Archive for the ‘vespa’ Category

Piaggio Cuts Sales and Marketing Staff

January 19, 2010

No Reduction in Dealer Services Planned

Reduced unit sales of scooters in 2009 forced Piaggio USA to cut several top level managers in its sales operation and flatten out its sales staff, Paolo Timoni, president and CEO of Piaggio’s US operations, told me.

Noting that industry-wide U.S. scooter sales were down about 65% last year, Timoni said that steps had to be taken to balance revenue and costs. “We don’t expect 2010 sales to go back to 2008 numbers,” said Timoni. So, it was cut either sales or dealer services.

“Given our priorities for 2010 and 2011,” Timoni said, “ we concluded it was a priority for us to maintain our service capabilities (to dealers) as much as possible, because we think this is what dealers need. Probably, we could get with a smaller sales organization, since there wouldn’t be that much sales, right? Therefore, we basically reduced the size of our sales organization.”

The position of vice president of sales and marketing has been eliminated and the former head of sales and marketing, Gary Pietruszewski, has been let go. The marketing management functions now will be handled by three managers, who report to Timoni. “It’s a much flatter management structure,” he says.

Melissa MacCall is responsible for marketing, Internet activities, promotions and co-marketing activities. Karen Andrews is brand manager for Piaggio and Vespa, and Rick Panettieri is brand manager for Aprilia and Moto Guzzi.

At the same, the number of regional sales directors was cut from three to two, and three regional sales directors were dropped, reducing the number of sales directors from 10 to seven.

“We have great opportunity here,” says Timoni. “You notice we didn’t touch our service organization. We thought that would be the best investment we could make now, and we hope dealers appreciate that basically all the infrastructure and organization to support and service them has been untouched. That’s our strategy.”

No other changes are planned for the time being. “That’s all there is,” says Timoni.  JD

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Selling Scooters: There’s More Than One Way to Pitch a Vespa

January 5, 2010

Caught these two advertisements recently on YouTube. Enjoy.

First there’s this:

And then there’s this:

Scooterists Assemble in Twin Cities for ‘Rattle My Bones’ Rally

August 16, 2009

Hundreds of scooterists from all over the Midwest assembled in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul Aug. 13-16 for the 2009 Rattle My Bones scooter rally.

RattleMyBones2The four-day event started with a meet-and-greet and scavenger hunt on the evening of Aug. 13; had participants assembling Aug. 14 for five ride possibilities, a “historic sites” ride and one ride each for geared scoots, automatic scoots, vintage scoots and for scooterists who have never been on a group ride before; continued Aug. 15 with a 70-mile, large group ride followed by dinner, a gymkhana, bike show and music; and wrapped up Aug. 16 with an organized breakfast, raffle prize giveaway, awards presentation and a final ride.

Sponsors included dealerships Scooterville, Blue Cat Motors and Leo’s South; as well as CF Moto; Scooterworks USA; Binetto/Shad; Aerostich; Bell Helmets; Corazzo; Scorpion EXO and Scoot! Magazine, among others.

As the logo suggests, the Rattle My Bones rally was named after a song by the defunct Twin Cities band The Suburbs.

As the logo suggests, the Rattle My Bones rally was named after a song by the defunct Twin Cities band The Suburbs.

Scooterists, Art Lovers Gather at Los Vesparados

June 14, 2009

Scooterists and art lovers from the Twin Cities and beyond gathered the evening of June 13 in Minneapolis to attend Los Vesparados, an event combining the cult following of scooters with a line up of local and international artists working in different styles and mediums to celebrate the spirit of the scooter.
Vesparados
The event featured more than 25 local and international artists showing a variety of art, from painting and print editions to metal and jewelry; a scooter exhibition in the parking lot; scooter memorabilia displayed by Michael & Eric Dregni, authors of many books on the subject; a DJ spinning mod tunes; a raffle to win a Genuine Buddy scooter; and projections of scooter movies and commercials.

Artists in attendance included: Adam Turman, Aleksandra Stancevic, Andre Knaebel, Andrea Horne, Angel Bomb, Brian Sago, Chank Diesel, Charles Youel, Dan Marshall, Emmy Lingscheit, Ethan Arnold, Greg Meyers, James Provost, Karin (more…)

Clarkson: A powersports fanatic

April 22, 2009

Jeremy Clarkson, one-third of the presenting team for the top-rated BBC television show Top Gear, was spotted this week atop a Yamaha Waverunner VX110 while on vacation in Barbados.
clarkson_pwcclarkson_scooter1
As the pictures attest to, the 49-year-old appeared to have enjoyed piloting the 110hp four-stroke PWC as much as driving a 510hp Lamborghini Gallardo.

Last September, photographers spotted the presenter, who often derides motorcyclists, astride a Piaggio scooter near his home in Oxfordshire. Click here to read what Clarkson had to say about his buzz around town on the scoot.

The L.A. Times Ain’t All Bad — Throttle Jockey’s Back

April 16, 2009

OK, that headline is a gratuitous jab at the one paper I read EVERY DAY. But when your relationship with your local read starts starts to get increasingly abusive, it’s hard to feel the love. But I soldier on, weathering the insults (like this and this) because I physically need the smudge of newsprint on my hands each morning.

And these days I can be proud yet again in the LAT for who should it bring back but Susannewest Carpenter, the paper’s resident Throttle Jockey. If you remember (or care to follow such things) Carpenter’s popular weekly column on motorcycles and motorcycling was discontinued in July 2008 (read here for a brief explanation and the resulting comments from mostly peeved readers).

Carpenter’s been writing stories for the paper’s other sections but returns to the two-wheeled world in the Up To Speed blog, which also features bits and pieces on transportation from Pulitzer-prize winner Dan Neil and some other Times’ staffers. While (more…)

Consumer Reports Tests Two-Wheelers

February 5, 2009

As scooter and small-displacement motorcycle sales spiked last summer, the crew over at Consumer Reports took a look at the number of new and returning riders climbing back on two-wheels and figured it was time to start testing scooters and motorcycles for the first time since 1981.

Dealernews talked with OEMs to learn what they think of the out-of-the-industry coverage. Click here to read the responses.

Want to see a video about how Consumer Reports tested six scooters and two motorcycles for the magazine’s March issue? Click here.

Wooden Vespa by Carlos Alberto

January 20, 2009

Every once in a while, greatness shines down upon us little people and today that greatness is Carlos Alberto. When you can make things like this with your bare hands you should be allowed to walk around wearing a crown, a cape and a monocle.

Introducing the wooden Vespa. Please keep all the termite comments to yourself.

Introducing the wooden Vespa. Please keep all the termite comments to yourself

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I’m thinking that President Obama should appoint him to his cabinet. (Get it, cabinet? That’s good carpentry humor.)

Piaggio Debuts 2009 Vespa GTS 300 Super

January 16, 2009

Unveiled for the world at the EICMA show in Milan last November, the
Vespa GTS 300 Super made its North American debut today at the Cycle World International Motorcycle Show in New York.

The 2009 Vespa GTS 300 Super (MSRP $6,199) is the latest evolution of the company’s best-selling mid-size scooter, the GTS 250.  It’s also the fastest Vespa in the company’s U.S. product portfolio.

Learn more about the scoot here.
vespagts300super

What will Piaggio’s €150 Million Loan Cover?

December 28, 2008

Piaggio & C. S.p.A. recently obtained a €150 million loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB) to be earmarked for upcoming R&D activities. But which brand will be on the receiving end of this funding, Piaggio, Vespa, Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, Gilera or Derbi?

The Piaggio Group’s six brands revealed nearly a dozen concept bikes at the EICMA show in November.

The Derbi DH 2.0 is one of many recent Piaggio Group prototypes.

The Derbi DH 2.0 is one of many recent Piaggio Group prototypes.

Could the loan amount be going toward the realization of some of those models? Could it be that the funding is to be earmarked for Aprilia’s forthcoming World Superbike race effort? Is it possible Piaggio finally plans to expand its Gilera and Derbi offerings?

What about Moto Guzzi? In November, Piaggio’s Moto Guzzi subsidiary merged into the parent company in a move Piaggio leadership said will help leverage industrial, commercial and financial synergies by “rationalizing” the two companies’ technical, industrial, design and style operations.

Guzzi's operation may be a target for investment

Moto Guzzi's operation may be a target for investment.

Erected in 1921, Moto Guzzi’s production facility in Mandello del Lario, Italy, is aging and situated on a limited parcel of land between a cliff side and Lago di Lecco – the eastern arm of Lake Como. A Dealernews visit in 2007 revealed only half of the facility in use, with the remainder in a darkened state of decay.

So, maybe, the Piaggio/MotoGuzzi merger, plus the recent R&D-related loan, signals a pending revitalization of the Guzzi production process.

What are your thoughts?