When it comes to their beloved Vespa, the Piaggio staff spares no effort with celebratory events around the world. And it is not by accident that these always take place around the last part of April.
In fact, Vespa’s real birthday is April 23, the date in 1946 that Piaggio & C. SpA registered the patent for the iconic scooter designed by one of its most creative aerospace engineers: Corradino D’Ascanio. World War II was finally nearing its end, and Mr. Enrico Piaggio realized that airplanes would no longer be a priority for any government that would take over badly battered Italy from Mussolini.
D’Ascanio did not like motorcycles. To him, they were non-functional, and they would dirty the rider and passenger because of the exposed chain drive and lack of weather protection. The engine, in unit with the gearbox and rear wheel, was one of his great new concepts that made the Vespa so rational and practical. Also helping were the easily accessible wheels, mounted to single-sided suspension front and rear.
Vespa has never really changed, and 18 million have been built since then. While recently celebrating the 69th birthday of Vespa, Piaggio also celebrated the 500,000th unit built in Vietnam, a white 125 Sprint. The success in Vietnam has helped Piaggio gain excellent access to the booming markets of Southeast Asia and the Pacific.
Now, thanks in part to the huge success of an even newer factory in India, Piaggio-Vespa has a global workforce of 7,600.
Good work, Mr. Roberto Colaninno: As head of Piaggio, you have taken Corradino D’Ascanio’s vision and raised it to a level of success he never would have imagined!