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Misadventures in Buying a Vespa in Southern California

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With high gas prices, the sales in scooters has risen. We should know. We've been trying to buy a Vespa for the past three months in the height of summer and found that most SoCal Vespa dealerships had a hard time holding onto their stock. Not that they were complaining as they were able to easily charge a premium for the much sought-after scooters boasting fuel economy 78 mpg and up.

Case in point, a very aggressive salesman at the Vespa dealership in Marina del Rey quoted an out-the-door price for a 2009 Vespa LX 150 at over $2,000 higher than its MSRP. Taking a look at the breakdown of costs he told us over the phone, there were extra fees called "dock fee" and assembly and freight/destination was $787 (FYI a 2008 Maserati GranTurismo's destination charge costs $563 more and that's for a 4,000-pound $100,000 car).