Home / Auto News / Piaggio to further strengthen India presence, to launch mid-sized bike under Aprilia brand

MUMBAI : The Indian arm of Italian auto maker Piaggio Group will first consolidate its position here before making any major investments in the next few years, a top official has said.

The group, which is celebrating 75 years of its iconic premium scooter brand Vespa, also said it is developing a more than 300-cc motorcycle under its Aprilia brand to cater to both domestic and international markets.

Besides serving the premium scooter segment, Piaggio also caters to the commercial vehicle market in the country.

"We will continue investing but not so heavily as we have done in the last three years. We have invested hugely in the transition to BS-VI from BS-IV about a year ago.

"So will consolidate over the next couple of years before investing (heavily) further," Diego Graffi, chairman and managing director of Piaggio India, told PTI when asked about his company's business plans for the next five years.

The company has invested 350 crore in the last three years in the domestic market, he added.

The implementation of BS-VI norms from April year, the COVID-19 pandemic and unabated rise in commodity prices have shaken the Indian automobile industry, Graffi said.

However, he added that Piaggo sees huge potential for growth in the two-wheeler market and is looking to sell 1.50 lakh to 2 lakh units annually with a new product portfolio.

He said manufacturing of a motorbike by Piaggio India is definitely a part of its plan and an ongoing development.

"It will be a mid-sized bike of above 300-cc engine capacity and will be under the Aprilia brand. It will not only be for the India market but also for global markets, and expected to come out in 2-3 years," he said.

He added that with the current level of technology and supply chain, India is capable of producing and exporting a product that can compete with those manufactured in Europe.

The bike will be manufactured in cooperation with other group facilities.

Stating that while demand for cargo vehicles has come back to 90 per cent of the pre-pandemic levels, the passenger vehicles demand, being linked to shared mobility, has reached only 20-25 per cent of the normal level and varies from place to place.

It will take at least 6-12 months for demand in this segment to recover to normal, provided there are no fresh lockdowns due to a potential third wave of the pandemic, he said.

Piaggio recently launched a new powertrain in 300-cc petrol and CNG, he said, adding that it will continue petrol offerings in its Vespa and Aprilia range of two-wheelers as it is developing its own powertrain for manufacturing electric scooters.

"It will take about 2-3 years as we are developing a powertrain. We do not want to provide an off-shelf product and will not source battery technology from China," he added.

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