CMG chats with Kevin Andrews (brand manager for Vespa and Piaggio) and Rick Panettieri (brand manager for Aprilia and Moto Guzzi) to get the latest on how the company intends to resurrect itself in the Great White North.
If you follow the CMG news — and why wouldn’t you? — then you’ll already be aware that late last year Canadian Scooter Corp (CSC), the Canadian distributor for the Piaggio Group Americas (PGA) — which also includes Vespa, Moto Guzzi and Aprilia — was dumped by the mother ship.
It appears that the whole breakup has since become a legal can of worms and finger pointing, but the undisputed effect on the ground is that the number of dealers shrank and the PGA line has effectively fallen off the Canadian motorcycling radar.
CMG chatted with Kevin Andrews (brand manager for Vespa and Piaggio) and Rick Panettieri (brand manager for Aprilia and Moto Guzzi) to get the latest on how the company intends to resurrect itself in the Great White North.
First off, distribution and overall control will remain with PGA, which is based down in New York city. However, they have done a very sensible thing in hiring the very competent Ian Mckinstray (formerly of Suzuki Canada) to head Canadian sales, but then we’re not sure how much control they’re actually going to give him.
On the plus side, we were told that new product is now available in dealerships, though the number of such have dropped down to about 30 for the Vespa and Piaggio brands, about 10 for Aprilia and only seven for Moto Guzzi. Interestingly, PGA is also trying to set up Aprilia-only dealers who will sell both the motorcycle and scooter line.
Apparently dealers were asked to reapply post-CSC in a series of meetings held in February, which turned out to be about the worst timing to have to do such a thing – meaning that they were not ready for the main selling season in the Spring and with the economy still fragile, some dealerships were only too happy to not re-sign.
Still, as long as the company comes through on what has been promised, then it looks like we will continue to see all the Piaggio Group brands in Canada, and that’s a good thing. We may even see some test units become available in the next few weeks … though this was also originally promised in June.
So if you see test rides appearing here, you’ll know they came through!