Italian manufacturer Piaggio Group, represented in the U.S. by its subsidiary Piaggio Group Americas (PGA), gave North American dealers a clear vision of plans for global and market growth during the company’s 2012 dealer meeting in Hollywood, Florida. Led by Piaggio Group Chairman and CEO Roberto Colaninno and Piaggio Group Americas President and CEO Miguel Martinez, as well as Piaggio Group executives from engineering, design, racing and marketing divisions, the event, attended by over 300 U.S. and Canadian dealers, included the unveiling of three new production models, four new prototypes and the announcement of a new international Advanced Design Center in Pasadena, California.
In addition to celebrating successes like an increase in scooter segment market share from 27.1 percent in 2010 to almost 30 percent last year, a 25 percent growth in sales of U.S. motorcycles, a 63.8 percent annual increase in total unit shipments and a strong 53 percent increase in revenues, the gathering also included several surprises – such as a special appearance by Aprilia race pilots in the 2012 Superbike World Championship, five-time world champion Max Biaggi and Aprilia Racing teammate Eugene Laverty.
“There’s never been a better time to be a Piaggio dealer – or a customer, for that matter,” said Martinez. “I believe the news and investments we announced for the North American market this past week prove our absolute commitment to bringing award-winning motorcycles and scooters and a best-in-class ownership experience to North American Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, Piaggio and Vespa customers.”
New International Pasadena Design Center to Focus on the Future of Mobility
The opening of an all-new International Piaggio Group Advanced Design Center in Pasadena, California was one signal of how serious the Piaggio Group is about its leadership role in defining the future of mobility. The new facility will be led by Piaggio Group designer Miguel Galluzzi, whose projects in Italy have included some of the most celebrated motorcycles of the last 20 years, including the Aprilia RSV4, winner of the 2010 Superbike World Championship and the brand-new Moto Guzzi California 1400, scheduled to debut at the end of 2012.
“Setting up a research center in California opens a window on the changes that will be taking place in our society, our way of life and in urban and metropolitan mobility models in the next few years,” Colaninno told dealers. “The new Advanced DesignCenter in Pasadena will be working not only at the cutting edge of style developments, but will also be cooperating with the world’s top universities and research centers.”
Galluzzi and team will be working closely with the Piaggio Group Style Center, led by Marco Lambri, on projects that impact all of the Piaggio Group product lines. In addition to styling the next generation of motorcycles and scooters, the Design Center team will be studying and developing alternative transportation innovations and solutions, such as the application of new energy accumulation technology and aerospace materials, for development of innovative emission-free engines using alternative energies.
Three New Production Models Slated for North America
Led by the all-new Aprilia Tuono V4 naked sportbike – the most powerful bike in its category – PGA’s new additions to the 2012 model portfolio also feature the new Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 NXT and Piaggio BV 350 maxi scooter.
Aprilia Tuono V4. Designed in the spirit of the RSV4 racebike, with a streetfighter physique that is in its element when accelerating and braking, the Aprilia Tuono V4 features the world championship-winning Aprilia Performance Ride Control (APRC) electronics package and an Aprilia 65-dgree V4 engine. That makes it the fastest naked sportsbike and highest performing in the category. Extremely compact, as slim as a twin-cylinder and installed in an ultra- compact chassis, the V4 pumps out 167.3 hp at 11,500 rpm, and 82 Ft. lbs. of torque at 9,500 rpm. Scheduled to reach dealers in March, the Aprilia Tuono V4 is available in Competition Black and Sunlit Yellow. The Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) is $14,999 in the US and $15,695 (CAD) in Canada.
Moto Guzzi Stelvio 1200 NXT. Melding Motor Guzzi character with state-of-the- art performance and design, the latest Stelvio adventure touring family member features both technical and functional upgrades. More streamlined styling results in more efficient aerodynamic protection: a new top fairing and a much larger, 8.5 gallon fuel tank (32 liters) keep you enjoying the ride longer and with a higher degree of comfort. The NXT features the hallmark Moto Guzzi engine design – the V-shaped 90-degree transverse four-valve, the highest performer among all the families of engines manufactured at Mandello del Lario. The Stelvio 1200 NXT comes standard with key adventure touring features such as switchable ABS and Automatic Traction Control, roomy aluminum side bags, hand guards, heated grips and adjustable wind screen, saddle height, handlebar, clutch levers and foot pegs. Color choices in the U.S. are Lava Black and Burnt Orange with an MSRP of $15,990. Canadian customers can select Lava Black at an MSRP of $16,190 (CAD).
Piaggio BV 350. Maxis are the ultimate efficient and comfortable commuter scooters, and the new Piaggio BV 350 ensures riders have plenty of power to get up and go, with an all-new engine, frame and body work. The BV 350 performs like a 400cc scooter but has all the low fuel consumption and emissions levels of a smaller displacement scooter. There’s nothing cute about the BV 350: from its smoked windshield and glossy black rims to matte, brushed metal details, this ride is sporty with a decidedly tough urban edge. The Piaggio BV 350 is available in Shiny Black and Matte Silver colors and has a MSRP of $5499. It arrives in U.S. showrooms in May.
The group also unveiled plans to launch 4 new prototype motorcycles including a Motor Guzzi California 1400 air-cooled cruiser; the Vespa 946 single-cylinder, 125cc four-stroke scooter; the Aprillia Caponord 1200, a multipurpose adventure bike with “the most advanced electronics package in its class”; and the Aprillia SRV850, the world’s first and only 90-degree V-twin scooter engine.