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Piaggio Vespa Scooters and Motorcycles - Company History

The Piaggio roots are somewhat distant from the range of mopeds, scooters and motorcycles which they're renowned for today. The company was formed in 1884 by Rinaldo Piaggo to produce locomotives and railway carriages and during the First World War they focused on manufacturing aircraft and during the Second World War they mainly produced bombers. However, after the war and with their factory demolished Piaggio decided to focus his attentions on motor vehicles for the masses - the Vespa.

The Vespa was initially designed to be easy to handle, carry a passenger and keep the rider's clothes clean - hence the design that is still popular today. However, itís not all been plain sailing. The company was bought in 1999 by Morgan Grenfell Private Equity and managed to run up significant losses with failed ventures. However, Roberto Colaninno, an Italian entrepreneur bought a third of the company for 100 million Euros and started to revolutionise the organisation which allowed it to receive a 35 per cent investment from the Abu Dhabi government.

Today there are a number of brands which Piaggo owns, including; Aprila, Derbi, Gilera, Ligier, Moto Guzzi and Laverda. However, it is the Vespa that is their most well-known brand, not least because of its portrayal in the 1952 Hollywood film Roman Holiday with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck.

The original Vespa was the Paperino which was the first prototype made in 1945. After there was the range of VNC, VBC, VLB Sprint 150, VBA and the VBB. After which there was the GT125, the PK 50 S and the T5.

Recently Piaggo has continued to evolve the brand and have released the PX 80, the LX 150, X9-500 and the Sfera 50.

Piaggo / Vespa Motorcycles - Italian Address

Piaggio & C. S.p.a.
Viale Rinaldo Piaggio n. 25
56025 Ponteder

Piaggo / Vespa Motorcycles - UK Address

2nd Floor Linden House,
153 And 155 Masons Hill,

Piaggio Limited - Financial Information

In 2006 Piaggio Ltd made a pre-tax loss of £42,000. However, by 2007 they had turned that into a £332,000 profit and by 2008 it had increased again to £425,000.

Piaggo / Vespa - Useful Resources

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