Timoni out, Martinez in at Piaggio USA

Sources (SDG at Modern Buddy,, Hell For Leather, Scooterism, etc…) report that Paolo Timoni, CEO/President of Piaggio Group Americas since 2005, has left the company. Piaggio has yet to confirm or deny the rumors. PGA imports and markets the Piaggio, Vespa, Aprilia, and Moto Guzzi brands in the U.S.

Update, new prez/CEO is Manuel Martinez, formerly manager of Piaggio Spain.

Piaggio’s New Business Plan

Piaggio announced a new business plan today:

The plan is focused on new industrial plants in India and in Vietnam, on strengthening the commercial presence in Asian markets via new products and on development of new technologies for European and American markets…”

This clearly breaks the paradigm and thinks outside the box of Piaggio’s 2007 plan to build more scooters in India and Vietnam and Brazil, while strengthening their commercial presence in Asian markets via new products and on development of new technologies for European and American markets.

Colaninno is surely a visionary, but I bet I can predict his 2012 plan: Piaggio will manufacture more different scooters, and sell them to people, at a profit — wait for it — around the world! If we’re all lucky, that may still include the United States

Ducati/Piaggio merger rumors

Businessweek and others are reporting that “McKinsey & Co Inc. is studying a possible merger
between Ducati Motor Holding SpA and Piaggio.” Before you get too excited, note that McKinsey & Co Inc. are regarded as occasionally-dangerous hypemongers. One commenter following up Autoblog’s story notes:

You may recall that McKinsey created the corporate strategy for Enron. Much of their work, which is often highly touted and quoted, is about suggesting mergers and consolidations, both internal and external to companies.

Still, it’s interesting to think about, in the greater scheme of Italian motorsports musical chairs. On one hand, homogenization strips brands of their individuality. On the other hand, Ducati’s credibility (with half of Piaggio’s revenues) couldn’t hurt Piaggio/Vespa/Guzzi/Aprilia in the U.S. market. And we’d all be invited to Ducati Island.

How’s your Piaggio stock doing?

According to Reuters UK, Piaggio reported a 28% drop in net profit in 2008, which reminded us to check on our Piaggio stock: It’s at €0.95, an all-time low since Piaggio’s June, 2006 IPO at €2.30. Poor sales, a bad economy, and the weak Euro all hurt Piaggio last year, as did nearly €100 million in new debt from stock buybacks and a €.06-per share dividend last year, which will be offered again this year, which seems counterintuitive, but what do we know?
Continue reading “How’s your Piaggio stock doing?”

Dealer Expo 2009, Part I: Overview


Every February, powersports dealers from around the nation descend on grey, shivery, boring Indianapolis to see what’s new in the industry. It’s a chance for manufacturers, importers, and distributors to wine and dine their dealers and hopefully round up some orders for the upcoming riding season. This was our third year at DealerExpo, though it was our first with actual 2strokebuzz press passes. Continue reading “Dealer Expo 2009, Part I: Overview”

PiaggioUSA 2008 Fall Dealer Meeting

From our spies at Piaggio’s fall dealer meeting:

Dinner meeting features Jay Leno: 45 minutes of stand up, closing with “when Piaggio called me they said, ‘we don’t have much money,’ and I said ‘I’ll do it free, I’m Italian, I want to support an Italian product, I like Italian bikes,’ then I get here and find out how your sales are up and your dealers aren’t exactly hurtin’.

Continue reading “PiaggioUSA 2008 Fall Dealer Meeting”

Piaggio integrates Moto Guzzi operations

Piaggio announced today that they’ll be incorporating the operations of wholly-owned subsidary Moto Guzzi into Piaggio’s infrastructure by the end of November, moving Guzzi production to Piaggio or Aprilia facilities, and “rationalising the technical, industrial, design and style operations of the two companies.”

Aprilia expands Scarabeo line, offers vacation

ApriliaUSA has added two new displacements to its Scarabeo line, which is now available in 50cc, 90cc, 100cc, 125cc, 150cc, 175cc, 200cc, 250cc, 290cc, 310cc, 355cc, 400cc, 401cc, 500cc, 600cc, 883cc, 1000cc, 1200cc, and 1500cc models. (to be fair, a couple of those are discontinued, and not all models are available in the U.S.). Meanwhile, in Italy, Aprilia is offering a free seaside vacation or a €500 travel credit with purchase of selected scooters. That should cover all the Aprilia news for the next year.

Optimism for Aprilia USA

Paolo Timoni is feeling good about Aprilia’s future, based on the popularity of the Tuono 1000 R Factory sportbike, but it looks like Aprilia’s biggest growth was in the scooter market. From a Piaggio Group press release:

Aprilia’s U.S. scooter retail unit sales, which rose 56 percent over the 12-month period, were aided by the addition of two models: the newest and most powerful addition to the Scarabeo family, the 500 ie, and the sophisticated, urban-dwelling SportCity 250.

Aprilia scooters are in a tough spot, marketing-wise, They’re expensive, and their Piaggio and Vespa brethren get all the attention from scooter fans while the sportbikes get all the attention from Aprilia fans (and, often, dealers). The situation is further complicated by the Scarabeo line being marketed separately from Aprilia’s other scooters. Scarabeos have their fans, but the SportCity seems to be a pretty good bike that you rarely see on the street.

News chunks 10/23/07

  • A Korean student in England decided riding his scooter back to Korea would be less uncomfortable than a 13-hour flight.
  • The Times of London is digging the new Vespa S. Current rumor is 50cc and 150cc versions to the U.S. in the spring.
  • The Age of Melbourne, on the other hand, may be the first media outlet to see through the façade of Piaggio’s “green” marketing, after receiving a life-sized non-recyclable promotional piece featuring the MP3. Australia is hot for scooters this month. A University of Tasmania team has assembled the first Australian-made hybrid scooter, powered by Ethanol and batteries, and Sydney is apparently searching for its identity as a scooter city.
  • The Sun rides Aprilia’s new Mana 850cc automatic motorcycle.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio’s ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend sideswiped a photographer’s scooter in Israel. Oh, sorry, that’s not even interesting to E! Online readers.
  • If you’ve always thought “Sure, Segways are great, but man, I hate standing up, and I wish they were uglier, lower-tech, and more expensive,” Toyota has a concept vehicle for you.
  • In London suburb Croydon, citizens are teaming up to document “antisocial” scootering and report it to police in the wake of the death of a local police officer.
  • D.C. police are on the other side of the fence, after a scooter cop was hit-and-run by a white van. (Fact: recklessly-driven white vans now outnumber all other vehicles on Chicago streets, 6-to-1.)
  • For some reason there were at least… let’s see… 1, 2, 3, 4, 5… five stories in the press last week about Piaggio’s new plant in Vietnam, without any new info beyond the announcement they made in February. Thanh Nien News had the decency to follow up their PR-wire story with a fairly interesting story on the vintage scooter scene in Vietnam.
  • A New Jersey yoga instructor and mother of six becomes the first woman in America to eat thousands of dollars of depreciation and trade in her SUV, replacing it with a $11,000 Vectrix electric scooter. The expense is totally justified by her reduced carbon footprint and the dozens of dollars she’ll save on gas between now and the first day it snows and she has to make six separate trips to drop her kids off at soccer practice, girl scouts, and karate. Yes, that’s pretty cynical. As Smarthouse points out, the Vectrix has many merits, and it’s a positive step for ecology, but as I’ve said many times, it seems that consumers aren’t considering all the factors when looking at the economic benefits of scooters, like this Wisconsin couple who seem to be ignoring the fact that riding a pair of 60mpg scooters isn’t really any better than driving one 30mpg car.
  • In that same story an Oshkosh, WI urgent-care clinic director estimates that scooter-related urgent-care visits will rise to 5,000 nationally this year, up from 1,300 in 2000. If the national urgent-care industry is actually keeping stats like that, we’d love to see them, but it seems a little unlikely that anyone would have been accurately tracking nationwide motorscooter injuries in 2000, or that any study of that sort would differentiate urgent-care visits from emergency-room visits.
  • A new SYM dealer has opened shop on the Incriminators’ turf. “You see them all over Hollywood,” store manager Tonya Stewart says, “[Scooters are] in movies and music videos, and stars are riding them as well.” Well, sure, Tonya, but those aren’t really SYMs now are they? God, I’m bitchy tonight. This is like 2strokeTMZ.