MANTUA, Italy – Piaggio Group saw sales fall in the first half of 2014, largely due to a decline in scooter sales, particularly in North America.
The company, which includes Vespa, Aprilia and Moto Guzzi, shipped 278,500 vehicles worldwide from Jan. 1 to June 30, down 20,000 units from the same time in 2013. Net sales were down from $891.8 million (671.5 million euro) to $835.2 million (628.9 million euro) year over year.
In North America, the company had overall year-over-year growth of 3.2 percent, but saw scooter sales decline 2 percent, selling less than 20,000 in that time period. The company has identified growth in motorcycle and scooter sales in North America as a goal in its 2014-17 business plan.
Piaggio recorded strong two-wheel vehicle sales in Europe, with market share at 15.5 percent overall and 25.4 percent in the scooter market. The company also retains 21.3 percent of the scooter market in North America.
Two-wheel sales declined in the Asia Pacific region, but sales went up in commercial vehicles in that region, sparking an increase of 0.9 percent in units shipped, from 96,500 to 97,400. The company anticipates more sales in Asia with the July opening of the first Vespa Store in China, in Beijing.
Also in July, the company named Mario di Maria as chairman and CEO for Piaggio Group Americas. Previously, di Maria had worked for Nissan, BMW and Fiat, and spent six years with Piaggio Group before becoming executive vice president of sales for API-IP.
Weakened currency – including the U.S. dollar – cost Piaggio $35 million (26.4 million euro) in the first half of this year, but overall, gross profit was $36.5 million (27.5 million euro), a decrease from $55.2 million (41.6 million euro) year-over-year.