Since the Second World War, Piaggio has pioneered the mobility revolution, improving the quality of life of Italians and other Europeans.
1882 - 1923 From inception to aviation
On September 5th, Enrico Piaggio closed the deal to purchase a plot of land in Sestri Ponente (near Genoa) where he planned to build a wood-working plant to supply the shipbuilding industry. His young son Rinaldo soon joined him in the project.
1887 - 1889
Rinaldo establishes his own company, Piaggio & C, and chooses ship outfitting as its core business. The company - based in Sestri Ponente - is modern, efficient and highly mechanised. 1889 marks the year of Attilio Odero's arrival, the company’s debut into the railways sector and the acquisition of a new workshop in Finale Marina.
The aviation business begins. The social role that Rinaldo Piaggio envisions for the Company soon becomes clear: to help create jobs and contribute to national economic development. In 1920 the Company is restructured and Attilio Odero becomes Chairman and Rinaldo Piaggio becomes Chief Executive Officer. Set on developing the aviation business, Rinaldo Piaggio hires two engineers - Giovanni Pegna and Giuseppe Gabrielli - and puts them in charge of the Rondine aircraft prototype engineering project.
1924 - 1945 From the first patents to the first modern helicopter
1924 - 1937
After purchasing the Pontedera plant, the Company abandons licensed manufacture and starts producing engines and vehicles based on its own patents. A very successful period in the company's history begins: exports soar, as well as the number of employees, and Piaggio begins to manufacture virtually anything that has to do with transportation: cableway cars, funicular railways, trailers, trams, trucks and trolley buses.
Rinaldo Piaggio dies and his two sons take over as Chief Executive Officers. Armando is responsible for the production facilities in Genova-Sestri and Finale Ligure, which focus mainly on the aviation and railway industries, while Enrico manages the sites in Pisa and Pontedera and nurtures an ambitious project: to help make mobility affordable and accessible to Italians by designing a simple, low-cost, easy-to-use vehicle. To develop his idea, Enrico calls Corradino D’Ascanio, the brilliant aeronautical engineer who fathered the first modern helicopter.
1946 - 1972 From the rise of the Vespa myth to the Gilera takeover
The first Vespa prototype was produced in Pontedera and immediately put on the market. After a timid debut, sales pick up speed towards the end of that same year. The Vespa is a huge, unprecedented success: the company was to turn out nearly one million units during the following decade and success soon expanded to export markets.
While the Vespa export figures keep growing, new products are born. 1948 is the year of the Ape, a compact light transport vehicle that was to play a key role in reviving trade activities amidst the ruins of post-war Italy. The following year saw the birth of Moscone, a small, innovative marine outboard engine.
1964 - 1969
I.A.M Rinaldo Piaggio (aviation-railway industry) and Piaggio & C. (scooters) split. When Enrico Piaggio dies in 1965, Umberto Agnelli becomes the Chairman of Piaggio & C. Two years later, the Ciao is born and goes on to become the forefather of contemporary mopeds. 1969 is the year of the Gilera takeover. The Arcore-based company is one of oldest European motorcycle manufacturers and is well renowned for its racing success.
1973 - 1998 Time to diversify
1973 - 1988
The Bravo moped is born, and the production of agricultural tractors begins. A new start-up is established in 1979: it is Piaggio Adriatica S.p.A., based in Lanciano with a production plant in Atessa. After the 1981 Bianchi acquisition, Vespa sales record a slight drop, offset by the introduction of new vehicles, such as Cosa, Superbravo, Grillo, ApeCar D, all launched in the 1987-1988 period. In 1988, Gustavo Denegri becomes Chairman of Piaggio, and Giovanni Alberto Agnelli is elected to the Board of Directors.
1990 - 1994
The Pontedera plant turns out the Sfera, the first scooter to feature a plastic bodywork. In the early Nineties, Piaggio & C. becomes a holding company, and Giovanni Alberto Agnelli is appointed Chairman of Piaggio Veicoli Europei S.p.A. 1994 witnesses the launch of the Hexagon, a milestone in the maxi-scooter segment.
1996 - 1997
The new Vespa is launched on the 50th anniversary of its revolutionary predecessor created by Enrico Piaggio and Corradino D'Ascanio. The following year is marked by the untimely death of Giovanni Alberto Agnelli. The Piaggio Group, led by Chairman Alessandro Barberis (whose successor will be Dante Razzano in 2001) with Stefano Rosselli Del Turco serving as Chief Executive Officer, is on the verge of a change in ownership.
1999 - 2003 The Group evolves
1999 - 2000
In 1999, the Company is taken over by the Morgan Grenfell Private Equity holding company. The following year, Piaggio USA opens up the first Vespa Boutique in Los Angeles. marking the return of Piaggio and the Vespa to the United States, which today count more than 60 Vespa Boutiques.
The Piaggio Group acquires Derbi-Nacional Motor S.A., a historical Spanish marque, brand leader in the small-capacity motorcycles segment. That same year, Gilera makes its return to the racing arena and wins the championship: Manuel Poggiali wins the rider's world championship in the 125cc category, adding yet another title to Gilera's collection of speed racing victories, that now totals 6 manufacturers' titles and 7 riders' titles.
Immsi S.p.A., an industrial and real estate holding company listed on the Milan stock exchange controlled by entrepreneur Roberto Colaninno, takes over financial control of the Piaggio Group's Italian and foreign operations. Top management turnover follows when Roberto Colaninno is appointed Chairman of the Piaggio Group and Rocco Sabelli becomes the new Chief Executive Officer. Gianclaudio Neri is appointed General Manager.
2004 - 2005 The present and the future
6 april 2004
Piaggio enters into a strategic business agreement with the Chinese Zongshen Group for the manufacturing and sales of engines, vehicles and components based on Italian technology for Asian markets. Mr. Wen Jiabao, Prime Minister of the People's Republic of China, visits the Group's headquarters in Pontedera, welcomed by Chairman Roberto Colaninno, Chief Executive Officer Rocco Sabelli, by the management and Piaggio employees.
Matteo Colaninno, Deputy Chairman of Young Italian and European Entrepreneurs, is appointed Deputy Chairman of Piaggio.
The agreement for the acquisition of the Aprilia - Moto Guzzi Group is finalised. The largest group in the Italian two-wheeler industry is born: €1.5 billion turnover, 24% of the European two-wheeler market and 35% of the Italian market, more than 600,000 vehicles a year, 6,000 employees and 8 plants worldwide, operating in over 50 countries. After the Aprilia acquisition, IMMSI Spa become the majority shareholder with a 40% stake overall, a sure sign of the strategic importance of IMMSI's investment in Piaggio.
11 january 2005
On its first meeting, the Board of Directors of Aprilia S.p.A appoints Roberto Colaninno as Chairman, Rocco Sabelli as Chief Executive Officer and Ivano Beggio as Honorary President. Gianclaudio Neri is appointed General Manager. The Aprilia Product/Brand Management function is established and entrusted to Leo Francesco Mercanti.
9-10 march 2005
The Vespa LX, the 139th Vespa model introduced since 1946, is launched in Rome with the Piaggio Group Chairman Roberto Colaninno and CEO Rocco Sabelli.
2006 - Today From csr 08 report
Piaggio & C. shares are listed on the Milan Stock Exchange. The first three-wheeler scooter, the Piaggio MP3, is presented.
The organisational structure of the Piaggio Group is revised, with the Group now organised by Business segment (Two-wheeler sector and Commercial Vehicles) and geographical segment. Aprilia wins the manufacturers' title in the 125cc and 250cc world championships. The Italian rider Marco Simoncelli, with his Gilera, wins the 250cc world title and the French champion Mike Di Meglio, riding a Derbi, wins the 125cc world title. In October, the production unit at Hanoi, Vietnam, is completed.
The design of a new hybrid engine for the MP3, to be marketed in the autumn of 2009, is completed. The first hybrid scooter in the world, powered by two motors, one electric and one combustion, which operate in synergy thanks to a highly advanced electronic management system, is introduced and placed on the market during the summer. This makes Piaggio the first and only manufacturer in the world to offer hybrid technology on a scooter.
Piaggio Vietnam Ltd., Vietnamese subsidiary of Piaggio Group, officially launches sale in the local market of the Vespa LX scooter produced in its plant located in the Binh Xuyen industrial district (province of Vinh Phuc).
The Aprilia brand launches the RSV4 supersport bike. An extremely innovative product characterised by the exclusive motoring technology of the V4, a one litre, four cylinder narrow V engine. The RSV4 makes its début simultaneously in World SBK, the championship for factory derivative bikes, ridden by multiple World Champion Max Biaggi. The bike immediately proves to be a winning project, achieving a race win in its rookie season.
Enel and the Piaggio Group, respectively represented by Managing Director and General Manager Fulvio Conti and CEO and Managing Director Roberto Colaninno, sign an agreement for the development of mobility at zero environmental impact. The Piaggio BoD approves the strategic lines and the industrial project of a new initiative that the Group will realise in India with the goal of manufacturing and marketing two wheeled vehicles, beginning with the Vespa LX 125 model, designed and developed for the Indian market.
Just one season after making their début, the RSV4 and Max Biaggi triumph in the World SBK Championship, taking both the Manufacturer and Rider title. The victory is historic - the first one by an Italian rider on an Italian bike in the top world championship for factory derivative bikes.
Simultaneously with the championship triumph the RSV4 available to the public is joined by the R version.
The new high wheel scooter Beverly 300 is introduced under the Piaggio brand, the newest heir in a generation of vehicles that have made history in the "high wheel" segment.
Vespa PX celebrates the 150th Anniversary of a United Italy with a special series. A new phase of development opens up in the Asian markets. Roberto Colaninno opens the new industrial area where the Group's Vietnamese plant will be expanded, located in the Vinh Phuc province near Hanoi. In Milan the Group's 2011-2014 Strategic Plan is presented.
On the product front Aprilia introduces the second application of its extraordinary 1000 cc V4 engine with the Tuono V4 APRC, the highest performance naked bike in the world.
Piaggio introduces the evolution of the MP3. Piaggio MP3 Yourban is the most agile and lightweight version of the revolutionary three wheeled scooter.
A new 350 engine débuts on the best seller Beverly characterised by cutting-edge technical and constructive solutions.
Moto Guzzi launches the new 8V versions (engines with four valves per cylinder) of the great tourer Norge and the all-terrain Stelvio NTX.
The Vespa LX 125, developed specifically for the Indian subcontinent market, is unveiled at the Delhi Auto Expo, the largest car and motorcycle show in Asia and one of the main motoring reviews in the world. Production begins in the Spring simultaneously with the grand opening of Piaggio Group's new plant at Baramati (State of Maharashtra).
The Piaggio Group officially launches a new and decisive development phase in Vietnam for its Asia Pacific operations with the grand opening of a new engine plant destined for production of power trains for associate Piaggio Vietnam's vehicles, whose production capacity will increase to 300,000 vehicles/year.
In Miami the new Moto Guzzi California 1400 is officially unveiled and the opening of an Advanced Design Center is announced for the United States with headquarters in Pasadena, California. The large cruiser from the "eagle brand" is introduced in its definitive version in November at the Milan motor show and immediately placed on the market. Moto Guzzi also unveils the new range of the lucky V7 series: V7 Stone, V7 Classic and V7 Racer are unveiled at the historic Mandello headquarters and contribute to Moto Guzzi's positive performance in the market.
Vespa is the protagonist with the arrival of a new, highly advanced engine on the LX. The new single cylinder 3 valve 125/150 establishes itself as a champion of economy and ecology, achieving a range of more than 50 km/l and extremely low emissions levels.
The Piaggio brand returns as a key player in the rich maxiscooter segment, proposing the Piaggio X10 which, available in 125, 350 and 500 engine capacities, meets any and all mobility needs and contains a wealth of high level technical and stylistic content: from ABS to traction control to material quality, everything on the X10 works together to make the Piaggio maxi an example of comfort and safety.
In the Spring Aprilia launches the SRV850, the most powerful and fastest scooter ever produced, distinguished by typically sport aesthetics it is powered by a twin cylinder 90° V engine and it adopts advanced safety systems such as traction control and ABS.
At the end of an exciting sport season where all the largest international manufacturers held their collective breath down to the last turn, Aprilia triumphs in World Superbike. Once again it is a double win: Max Biaggi takes the Rider championship and the Aprilia RSV4 takes the Manufacturer wreath. With these achievements, clinched in the last race on the French Magny - Cours circuit, Aprilia increases the number of world championships won in the various sport motorcycling disciplines to 51 while the total collection of Piaggio Group wins reaches the extraordinary milestone of 101 championship titles, making it the most victorious European motorcycle group in history.