the convenience and the economics."
Overall, the site's functionality and user experience has become much simpler and easier to understand and navigate. And the additional tools, like the community rides and the interactive fuel calculator are just candy. The new site was designed by London and New York-based design firm Last Exit, already winning the Interactive Media Awards "Best In Class" for automobiles category site in 2008.
The new site needed to meet the needs of the rapidly growing base of potential new riders in the U.S. while building strong relationships with Vespa's community of ultra loyal existing owners. As a result, the new site is full of tools that invite visitors to learn and play, making the site fun and functional — just like a Vespa.