Coordinates: 43°39′41″N 10°37′21″E / 43.66139°N 10.62250°E / 43.66139; 10.62250
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Piaggio & C. S.p.A.
Company typePublic (SpA)
  • Motor vehicle manufacturing
  • Motor vehicle distribution
  • Engine manufacturing
Founded24 January 1884; 140 years ago (1884-01-24)
FounderRinaldo Piaggio
Area served
Key people
  • Roberto Colaninno, Chairman and CEO
RevenueIncrease €1,512 million (2019)[1]
Increase €124.8 million (2019)[1]
Increase €46.7 million (2019)[1]
Number of employees
7,510 [2]
ParentIMMSI S.p.A
Websitepiaggiogroup.com Edit this at Wikidata

Piaggio & C. SpA (Piaggio [ˈpjaddʒo]) is an Italian motor vehicle manufacturer, which produces a range of two-wheeled motor vehicles and compact commercial vehicles under four brands: Piaggio, Vespa, Aprilia, Moto Guzzi and Derbi. Its corporate headquarters are located in Pontedera, Italy. The company was founded by Rinaldo Piaggio in 1884, initially producing locomotives and railway carriages.

Piaggio's subsidiaries employ a total of 7,053 employees and produced a total of 519,700 vehicles in 2014.[3] The manufacturer has six research-and-development centres and operates in over 50 countries.[4]


In 1882, Enrico Piaggio purchased land in Sestri Ponente (Genoa) to set up a timber yard. Two years later, in 1884, his 20-year-old son, Rinaldo Piaggio (1864–1938), founded Piaggio & C. The company initially built locomotives and railway carriages. In 1917, towards the end of World War I, Rinaldo Piaggio turned to the military sector: The company started to produce MAS anti-submarine motorboats, aeroplanes and seaplanes under Ansaldo, Macchi, Caproni, and Dornier licenses. Later the company progressed to vehicles constructed according to Piaggio's own drawings.[5]

Between 1937 and 1939 Piaggio achieved 21 world records with its aircraft and engines built at the company's new factory in Pontedera, culminating in the four-engine Piaggio P.108 bomber.

Rinaldo died in 1938, by which time Piaggio was owned by multiple shareholders within the family, along with the entrepreneur Attilio Odero. Management of the company passed to his sons Enrico and Armando.[6]

By 1940 Piaggio was manufacturing trains, nautical fittings, aircraft engines, aeroplanes, trucks, trams, buses, funiculars and aluminium windows and doors. The Pontedera plant was destroyed by Allied bombing and production activities were relocated to the Biella area.

After the war, Enrico Piaggio decided to diversify the company's activities outside the aeronautical industry to address a perceived need for a modern, affordable mode of transport for the Italian mass market. The first attempt, based on a small motorcycle made for parachutists, was known as the MP5 and nicknamed the "Paperino" (the Italian name for Donald Duck) because of its strange shape. Ultimately Enrico Piaggio did not like it and asked Corradino D'Ascanio to redesign it.

D'Ascanio, an aeronautical engineer responsible for the design and construction of the first modern helicopter by Agusta, was not naturally enthusiastic about motorcycles, judging them to be uncomfortable and bulky, with wheels that were difficult to change after a puncture. When asked to design a motorcycle for Ferdinando Innocenti, D'Ascanio had come up with a step through scooter design but D'Ascanio and Innocenti disagreed over use of a pressed steel frame rather than tubular, so D'Ascanio took his design to Piaggio. Innocenti would ultimately use D'Ascanio's original design for their Lambretta scooter.

Piaggio asked D'Ascanio to create a simple, robust and affordable vehicle. The motorcycle had to be easy to drive for both men and women, be able to carry a passenger, and not get its driver's clothes dirty. The engineer's drawings proved a significant departure from the Paperino. With the help of Mario D'Este he prepared the first Vespa project, manufactured at Piaggio newly-rebuilt Pontedera headquarters in April 1946. Piaggio launched the Vespa (Italian for "wasp") and within ten years more than a million units had been produced. The Italian language gained a new word, "vespare", meaning to go somewhere on a Vespa.[7]

In 2024, Piaggio celebrated 140 years with limited edition of 'Vespa 140th of Piaggio,' with only 140 units available from April 18th to 21, 2024.[8]


Vespa in a Todi street

Vespa thrived until 1992 when Giovanni Alberto Agnelli, son of Antonella Bechi Piaggio and Umberto Agnelli, became CEO. Agnelli was very successful in expanding production and modernising the offer. He died unexpectedly of cancer in 1997, aged 33.[9] In 1999 Morgan Grenfell Private Equity acquired Piaggio, but hopes for a quick sale were dashed by a failed joint venture in China.[clarification needed] In Italy, Piaggio invested 15 million euros in a new motorcycle but dropped it after building a prototype. By the end of 2002, the company had run up 577 million Euros in debt on revenues of 945 million Euros, and booked a loss of 129 million Euros.

In 2003 Piaggio's debt was reduced by a 100 million Euro investment made by IMMSI, a holding company of the Colaninno family. 150 million shares were also converted by creditor banks. Reflecting on his investment, Roberto Colaninno said,

"A lot of people told me I was crazy. Piaggio wasn't dying. It just needed to be treated better."[10]"

Colaninno became the new chairman of Piaggio, and Rocco Sabelli the managing director. Sabelli redesigned the production line according to Japanese principles so that every Piaggio scooter could be made on any assembly line. Contrary to expectations, Colaninno did not sack a single worker; a move which helped seduce the company's skeptical unions. "Everyone in a company is part of the value chain," said Colaninno. All bonuses for blue-collar workers and management were based on the same criteria: profit margins and customer satisfaction. Air conditioning was installed in the factory for the first time, increasing productivity. He also gave the company's engineers, who had been idled by the company's financial crisis, deadlines for projects. They rolled out two world firsts in 2004: a gas-electric hybrid scooter and a sophisticated tilting scooter with two wheels in front and one in back to grip the road better.

One of Piaggio's problems Colaninno couldn't fix from the inside was its scale. Even though Piaggio was the European market leader, it was dwarfed by rivals Honda and Yamaha. A year after restoring Piaggio's health, Colaninno directed Piaggio's takeover of the Italian scooter and motorcycle manufacturer Aprilia, and with it the Aprilia-owned Moto Guzzi, a storied Italian manufacturer of motorcycles.

In 2006, Piaggio was floated on the Milan Stock Exchange, becoming a public company.


In 1956, with production of the millionth Vespa scooter, Italy had its first mass-produced motorised vehicle. Taking advantage of increased cash flow thanks to the success of the Vespa, Piaggio developed other products, including the 1957 Vespa 400, a compact passenger car.

In 1959 Piaggio came under the control of the Agnelli family, the owners of car maker Fiat SpA.

By 1960 Vespa had produced and sold 4 million units worldwide.[11]

In 1964 the aeronautical and motorcycle divisions of Piaggio split to become two independent companies as a result of the wide ownership by Fiat in Italian industry.[clarification needed] The aeronautical division was named IAM Rinaldo Piaggio. The aircraft company Piaggio Aero was controlled by the family of Piero Ferrari, who still hold 10% of Ferrari.

In 1969 Piaggio purchased the motorcycle company Gilera, one of the oldest European motorcycle manufacturers (founded in 1909), famous for its sporting achievements and world titles in the Motorcycle World Championship.[12]

In 1971 a steering wheel was added to the Piaggio Ape, a model first produced in 1948, culminating in the Ape Car. Four years later, in 1975, the company made the first prototype of an electric Ape.[13]

In 1988 the Vespa reached 10 million units produced.[14]

In 1996, on the fiftieth anniversary of the first model, Vespa passed 15 million units produced and the new 4-stroke Vespa ET, the first completely new Vespa for 18 years, was launched.[15] Piaggio was still in poor financial health but its brand recognition remained strong, boosted by the appearance of the ET4 in several Hollywood films.

In 1999, in Baramati, production began on a three-wheeler Ape for the Indian market.[16]

In 2000 Piaggio and Vespa returned to the United States with the opening of the first Vespa Boutique in Los Angeles. In that same year the Piaggio Historical Museum was inaugurated in Pontedera. The museum showcases the Piaggio Historical Archive, one of the most comprehensive company archives on the industrial history of Italy.[17]

In 2001 the Piaggio Group acquired Derbi-Nacional Motor SA,[18] an historical Spanish brand founded in 1922 that had won 18 world titles and was a continental leader in the small displacement motorbike segment. In the same year Gilera returned to the Motorcycle World Championship and immediately won the world title in the 125 category with Manuel Poggiali.[19]

In April 2004 Piaggio and Chinese manufacturer Zongshen signed a memorandum of understanding for the creation of the “Zongshen Piaggio Foshan Motorcycle” joint venture with a plant in Foshan for the production of scooters for the Chinese market.[20]

In 2004, at the end of December, the final contract for the acquisition of the Aprilia-Moto Guzzi Group was signed. The most important European two-wheeler group is born.[21]

In 2007 Piaggio Group arrived in Vietnam. The Vinh Phuc plant includes R&D, welding and painting activities, as well as final assembly of the scooters, with warehouse, testing, quality control and office areas.[22]

In 2009 the Piaggio Mp3 Hybrid made its debut on the market which was first hybrid scooter in the world, integrating the conventional low-environmental-impact internal combustion engine with a zero-emission electric motor and combining the advantages of the two power trains.[23]

In Baramati (State of Maharashtra), in 2012, the Piaggio Group's new plant for the production of Vespa's for the local market was opened.[24]

In 2013 the PADC, Piaggio Advanced Design Center opened in Pasadena (California, United States).[25] The Vespa 946 was also launched this year, along with the new Vespa Primavera, the latest evolution of the "small body" family.

In 2013 Vespa's worldwide sales numbered almost 190,000 units; in 2004 the figure stood at 58,000. In ten years of continuous progression over 1.3 million new Vespas have been produced. Since 1946 over 18 million Vespas have been produced and sold.[26]

In September 2017 Foton and Piaggio agreed to form a joint venture to develop and produce light commercial vehicle.[27] Based on Foton chassis the new vehicle was sold by Piaggio Commercial Vehicle division globally apart from China. The vehicle is intended to be a successor of the Piaggio Porter and production was planned to start in mid-2019 in Pontedera (Italy) with all components produced by Foton in China.[28]

"Cultural Project" Piaggio[edit]

Piaggio's "cultural project" promotes the reconstruction and enhancement of the company's heritage and is composed by three initiatives: the Piaggio Foundation, the Historical Archives and the Piaggio Museum. In 2003 the Museum and Archives were recognised as the Best Corporate Museum and Archive by winning the Italian prize "Premio Impresa e Cultura".[29] In 2016, under the patronage of the Italian Ministry of Culture, Piaggio received the Corporate Art Award from pptArt for its Corporate Museum.[30]

Brands and models[edit]

1962 Vespa 150 GL
Piaggio MP3 three-wheel scooter

Group brands[edit]


Current production[edit]

2-wheeled vehicles

3-wheeled vehicles

Commercial vehicles

Piaggio Porter NP6.


2-wheeled vehicles

3-wheeled vehicles

Commercial vehicles

All-terrain vehicles


Aircraft engines (1920-1950)

Electric scooters[edit]

The new plug-in hybrid version of the Piaggio MP3 will be equipped with a 125 cc petrol engine and electric motor, which offers about 60 km/L (141 mpg‑US) and travels 21 km (13 mi) using battery power alone. This machine could be out in 2009.[31]

Piaggio/Vespa are also developing hybrid electric scooters. There are two models in the works, based on the popular Vespa LX 50 and the beefier Piaggio X8 125.[32]

At the Beijing Motor Show 2021, Piaggio unveiled the brand new electric scooter Piaggio 1. This model was produced in three versione: 1 base, 1+ and 1 Active. The 1 base has a 1.4 kWh and 48V battery, a 1.2 kW engine, a torque of 85 Nm, a maximum speed of 45 km/h (it is therefore approved as a moped) and a range of 55 km. The 1+ version differs in the battery that rises to 2.3 kWh and the autonomy that reaches 100 kilometers. The 1 Active model has the same 2.3 kWh battery, but the engine has a maximum power of 2 kW, the torque goes to 95 Nm and the speed rises to 60 km/h (motorcycle homologation), the average range is 85 km. For all versions the charging times are 6 hours.[33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Piaggio Group: 2018 Draft Financial Statements". Piaggio Group. 26 February 2020. Retrieved 6 April 2018.
  2. ^ "Piaggio Group: 2014 draft financial statements". Piaggio Group. 27 February 2015. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  3. ^ "Piaggio Group: 2015 Draft Financial Statements". Piaggio Group. 26 May 2015. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  4. ^ "Annual Report 2012 – Piaggio Group". Archived from the original on 4 October 2013. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
  5. ^ Sarti, Giorgio (2006). Vespa. Motorbooks. ISBN 9780760325773.
  6. ^ "History of Piaggio & C. S.p.A."
  7. ^ "Piaggio Origins & Vespa History". 29 August 2010.
  8. ^ "Vespa Special Edition Introduced To Celebrate Piaggio's 140th Anniversary". Times Now. 18 April 2024. Retrieved 27 April 2024.
  9. ^ "Death of Giovanni Alberto Agnelli - Obituary". The Independent.
  10. ^ "Vespa's Builder Scoots Back To Profitability".
  11. ^ "Piaggio History". 13 May 2015.
  12. ^ "Gilera – Models and History".
  13. ^ "History of Piaggio Ape".
  14. ^ "Happy Days! Vespa celebrates its 70th birthday". Daily Mirror. 28 April 2016.
  15. ^ "Vespa History".
  16. ^ "Piaggio inaugurates Vespa manufacturing plant in Baramati".
  17. ^ "Piaggio Museum".
  18. ^ "Derbi".
  19. ^ "Poggiali brings Gilera first 125 win for 45 years".
  20. ^ "Italy's Piaggio to make scooters in China". 15 April 2004. Retrieved 13 June 2023.
  21. ^ "Piaggio Buys Aprilia & Moto Guzzi".
  22. ^ "Piaggio Group: official opening of new Vietnam factory".
  23. ^ "Piaggio launches MP3 Hybrid 300ie scooter".
  24. ^ "Piaggio Group: Vespa makes its official debut on the Indian market".
  25. ^ "Will The Motorcycle of the Future Come From Pasadena?".
  26. ^ "70 Years of Vespa: All the Vespas Produced, Ever".
  27. ^ Piaggio and Foton joint venture
  28. ^ Piaggio Accordo con Foton per il nuovo Porter
  29. ^ "Riaprono i punti vendita Piaggio e Vespa con occasioni irripetibili | Piaggio Group". www.piaggiogroup.com. Archived from the original on 6 September 2021. Retrieved 22 May 2022.
  30. ^ "2016 Corporate Art Awards - Corporate winners".
  31. ^ "Piaggio Scooters Gone Green: 141 MPG Hybrid". TreeHugger. Archived from the original on 13 November 2008. Retrieved 10 August 2009.
  32. ^ "Vespa Unveils Hybrid Scooters". TreeHugger. Retrieved 10 August 2009.
  33. ^ "Piaggio One electric scooter revealed ahead of global debut at 2021 Beijing auto show". 24 May 2021. Retrieved 23 September 2021.

External links[edit]

43°39′41″N 10°37′21″E / 43.66139°N 10.62250°E / 43.66139; 10.62250