Piaggio Scooter and Motorbike History

Piaggio is a group of seven scooter and motorcycle manufacturers. The company is the 4th-largest such manufacturer, having produced some 600,000 vehicles in 2008, employs over 6700 people, and has operations in over 50 countries. Piaggio is based in the city of Pisa, Italy, and its constituent companies are Aprilia, Derbi, Giliera, Ligier, Moto Guzzi, Vespa and Piaggio itself.

Piaggio was founded by Rinaldo Piaggio in 1884, and the company initially produced locomotives and other train equipment. During World War II the company manufactured bomber aircraft in support of the war effort, but its main plant in Pisa was bombed to ruins by the Allied forces. After the war Enrico Piaggio, Rinaldo’s son, made the wise decision to expand by turning out an affordable means of transport for the masses, instead of over-relying on aeronautical equipment or profit.

Piaggio’s origin in scooter-making is tied with MV Agusta, another Italian manufacturer. The engineer Corradino D’Ascanio was asked to create a simpler alternative to the then-ubiquitous motorcycle, and it also had to be rideable by both men and women. D’Ascanio met his design brief but had a falling-out with the MV Agusta owner, who was his employer at the time. He thus took his design and skill to Enrico Piaggio, who used them to build the first scooter in 1946, the now-legendary Vespa (Italian for ‘wasp’). Within just 10 years over a million units had been sold.

Piaggio Model Range

The company’s lineup in New Zealand mostly consists of its traditional forte- scooters and small motorcycles. Prominent among the scooters is the PX series. Piaggio also produces the Ciao, the Liberty range, the Hexagon, the Vintage and the Zip series.

Looking at buying a Piaggio scooter? Check the history of any Piaggio by entering its number plate in the field above.