Piaggio picks Vietnam as Vespa’s Asian R&D centre

Piaggio Group has set up its first Vespa two-wheeler R&D centre in Asia in Vietnam to help achieve its revenue target of about ค1 billion (Bt43.5 billion) from Asia within four years.

The R&D centre complements the group’s manufacturing investment in the country. Since beginning local production in June 2009, Piaggio has sold more than 100,000 scooters in the Asian market.

The group is also ready to respond to growing scooter demand in Indonesia – where it recently established a sales company – and in Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Australia and Thailand, where the Piaggio scooter range made its debut at the Bangkok International Motor Show.

The capacity in Vietnam will be raised from 100,000 scooters to 300,000 scooters to meet rising demand for two-wheelers in Vietnam and in other Southeast Asian markets. In the Vinh Phuc area, Piaggio will also build a scooter engine plant, with annual capacity of 250,000 units.

Roberto Colaninno, Piaggio Group chairman and CEO, last week dubbed the investment as the second phase of the group’s growth strategy.

“The major expansion of the industrial facility in Vietnam is one of our strategic plans for the Asia region, which is the main growth factor for Piaggio Group over the next few years.

“In recent years, we have seen a sharp increase in demand for two-wheelers in Asia, especially in Vietnam, Southeast Asia and India.

“I am convinced demand will |continue to grow at a healthy rate over the coming years, in parallel with the rapid urbanisation of the main Asian nations and rising consumer spending power. Piaggio Group is poised to reap the benefits of this growth.”

Piaggio has made investments totalling ค30 million in Vietnam. The expansion announced last week will involve investments of ค150 million in Asia until 2014. About ค60 million will be directed towards the plants of Piaggio Vietnam for the development of the two-wheeler business in Southeast Asia.

Another ค90 million will be invested in the group’s Indian subsidiary, Piaggio Vehicles, to finance growth in both the commercial vehicle and two-wheeler businesses. In fact, the group plans to launch production of the Vespa scooter developed for the Indian market next year.

Piaggio expects its 2011-2014 investment programme in Asia to generate revenues of about ค1 billion in 2014.

The R&D Centre in Vinh Phuc will develop new vehicle concepts and engine technology with the aim to cut fuel consumption and emissions, factors that are of particular importance for Asian consumers.

For the Vietnamese market, Piaggio’s offering for this year includes a range of two-wheelers powered by four-stroke 125cc and 150cc electronic injection engines, delivering cutting-edge, eco-sustainable performance – the Vespa LX, Vespa S and Piaggio Liberty.

Piaggio will also be launching the Fly compact scooter and a new model of the Zip 100, redesigned specifically to address the needs of Asian consumers at a highly competitive price.

From VietNamBusiness

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