Piaggio Cuts Losses in 1Q

Piaggio & Co. SpA reported a net loss of 16.7 million euro for the first quarter of 2005, an improvement compared to a net loss of nearly 25 million euro registered for the comparable three months of 2004.
In 2004, the Piaggio Group reported consolidated net sales of 1,084.2 million euro, up 9.8% from 2003, and a return to net profit after four years of losses.
Piaggio, which re-entered the U.S. market in 2000, now has 85 dealerships, 15 of which opened in the last year. The company says retail sales of Piaggio and Vespa scooters rose 22.6% in the U.S. during 2004. Shipping now and due to arrive at authorized dealers across the country by early summer is the Vespa LX series (MSRP starting at $3,199).
Paolo Timoni, CEO of Piaggio USA, Inc., says the company plans an aggressive U.S. marketing push for its Piaggio and Vespa brands. The first step in Piaggio's updated marketing effort was the hiring of a new creative PR agency, CooperKatz & Company, to execute an integrated campaign combining public relations, events and online initiatives.
CooperKatz says it intends to educate North American consumers that scooters fit virtually every lifestyle, offering both practical and emotional benefits. Thus, Piaggio's new marketing campaign will include more mainstream press contacts, blogs designed to engage niche customer segments, and studies that encourage municipalities to embrace scooter-friendly policies.
"We selected CooperKatz for their creativity and unique combination of public relations, event marketing and online expertise that we believe will help support Piaggio in the growth plan for North America,” said Timoni. “Particularly intriguing were their ideas for using blogs to further engage our passionate Vespa owners.”

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