Piaggio, Europe’s leading manufacturer of two-wheeler and three-wheeler motor vehicles.
Piaggio Group operates globally in two markets in the light mobility vehicle industry:
- two-wheeled vehicles (consisting of scooters and motorcycles);
- and commercial vehicles (both three- and four-wheeled light commercial vehicles).
Piaggio Group is the leading European manufacturer of two-wheeled vehicles and one of the leading producers of three-wheeled vehicles in India.
The macroeconomic framework
The economy in western countries reported moderate, widespread growth in 2017 (around 3.6%), with the trend expected to continue against a backdrop of reduced inflation and commodity prices up slightly at the end of the period.
The two main economies in East Asia confirmed important growth trends. The growth trend in India decreased slightly (+6.4%), mainly due to a slowdown in domestic consumption, and was stationary in China (+6.8%) in a scenario where public spending is ever increasing, with the consequent problem of controlling financial risk. Growth improved in Japan (1.7%), thanks to its ongoing budget and expansive monetary policy.
Growth was consolidated in the United States (approximately 2.3%), despite the start of the process to normalise monetary policy, which did not affect the weakening of the dollar. Despite a considerable level of public debt, growth led to the ideal situation of full employment without particular inflationary pressures.
Overall growth was also consolidated in the eurozone (approximately 2.3%), in a context of marginal inflation, which led the ECB to confirm monetary intervention programmes of a considerable scope but which will gradually slow down.
Growth in Italy was close to 1.6%. The improvement in propensity to consume and employment confirmed the need for further structural reforms to improve competitiveness, and for EU policies that not only focus on the strict control of government undertakings, but also on supporting investments.
The two-wheeler sector (scooters and motorcycles) at a global level, based on figures from monitored markets, recorded sales of over 48 million vehicles in 2017, with an overall increase of 4.2% compared to the previous year, but with different dynamics per geographic segment.
India, the most important two-wheeler market, continued its growth trend in 2017, ending the year with just under 19.2 million vehicles sold, up by 8.4% compared to 2016.
After years of slowdown, the People’s Republic of China reversed the trend in 2017, recording growth (+0.13% compared to the previous year) and closed with just over 8 million units sold.
The Asian area, termed Asean 5, reported an increase in 2017 (+3.2% compared to 2016) ending the period with 12.7 million units sold. Indonesia, the main market in this area, reported a slight downturn in 2017 (-0.8% compared to 2016), with total volumes of just under 5.9 million items.
Thailand also recorded an upwards trend in 2017 (1.8 million units sold; +3.8% compared to 2016); Malaysia reported a considerable increase compared to the previous year (435 thousand units sold; +9.7% compared to 2016). The sales trend in Vietnam remained buoyant in 2017 (3.3 million units sold; +4.8% compared to 2016). The Philippines reported the strongest growth in this area in 2017 (1.32 million units sold; +15.7% compared to 2016).
Volumes of other Asian area countries (Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, New Zealand and Australia) increased considerably, in overall terms, compared to the previous year, with 1.5 million units sold (+8.2%). The most important increase was recorded in Taiwan, which closed the period with 910 thousand units sold (+15.5% compared to 2016). Japan reversed its trend, with 384 thousand units sold (+1% compared to 2016).
The North American market recorded a downturn of 3.3% compared to 2016 (510,000 vehicles sold in 2017).
Brazil, the leading market in South America, recorded a further downturn (- 5.1%), with 814.5 thousand vehicles sold in 2017.
Europe, the reference area for Piaggio Group operations, reported a steady trend in 2017, with a very slight fall in sales compared to 2016 (-0.37%; -3.7% in the motorcycle segment and +2.6% in the scooter segment) closing the period with 1.313 million units sold.
The scooter market
The European scooter market in 2017 accounted for 714,500 registered vehicles, with sales up by 2.6% compared to 2016.
The over 50cc scooter segment recorded a considerable downturn in 2017 (382,000 units, with a 11% decrease); on the other hand, the 50cc market reported a considerable growth trend (332,500 units, up by 24.3%).
Italy was still the most important market among leading countries in 2017, with 142,050 units sold, followed by France with 141,250 units and Spain with 103,200 units. Holland ranked fourth, for sales, (83,650 units) ahead of Germany, with 56,600 units sold. Lastly, Greece and the United Kingdom recorded sales of 27,500 and 25,800 vehicles respectively.
In 2017, the Italian market reported a positive growth trend compared to the previous year (2.7%).
The 50cc segment went down by 1.7%, with 20,100 units sold. In the over 50cc segment, 121,900 units were sold, registering an increase of 3.4% compared to 2016.
The French market reported a considerable increase in 2017, compared to 130,350 vehicles sold in the previous year (+8.4%): the 50cc segment increased by 16.6% (84,900 units sold in 2017), while the over 50 scooter segment recorded a decrease of 2% (56,300 units sold).
After a strong increase in the previous year, growth in Spain came to a standstill in 2017, down by 10.3% compared to 2016. This result was due to the increase in the 50cc scooter segment (+32.9%) and decrease in the over 50cc scooter segment (-16.8%).
The German market recorded a downturn of 7.7% during 2017, compared to 2016. On this market as well, the downturn was due to the over 50cc scooter segment (-25.2%), while the 50cc scooter segment reported an increase (+10.8%).
The United Kingdom recorded a considerable downturn (-28.6%), caused by the decrease in the over 50cc segment (-32.2%) and in the 50cc sco oter segment (- 15.7%).
In 2017 the market still reported a downturn (-6.6%), with approximately 27,700 units sold: this negative trend is due to the over 50cc scooter segment, where sales fell by 4.3% and to the 50cc scooter segment, with sales going down by 8.5%.
The scooter market in the United States (which accounts for 88% of the reference area), declined by 7.3%, with 24,400 vehicles sold; the Canadian market also reported a downturn, albeit more modest (-1.2% compared to 2016).
The main scooter market in the Asean 5 area is Indonesia, with just over 5.25 million items sold, reporting an increase of 0.7% compared to 2016. the Cub segment continued to decrease in 2017, closing at -17.1%, with 433 thousand units. Instead, the automatic scooter segment reported a positive trend in 2017 (+2.7% compared to 2016, with 4.8 million units sold).
The second main market is Vietnam, which reported a 3.7% increase and 3.17 million units sold, of which 1.65 million Cub scooters (-0.4% compared to 2016) and 1.52 million automatic scooters (+8.6% compared to 2016).
The Vietnamese market mainly concerns scooters, as sales in the motorcycle segment are not particularly significant. The 50cc scooter segment is not operative on this market. the 51-115 subsegment was still the most imp ortant, with sales of just under one million unit s (+4%).
The premium automatic scooters segment continued its growth trend in 2017 (+ 23.8%), with 342 thousand units sold.
The automatic scooter market increased by 14% in 2017, ending the year with 6.4 million units sold.
The 125cc segment was the best performer, with more than 6.2 million units sold in 2017, accounting for 97% of the total automatic scooter market. Thanks to sales of the Aprilia SR 150, the 150cc segment reported a growth trend of over 100%, closing the period with 38,500 units sold in 2017. The 50cc scooter segment is not operative in India.
The motorcycle market
With 598,600 units registered, the motorcycle market ended 2017 with a 3.7% decrease. The 50cc segment also performed well (+23.2%) closing with 42,800 units sold, while the over 50cc segment decreased by 5.2%, closing the period with 555,800 units sold.
During 2017, France was the most important market with 124,600 units sold, exceeding Germany which closed the period with 116,450 units.
Thanks to an excellent performance, Italy moved up to third place with 86,250 units, while Great Britain came fourth, closing the period with 79,300 units; Spain ranked fifth with 57,000 vehicles sold.
The main countries in the eurozone reported different trends in 2017: of the most important European countries in terms of sales trends, Italy recorded an increase of +9.5%, while France’s performance was also good (+3.6%).
Inverse trends were reported instead in other main geographic areas: Germany (+17.8%), Great Britain (-14%) and Spain (-0.5%).
The motorcycle market in North America (USA and Canada) recorded a downturn of 3.1% in 2017, closing the period with 482,300 units compared to 497,800 the previous year. In the United States (accounting for 88% of the area), the motorcycle segment recorded a 3.9% decrease, selling 426,600 units compared to 444,600 units in 2016. The trend on the Canadian market was instead positive, ending the period with 55,800 units sold, up by 3.6% compared to the previous year.
India is the most important motorcycle market in Asia, selling over 11.9 million units in 2017, accounting for a 6.4% increase.
The motorcycle market in the Asean 5 area is far less important than the scooter sector. Sales of motorcycles in Vietnam were not significant. In other countries, the highest sales were recorded in Indonesia; however with 637 thousand units sold, this meant a decrease of 1.1% compared to the previous year.
In 2017, the European market for light commercial vehicles (vehicles with a maximum mass of up to 3.5 tons) where the Piaggio Group operates, accounted for 2 million units sold, up 3.9% compared to 2017 (source ACEA data). In detail, the trends of main European reference markets are as follows: Germany (+4.9%), France (+7.1%), Italy (-3.4%) and Spain (+15.5%).
Sales on the Indian three-wheeler market, where Piaggio Vehicles Private Limited, a subsidiary of Piaggio & C. S.p.A. operates, fell from 546,000 units in 2016 to 544,000 in 2017, registering a 0.4% decrease.
Within this market, the cargo vehicles subsegment reported a positive trend (+7.3%), closing with 114,700 units (107,000 units in 2016). The passenger segment reported a decrease (-2.2%), from 439,000 units in 2016 to 429,100 units in 2017.
Through its Indian affiliate, the Piaggio Group also operates on the four-wheeler light commercial vehicles (LCV) market (cargo vehicles for goods transport). The LCV cargo market, with vehicles with a maximum mass below 2 tons and on which various versions of the Porter are sold, accounted for 141,500 units in 2017, going up by 21.5% compared to 2016.