Several news reports suggest that Aprilia owner Ivano Beggio has resigned and given a lender control over a significant percentage of Aprilia ownership in the wake of financial difficulties. If true, it proves that Beggio’s passion for motorcycling, and the development of many fine motorcycles and scooters (leading to general praise for both quality and performance from the enthusiast press corp.) was not enough to fend off economic pressures affecting Aprilia and several other European manufacturers.
First, and perhaps foremost, was a decided slump in the scooter sales in Europe. Partly due to economic pressures, and law changes concerning helmet use, scooter sales volume suffered. Scooter sales were long the “bread and butter” of Aprilia financial strength. Additionally, export sales, particularly, to the United States, have become largely unprofitable for many European manufacturers, including Aprilia, due to currency exchange rates.
It is unknown how much of Aprilia is up for sale (Ducati announced yesterday it was interested in purchasing the Moto Guzzi brand — wholly owned by Beggio and Aprilia). Given the quality of Aprilia’s products, and its market position with regard to both scooters and motorcycles, one would expect that a major manufacturer, if necessary, will buy Aprilia, or some of its subsidiary marques (including both Moto Guzzi and Laverda) and continue production . . . hopefully, without skipping a beat.