Bangalore: This is one gift that is sure to have taken the Pope by surprise. And it went all the way from India.
In celebration of its 60th anniversary of the production of the Piaggio’s Ape, Pope Benedict XVI was presented with two customised Calessino three-wheelers at the Vatican.
The vehicles, otherwise recognisable in their yellow-and-black avatars on the Indian roads, have been changed in appearance to appeal to the Pope. They are pure white and bear the Vatican’s emblem on the sides. The interiors have been done up in lush off-white.
Given to him by Roberto Colaninno, Chairman and Managing Director, Piaggio Group, and Ravi Chopra, Chairman and Managing Director, Piaggio Vehicles Private Limited (PVPL), the three-wheelers are titled “Made in India” Apes.
“In terms of functionality, it is the same as all other Calessino models, but in terms of design it has been altered keeping the Pope in mind,” says Rajesh Gupta, Head, Marketing, Piaggio Vehicles Private Limited. The Piaggio group’s Indian subsidiary is the most well-known three-wheeler manufacturer in the domestic market and claim to have satisfied over 60,000 satisfied ape customers.
While presenting the vehicle to the Pope, Mr. Chopra apprised him of the activities of the PVPL — the Indian subsidiary. The Piaggio Ape, a light transportation vehicle, is now 60 and is historically associated with Italy’s economic growth.