Piaggio has a history stretching back well over 100 years. Starting out in ships, railway stock and even aircraft, it wasn’t until World War II that the company launched its most iconic product. They are the makers of the Vespa scooter range, which was one of the first motor scooters, and is now a global phenomenon.
Thanks in part to the Vespa’s success, Piaggio formed its own independent two-wheel manufacturer in 1964. Its first machine was the Ciao – combining an engine and pedals, it’s considered the forefather of the modern moped.
While they are Piaggio scooters, Vespas are marketed as their own brand. The separate Piaggio brand allowed designers to step away from the Vespa’s iconic look. Unlike Vespas, today’s Piaggio scooters are mostly high-wheeled, designed to cruise over bumps with ease.
This variation also allows Piaggio to appeal strongly to teens, with a dynamic, aggressive motorbike-style look for some of the younger models.
Power on three wheels
Piaggio claims the MP3 is the first three-wheeled scooter, and it certainly made a splash on its launch in 2006. The impressive tilting ability of its front wheels gives it a futuristic vibe, and it packs an impressive amount of power.
Three years later the MP3 achieved another world-first with its plug-in hybrid version, the first ever hybrid scooter.