Vespa Scooter History (1946-2011) – Part 1

Sixty-five years as a lead player. Vespa’s history is a unique example of immortality in the history of industrial design, so much to break out of the area of a simple product for mobility and to become a leader in fashion history.

Vespa is a symbol of Italian creativity which is recognised all over the world, but also of a product whose extraordinary commercial success is punctually renewed, thanks in part to the recent strong input provided by the Vespa range – fortified with numerous models today from 50cc to 300cc, organised into the classic duo “vespino” and “vespone” – and to its distribution all over the world, constantly increasing, which make Vespa a truly global vehicle today.

It is not by chance that since 2006 Vespa sales in the world exceed 100,000 units every year: in recent years sales were 133,000 in 2010 – eleven thousand more than in 2009 – and in 2011 they are approaching the extraordinary milestone of 150,000 Vespas sold in just one year.

In 2003 (the year in which the Piaggio Group came under the leadership of Roberto Colaninno) 50,000 units were sold.

Vespa is the most well known and prestigious brand of the Piaggio Group, with headquarters in Pontedera (Pisa), the largest European manufacturer of two wheeled vehicles and one of the major global players in this sector. The Group is also a major player worldwide in the commercial vehicles market.

Founded in 1884 by Rinaldo Piaggio, since 2003 the Group has been controlled by Immsi S.p.A., an industrial holding listed on the Italian stock exchange and headed by Roberto Colaninno, who also acts as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for the Piaggio Group. The Group has been listed on the Italian stock exchange since 2006.

The Piaggio Group’s product range includes scooters, motorcycles and mopeds from 50 to 1,200 cc, sold under the brand names of Piaggio, Vespa, Gilera, Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, Derbi, and Scarabeo. The Group also manufactures the Ape, Porter and Quargo ranges of three and four wheeled light commercial vehicles.
The Group is based in Pontedera (Pisa, Italy) and has production operations worldwide with plants in: Pontedera (Pisa), which produces Piaggio, Vespa and Gilera branded two-wheeled vehicles, light transport vehicles for the European market and engines for scooters and motorcycles; Scorzè (Venice), where Aprilia and Scarabeo motorcycles and scooters are made; Mandello del Lario (Lecco), where Moto Guzzi motorcycles and engines are manufactured; Martorelles (Barcelona, Spain), producing Derbi vehicles; Baramati (India, in the state of Maharashtra), dedicated to the production of 3 and 4 wheeled light commercial vehicles destined for the Indian market, Diesel and turbodiesel automotive engines for the Piaggio Commercial Vehicle ranges and, from January 2012, Vespa production centre for the Indian subcontinent market; and Vinh Phuc (Vietnam), where Vespa scooters for the local market and the ASEAN area are built. The Piaggio Group is also a partner in a joint-owned company in China (in Foshan, in the Guangdong province). As Piaggio’s shareholding in this company is just 45%, it is not considered in the Group’s financial and production results.