Wanted: Two Wheel Riders Who Want to Save the Industry

Publish Date: 
Apr 10, 2009
By Dennis Johnson

The company is positioning Vespa as the classic scooter brand, Piaggio as the modern scooter marque, Moto Guzzi as a maker of recreational touring motorcycles and Aprilia as a line of performance motorcycles complemented by a small range of scooters.

As such, Piaggio will introduce the Aprilia RCV4 later this year as part of its entry back into Superbike racing, and expects a hybrid version of the Piaggio MP3 250 to be available in the first quarter of 2010.

Already, among the European OEMs Piaggio has the No. 1 marketshare with its overall portfolio and had 27.7 percent marketshare of the U.S. scooter market — its scooter sales grew 61 percent in 2008 over the previous year.

While the company's sales are up a notch for the first part of 2009, industrywide motorcycle sales have slumped off by 27 percent. As a result, Timoni adds, the company is allowing its dealers to reduce their scooter orders by 10 percent.

The ultimate goal, Timoni said, is to be the dominant manufacturer in the scooter market and a niche player in the motorcycle business. "We do not intend to reach the level of saturation [as the Japanese OEMs]. We believe that we can have a permanent position as a niche player in the U.S. market," he said.

— Dennis Johnson