In the summer of 1952 Piaggio decided to put an affordable Vespa model into production. The firsts were classified as Vespa "E" ("Economic"), would have resulted in the completion of the first prototype in August. Several choices were made to cut costs: abolition of chrome plating; elimination of three footboard strips and rubber profiles; abolition of the front shock absorber; abolition of the anti-theft system; simplification of the tank cap (which becomes interlocking) and of the stand (which loses the rubber terminals); abolition of the rubber protection of the kickstarter and rear brake; reduced seat size with loss of the front suspension and removal of the air divider on the carburetor filter. Built in just over 6,000 specimens, the "U" was the most exported model of the first decade among the Vespas, with an export percentage of 31%. The shipping register kept at Piaggio S.p.A, shows how almost 1900 the "U" were exported, shipped to 27 foreign countries in Europe, the Americas and the East. Not so appreciated when first came out, but today it remains a model particularly hunted by collectors due to its rarity nowadays.