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Piaggio: A New Household Word?

Piaggio has been around since 1884. When Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn effortlessly negotiated the streets of Rome on a Vespa in the 1953 film “Roman Holiday”, the world got a taste for Piaggio’s signature model.

Today, Piaggio produces the Vespa, Gilera, and Piaggio brands, among others, and is the largest manufacturer of scooters in scooter-mad Europe. It is a well run company with sales exceeding one billion dollars annually. Piaggio has tremendous financial muscle and engineering expertise. Family owned for more than a century, Piaggio is now owned by a group of investors including a German bank, members of the family that controls Fiat, and Texas Pacific Group (remember them?).

Piaggio wants to be a player in the full-sized motorcycle business, and it will be with Gilera and, now, it’s recently acquired stake in MV Agusta. If its scooter products are any indication, look for striking design and engineering from Piaggio’s motorcycle brands. Its current, relatively small stake in MV (reported to be 20%) will likely grow. Gilera is already developing a 600 supersport machine featuring the Suzuki GSX-R engine. Stay tuned.