Piaggio’s Porter 700 SCV aims at last mile transportation.
Story by: Ashish Bhatia
Piaggio (India) has introduced the Porter 700 Small Commercial Vehicle (SCV) to address last mile transportation needs of the market. Replacing the Porter 600, the new SCV promises superior performance, higher mileage, higher rated payload, and is BSIV emissions compliant. Tracing its roots to the Porter light mini-van and mini-truck Piaggio launched in 1992, in Europe in collaboration with Daihatsu, the Porter 700 is similar in appearance to the Porter 600. It measures 3544 mm in length, 1460 mm in width, and 1738 mm in height. It is 311 mm longer in length than the Porter 600. Width and height are the same as Porter 600. At 1820 mm, the wheelbase of Porter 700 is longer than Porter 600 by 170 mm. The cargo tray of Porter 700 measures 1400 mm in width, and 314 mm in height (one millimeter less than Porter 600’ tray height). The cargo deck of Porter 700 is marginally bigger at 30 sq. ft. than that of the Porter 600, and supports a payload capacity of 700 kgs. Heavier than the Porter 600 by 175 kgs, at 1475 kgs, the Porter 700 is structured on a strong, cab-chassis unibody. The cargo body is a semi-monocoque structure. With a wheelbase of 1820 mm, the front suspension of the Porter 700 consists of MacPherson struts and dampers. Rear suspension is made up of swing arms and dampers. Tyres are 145/80 R12 LT 8PR.
Capable of a maximum speed of 62 kmph, and a maximum gradeability of 21 per cent, the Porter 700 is powered by a direct injection, 14.75 hp, 652 cc single-cylinder, four-stroke, BSIV diesel engine (with EGR) that produces a peak torque of 40 Nm at 1600-1800 rpm. Claimed to offer best-in-class mileage of 26 kmpl, the SCV is equipped with a five-speed syncromesh gearbox. Brakes are hydraulically actuated. The front includes discs, and the rear includes drums. Offered with a 75,000 km extended warranty, the Porter 700 is priced at Rs.3.42 lakh. Fully localised, the Porter 700 is made at Piaggio’s manufacturing facility at Baramati, Pune. Established in 1998, this facility has an annual capacity to build 3,80,000 Piaggio commercial vehicles (3,00,000 three-wheelers and 80,000 four-wheelers). The diesel engine of the Porter 700 is built at an engine plant within the same facility where it is integrated with the transmission. Claimed Massimo Repetto, Executive Vice President, Three & Four wheeler Product Development, Piaggio & C.s.p.a that the powertrain integration capacity is enough to cater to market needs.
Entering India with the launch of the Piaggio Ape range of commercial three wheelers in 1998, Piaggio will retail the Porter 700 through a network of 350 dealers, and 1000 touch-points across the country. Entering the less than two-tonne CV market on the eve of GST, the Porter 700 has work cut out for itself. The under two-tonne CV market clocked sales of 131,455 units in FY2014-15. It recorded sales of 116,560 units in FY2015-16. Growth was flat in FY2017 at 116,890 units. Keen to further strengthen and dominate the (small commercial vehicle) category through cargo carriers according to Ravi Chopra, Chairman, Piaggio Vehicles, the company will continue to provide technological solutions in the last mile transportation market. Diego Graffi, Chief Executive Officer, Piaggio Vehicles, averred, “We have got down to anticipating new age customer needs. The Porter 700 has been conceived as a modern vehicle with features to deliver on core values of exceptional reliability, fuel efficiency and the ability to earn.” Expressing that Piaggio is dominating the last mile transportation cargo segment, Graffi said, “We are confident that the Porter 700 will outclass others in the four-wheel, sub one-tonne cargo segment. It will consolidate Piaggio’s position in the last mile transportation industry.”