Is piaggio and vespa the same?

The name means wasp in Italian. Vespas are more than just scooters, they have become an icon of Italian culture and the phrase “made in Italy”. Enrico Piaggio, son of founder Rinaldo Piaggio, decided to move away from the aeronautical field to address Italy's urgent need for a modern and affordable mode of transport for the masses, and 75 years later, his vision has had a global impact. In 1969, Piaggio bought the motorcycle company Gilera, one of the oldest motorcycle manufacturers in Europe (founded in 1990), famous for its sporting achievements and world titles in the World Motorcycle Championship.

After the war, the Piaggio brothers set out on a new path for the company, which focused on providing affordable transport to the masses in Italy. In 2003, Piaggio's debt was reduced with an investment of 100 million euros made by IMMSI, a holding company of the Colaninno family. With its narrow waist, large rear axle and engine, it looked like a wasp (vespa in Italian) and with Enrico's exclamation, its name remained. Taking advantage of the increase in cash flow thanks to the success of the Vespa, Piaggio developed other products, including the 1957 Vespa 400, a compact passenger car.

In 1956, with the production of the millionth Vespa scooter, Italy had its first mass-produced motorized vehicle. The astonishing popularity of the Vespa earned it the title of the first mass-produced vehicle in Italy, and by 1960, 4 million Vespas had been sold worldwide. Piaggio Vespas would soon fill the streets of Italy, with 1 million units sold in the first 10 years of production. Rinaldo Piaggio died in 1938 and his two sons, Enrico and Armando, took over the management of the company.

In April 2004, Piaggio and the Chinese manufacturer Zongshen signed a memorandum of understanding for the creation of the joint venture “Zongshen Piaggio Foshan Motorcycle” with a plant in Foshan for the production of scooters for the Chinese market. In 2001, the Piaggio Group acquired Derbi-Nacional Motor SA, a historic Spanish brand founded in 1922 that had won 18 world titles and was the continental leader in the small-cylinder motorcycle segment.

Thanks to the intuition of Enrico Piaggio and the genius of the legendary Italian aeronautical engineer Corradino D'Ascanio, Vespa scooters were born in 1946.

Between 1937 and 1939, Piaggio achieved 21 world records with its aircraft and engines built at the company's new factory in Pontedera, culminating in the four-engine Piaggio P. In 1971, a steering wheel was added to the Piaggio Ape, a model first produced in 1948, in the Ape Car.

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