Piaggio & C. SpA is an Italian two wheeler manufacturing company. The Pontedera based consortium is the world's fourth largest motorcycle and scooter producer. Under the brand Piaggio, 7 two wheeler sub-brands are run. Aprilla, Derbi, Gilera, Ligier, Vespa, Piaggio and Moto Guzzi are they. Having five R & D centres, 8000 employees and dealerships in 50 countries, Piaggio produces 600000 units per annum.
The consortium was founded by Rinaldo Piaggio on January 24, 1884, in Sestri Ponente, Italy. At first the company focused on making aircrafts Later, the company expanded their business during the World War II. They started manufacturing bomber aircraft. Unfortunately, the manufacturing plant was completely demolished in bomb crash during the war. This incident marked revolutionary thought of Piaggio group. Son of Rinaldo Piaggio, Enrico Piaggio planned to check out the aeronautical field which caused the company hazardous damages and money lost. He decided to invent an affordable vehicle for the masses. He approached Corradino D'Ascanio, who was an aeronautical engineer designed and constructed the first modern helicopter by Agusta. D'Ascanio molded out a prototype. As a result a new machine, the scooter Wasp (Vespa for English) was born in 1946. The reason why the scooter got named Vespa was the scooter looked and sounded like a wasp (insect). The Vespa scooter is a milestone in the history of Piaggio Group. The company sold out 10 lakh units within 10 years after starting production.
Soon the consortium expanded their production by investing more money what they earned from their products. Later, a research and development centrer was riased. In 1959, the company was bought by Agnelli family, the owners of car maker Fiat SpA. In 1964, the group was splitted in to two divisions, aeronautical and motorcycle. In 1969, the motorcycle company acquired Gilera, Italian motorcycle manufacturer.
In 1999, Morgan Grenfell Private Equity bought Piaggio. Due to the failed joint venture in China, the company had to face a gigantic loss amount of 129 million Euros by the end of 2002. In 2003, Roberto Colaninno invested an initial amount fof 100 Euros through his holding company, Immsi SpA. Soon the factory got redesigned by Chief executive Rocco Sabelli on Japanese criteria. Leadership of Roberto Colaninno was impressive. He valued each and every workers and strengthened the unity of the company. He ensured bonuses according to the profit of the company and customer satisfaction. He gave deadline to engineers in order to mold out machines at right time. As a result of his strong pioneering, in 2004 the company introduced two machines, a gas-electric hybrid scooter and a sophisticated tilting scooter with two wheels in front and one in back, for the first time.
Meanwhile, Piaggio had to compete with Japanese motorcycle manufacturers, Honda and Yamaha. However, the strong determination of Roberto Colaninno led the whole team survived. Later, they took over the Italian scooter and motorcycle manufacturer Aprilia, and with that Moto Guzzi, motorcycle brand owned by Aprilia. Appearing on the Milan Stock Exchange, Piaggio became a public company in 2006. In April 2006, Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala Development, owned by the Government of Abu Dhabi, bought 35% of the stake of Piaggio.
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