|Rome: Vespa Granturismo launch. Speech by
Giancarlo Binetti, Senior Vice President
Two-wheeler Business Unit, Piaggio & C. Spa
|25th & 26th March 2003|
Ladies and gentlemen,
For us at Piaggio, the launch of a new Vespa is always a very important
and very special occasion. For me, being here to speak to you about a
new Vespa is doubly moving: because I have the privilege of managing this
extraordinary brand; and because I'm Italian, and I was born and brought
up with the Vespa.
The Vespa across the millennia. Stone Age Man inventing and creating
one wheel - then two wheels. And then, not knowing what to do with his
two wheels, he builds this
Vespa. A stone Vespa. Because the metal
Vespa came later, in the Iron Age.
Okay, jokes aside, it's absolutely true that Roman Holiday, Vacanze Romane,
was filmed exactly 50 years ago right here in Rome. On the very same streets
you're going to be riding through on the new Vespa.
For any company, having a cult object among its products is a dream come
true. But it's also an ongoing challenge, because keeping a product like
this up to date is about as easy as walking a tightrope.
|I think all of you can see that
this is definitely a Vespa. Even if I conceal its logo.
But inside this steel body - which is the result of an absolutely unique manufacturing concept - there's a lot that is new: this is the first Vespa with four stroke, four valve, liquid cooled engines. These are new generation engines, they're extremely environmentally friendly, they are already compatible with future Euro2 emissions legislation; this is the first Vespa with 12 inch wheels; it's also the first Vespa to have a braking system with only disk brakes.
|The size is also new. The Granturismo
is definitely bigger than any other Vespa. Its performance is also new.
This is the fastest and most powerful Vespa to come off a standard production
line. Which is why we chose the name Granturismo.
There are very striking style and technological differences with the other two Vespa models, the ET and PX, so the Granturismo forms a real product range of its own. It's the first time since we stopped producing the "Primavera" that there are three distinct and specific Vespa ranges. This is extremely important for us from the strategic point of view, because it strengthens Vespa's position as a separate brand with its own identity, different from our Group's other brands.
I think you know these brands quite well: Piaggio, the brand which has the same name as the company and offers products meant to satisfy the needs of a very wide range of customers who all enjoy easy individual mobility. Gilera, our sport brand whose keywords are passion and tradition. And Derbi, which, as I would like to remind you, is controlled 100 per cent by our Group since 2001, even though this Spanish company - a specialist and leading brand in small and medium-sized bikes - operates totally independently in terms of sales and products.
This gives us an incredible multi-brand range through which we command 27.5 per cent of the European market in the segments in which we operate. We are in the leading position. It's a share that we intend to improve this year, especially because we will have some really innovative new products - and we won't stop there.
|But let's get back to the Vespa
and the Vespa range.
The new 200L and 125L Granturismo will give the other two product ranges a more specific focus:
> Vespa ET "specialises" in customers who like riding a compact and easy vehicle but also want to set themselves apart from the crowd.
This is a customer bracket that has a lot of young riders, not least because the Vespa ET range includes two 50cc versions, with 2- and 4-stroke engines. It also has a high percentage of female riders - 30 per cent of all Vespa ET customers are women.
For this very important range, we plan small but significant changes in the immediate future, like lowering the seat height and adding side stand to make it easier to park.
> Vespa PX is a truly unusual vehicle.
|Today, the Vespa Granturismo
lines up alongside these two Vespa "families". Its objective is
to create a new type of product between the big GT scooters and the more
compact "classic" scooters; Vespa Granturismo is meant to satisfy
the most advanced and demanding standards of performance and comfort; while
simultaneously satisfying the "It has to be a Vespa" need of those
who want something that reflects a specific personality and lifestyle, rather
than just a scooter.
All of us look for objects that suit us. Which best reflect our own personality. And which express a specific and enduring idea rather than just following the trends of the moment.
Since it came into being the Vespa has always been more than a scooter. It has always been an original icon that has expressed the culture of its own time. It has always been faithful to itself, invisibly linked to preceding Vespa models but utterly different from any other product.
The Vespa Granturismo is a strongly urban product. It is made for people
who live in the capitals and metropolises of the world. In fact the launch
campaign in Europe has the slogan Urban Everywhere.
I hope that here in Rome you will feel the pleasure of travelling around
a magnificent city on this beautiful vehicle that is different from any