Vendita, venduto, Vespa

Businessweek writes their own Vespa press release, recapping the IPO and outlining their plans for America. At least they’re thorough, and the slide show is a nice touch. (Note: The Scooter Scoop points out that the story says the MP3 will be here in January. They’d previously said December, and several sources have reported it will be in the “2007 product line.” I’ve not heard anything other than that the U.S. will get only the 125cc model). Also, after I joked that this was more or less a press release, a friend forwarded me an email from CooperKatz (Vespa’s PR agency) taking credit for the story. Journalism is dead.

LML does something involving money

From HindustanTimes:

Two-wheeler manufacturer LML Ltd said on Thursday that it has allotted about 27 lakh equity shares to Merrill Lynch Capital Markets Espana upon conversion of Foreign Currency Convertible Bonds (FCCBs). At the meeting held today the Financial Restructuring Committee of Directors allotted shares of Rs 10 each at a premium of Rs 21.10 per share upon FCCB conversion, the company informed the Bombay Stock Exchange.The shares were allotted upon conversion of 2000 FCCBs Series B of 1,000 dollars each aggregating to $2 million, LML added.

So make of that what you will.

Italy repeals 50cc 2-up ban

Friday, Italy will overturn a recent law prohibiting passengers on 50cc scooters. The new law allows passengers over 18 (sorry Brooke!) to ride on 50cc scooters if the vehicle is authorized to carry a passenger and a new €50 license plate is obtained. 50cc owners can keep their old plates if they are not able to, or do not wish to, carry a guest, but if they do meet a nice girl down at the Piazza and give her a lift home, they may be fined up to €275. (via Urbannerd

Scooter reality in Cambodia

In one of those wire stories that’s too vague to seem real, yet too mundane to be made up, Cambodian Television Network is now casting CTN Coffee Shop, Cambodia’s first reality TV show. The participant best able to cope with the stupidity of existence on a reality show for three months wins a brand new scooter. Somewhere, the PR director of a Cambodian factory that makes knockoffs of Vietnamese knockoffs of Chinese knockoffs of Indian knockoffs of Honda Super Cubs is complaining that the one wire service that picked up his story didn’t include the make or model of the scooter.

The Piaggio IPO: A timeline

for those of you who (like us) have the business sense
of a six-year-old running a lemonade stand:

1999: The Agnelli Family (best known for running Fiat into the ground) sells Piaggio, with whom they also worked their magic, to Morgan Grenfell Private Equity (part of DeutscheBank). Morgan Grenfell brings Vespa back to America and loses even more money.

October 2003: Morgan Grenfell sells a chunk of Piaggio, near-bankruptcy, to Immsi, an investment company run by Roberto Colaninno, an extremely rich and powerful Italian businessman famous for paying €60 billion for Telecom Italia. He pays €100 millions for about a third of Piaggio and permission to have his way with her. Colaninno brings in Rocco Sabelli as CEO and they start turning things around, kinda like Michael Keaton and Gedde Watanabe in “Gung Ho.”
Continue reading “The Piaggio IPO: A timeline”

Garelli’s Gilardino bet pays off

A few weeks ago, 2sb poked fun at Garelli’s decision to hire Alberto Gilardino as a spokesperson, especially in light of Suzuki bringing in Alessandro Del Piero as “Mr. Burgman. Now that the Cup is over, we are eating our words, Gilardino played more minutes, and roughly equalled Del Piero’s stats. Assuming (surely) Del Piero cost Suzuki a good deal more than Garelli paid Gilardino, Garelli got quite a bargain. (We ignore the fact that Del Piero is a worldwide household name and we’d never heard of Gilardino before June):


5 304 1 0 1 6 8 0 0 0 9


5 172 1 0 0 3 4 0 0 0 5

M1 takes 2sb Cup

M1 1:1 Spiny Norman a.e.t. 5:3 PSO
I haven’t really felt like talking about it until now, but So1oSC founder, and non-soccer fan Mike Durso (aka “M1”) won the 2strokebuzz Cup. (Here’s Mike and his Italian flag smallframe Vespa). At least some good came of it: Lu$ sent a game allowing us to relive the final seconds of Zizou’s career. After the game in our mostly-Italian neighborhood, people were driving around waving their flags and honking, and I just wanted to put on some mime makeup and a beret and slowly drive around in a Citröen, listening to Jacques Brel and looking sad. Maybe that should be Mike’s prize; a beret and a Jacques Brel CD.

Crain’s story piques Chicago’s interest in Vespa

Stuart Luman’s story in Crain’s Chicago Business about Chicago’s lack of a Vespa dealer (2sb’s reaction) attracted a good deal of other media interest today. Along with some radio coverage and word of mouth, local culture site Chicagoist posted about the story (thanks for the link!). In a strange coincidence, the downstate Belleville News-Democrat ran a story about a sales spurt for local motorcycle dealers, including a bit about Vernon Carver of Moto Italia, the Edwardsville Vespa dealer interviewed in Luman’s story. Chicagoist’s blurb ended: “This was all just a “sky is fallingâ€? thing to see if we could make you want a Vespa. To tell you the truth, now we just want a Vespa.” Even PiaggioUSA knows, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.

Why no Chicago Vespa Dealer?

Stuart Luman of Crain’s Chicago Business explores the “Great Chicago Vespa Dealer Mystery.” 2strokebuzz talked to Stuart on several occasions about the story, to the point of probably creeping him out. The story won’t be surprising to regular 2sb readers, but Crain’s gets big props for coining the word “Vesparate.” Three points that the Crain’s story missed, in our opinion (we’re not bound by the rules of journalism or a capitalist publisher, ha):

  1. While Vespa of Chicago’s closure was a direct result of the bankruptcy of Sam Tomaino’s West Suburban Auto Group, the story does not address allegations that Tomaino intended to keep the local rights and/or sell them to a new dealer. There seems to still be some dispute over the rights, which is probably why the Olde Town Motocycle Shoppe has not officially been named the new dealer. It’s also unclear whether Piaggio approached the new OTMS/MotoplexUSA or vice versa, or how Dan Kay, the former Sales Manager of Vespa Chicago, now sales manager of OTMS, was involved.
  2. The story also does not address similar conflicts in other cities where the boutique concept was abandoned and original dealers saw their dealerships taken away, or alternately, were unable to find a buyer because of Piaggio USA’s dealer obligations.
  3. The story says Vespa of Chicago is still operating through the Diversey Boutique and is not offering service on bikes, though, as 2sb has reported, Tomaino’s Roselle location, while allegedly bare-bones, is servicing bikes, and presumably doing dealer prep for the Diversey shop, which was never a service center.

2sb has no agenda here other than curiousity, and from our conversation with Luman, neither did Crain’s, but we think the more interesting story, from a business perspective, is the failure (in many markets) of PiaggioUSA’s original upscale “boutique” marketing plan, which the current management finally seems to have to abandoned, along with some of their original big-investment dealers. 2sb lacks the sources and the resources to really follow through on this story, but a whole book will be written someday about Piaggio’s return to the US, no matter whether it’s ultimately a failure or a success.