The Piaggio Group, owners of Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, and Vespa, among others, has taken out a loan for $60 million to "support the Piaggio Group in its investment plan in the research and development of innovative technology and product solutions."
Specific areas of interest include "active and passive safety and sustainability (including the reduction of fuel consumption and engine emissions), aimed at strengthening the product range of scooters, motorcycles and commercial vehicles."
This loan does not indicate that Piaggio is in financial trouble. Banca MPS and Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, who are underwriting the loan, make it clear that their intention is to help companies resume regular business after the coronavirus shutdown. Italy was hit hard, with Piaggio being forced by government decree to shut down on March 22, 2020. Business has resumed, and it seems they want to make up for lost time.
Piaggio has already made a number of interesting innovations, including a new leaning three-wheeler and active aero winglets. They also just won a lawsuit that will allow them to keep the classic Vespa design trademark. The Piaggio name may not be well known, but they are a force to be reckoned with in the two (and three) wheeled world.
Contrary to Dr. Evil's claims, $60 million is a lot of money that can buy a great deal of research and development. Piaggio clearly has a strong R&D team already, and this investment will only make it stronger. From top-end sportbikes to Vespa scooters, they have it all and apply their developments to small and large platforms alike. It makes me wonder what new gadgets and features Piaggio will come up with as a result. The future looks bright.