Piaggio is an iconic brand
Piaggio is an iconic brand, expression of excellence of the Made in Italy, which has made the history of motorbikes and two-wheel vehicles.
At the beginning of everything in 1882, the entrepreneur Enrico Piaggio, who started his activity as ebanist in Sestri Ponente, in Liguria. However, it was his son Rinaldo in 1887, having drifted away from the family business, who founded the Piaggio company, specialized in the production of nautical furnishing and railway carriages. In 1915, with the acquisition of Pisa’s Officine Aeronautiche Francesco Oneto, Rinaldo Piaggio quickly converted the production, focusing on aircraft construction, encouraged in this direction by the war effort of World War 1, starting the development of airplanes and seaplanes, but also the famous MAS speedboat, used by the Italian Navy as anti-submarine vessels. After the war ended, starting from 1924, Piaggio inaugurated the production of engines and acquired the license for the production of Dornier aircrafts, committing to developing trains and the first electrical appliances. Some important acquisitions, furthermore, strengthened the potential and reach of the company, that diversified its activities in the plants of Finale Ligure and Sestri, and of Pontedera and Pisa in Tuscany, which were left in charge to Armando and Enrico. During the 20’s, Rinaldo Piaggio, helped by his children, committed to manufacturing public means of transportation and cable railways, up to 1938, year of his death. So Enrico and Armando took their father’s place.
The turning point, that will mark the whole of Piaggio’s history, was on the 23 of April 1946, the day in which the company patented, on a project by Corradino D’Ascanio – who by the way was also the inventor of modern day helicopters – the now iconic “Vespa”, a motorbike destine to become not only one of the greatest commercial successes of the company but also an actual symbol of Italy’s genius, design and manufacturing prowess. In this regard, we ought to remember an anecdote. The name of the motorbike was conceived by Enrico Piaggio who, when he saw the first prototype, allegedly exclaimed: “It looks like a vespa! (vespa is wasp in english). The birth of “Vespa”, in the plant in Pontedera, marked the end of the aircraft production and, starting from 1948, started to have huge success, which materialised in 1970 with the celebrations of four million sold vehicles.
Between 1948 and 1949, the production of motorbikes increased with the birth of “Ape” and “Moscone”, whilst in 1964 the company will be divided into two branches: the IAM Rinaldo Piaggio and Piaggio & C., with Umberto Agnelli who will take over from Enrico Piaggio after his death as president of the Piaggio & C.
1967, on the other hand, was marked by the development of the “Ciao” and by the acquisition of Gilera, first of a series of important brands – such as Aprilia and Moto Guzzi, which became part of the supply chain of Piaggio. In 1987, “Superbravo”, “Grillo”,”Cosa” e “ApeCar” made their entrance on the market, whilst in 1990 “Sfera” was launched, a scooter realized with a plastic body. In 1996, it was the time of the “Nuova Vespa” conceived from the project by Enrico Piaggio and Corradino D’Ascanio.
In 1999 the transfer of ownership to the American group Morgan Grenfell happens, and in 2000 the inauguration of the first “Vespa Boutique” in Los Angeles. In 2001 Piaggio returns to races with the brand, winning the global title Piloti with Manuel Poggiali. In 2004, Piaggio subscribes an agreement with the Zongshen group, starting the activity oriented towards asian markets.
2006 marks the development of the “MP3”, the first three-wheel scooter, whilst in 2009 the first hybrid scooter comes to be. Piaggio then came back in the spotlight in 2012, with the model “Piaggio X10”, a maxiscooter featuring significant technologic equipment. In 2014 “PiaggioMp3” was launched, and then the new versions of the “Vespa Gts”, and in the following year, the new “Vespa 946 Emporio Armani” was released.
Meanwhile, the story of Piaggio continues in the name of excellence, leading the way in terms of motorbike and scooter production, driven by a great company tradition but also by tireless technologic evolution.
Cover Image : posarellivillas