Piaggio bets on alternative fuel tech

August 04, 2018 12:00 am | Updated 05:21 am IST - Pune

Italian firm developing CNG, LPG and battery-powered vehicles to help meet 5 million sales target

All fuels:Piaggio India is also looking at a range of petrol-fuelled vehicles to help meet its 2020 target.Ramesh Sharma

All fuels:Piaggio India is also looking at a range of petrol-fuelled vehicles to help meet its 2020 target.Ramesh Sharma

Piaggio Vehicles Pvt. Ltd. (PVPL), a unit of Italy’s Piaggio Group, is focussed on developing vehicles powered by alternative fuels such as CNG, LPG and electrically charged batteries to achieve its target of selling 5 million vehicles in India in the coming years, its CEO said.

“We are providing emphasis on alternative fuel technology and by 2020 we will have a whole new range of products,” said Diego Graffi, MD and CEO, Piaggio Vehicles. “We are investing in product development and will invest several hundred crores” in the coming years.

He said the new range of vehicles would help the company maintain its market leadership position and achieve its next milestone of five million small commercial vehicles. The company, which began its India operations in 1998 and has faced several ups and downs, earlier this week rolled out its 2.5 millionth small commercial vehicle from its manufacturing facility in Baramati in Maharashtra.

The company manufactures the Ape range of three wheelers and the Porter range of four wheelers which are mostly run on diesel. In addition to vehicles powered by eco-friendly fuels, the firm is looking at a range of petrol-fuelled vehicles to help meet its sales target. “We created... and controlled the market in the last mile connectivity segment,” Ravi Chopra, Chairman, Piaggio Vehicles said.

“The roll-out of the 2.5 millionth vehicle is a testimony of the trust shown by customers in the reliability of Piaggio’s products.”

‘India to pitch in more’

“I see many new opportunities for us in the coming future as the Indian market is set to gain a more prominent role in Piaggio’s global business,” Mr. Chopra said.

In the diesel-run, small commercial vehicles segment, Piaggio has a market share of 43% and the Indian operations, including the scooters business, account for 30% of the global revenue. This ratio is set to grow as the company has chalked out plans to roll out new vehicles and enhance its exports to new markets in Africa and southeast Asia.

New Ape roll-out

On Thursday, the company rolled out four new Ape range of CNG and LPG vehicles. The Ape Xtra LDX and Ape Auto DX are part of the new range vehicles using water-cooled engine technology. These vehicles are intended for intra-city travel in India.

The company also announced an extended warranty programme for its new customers and an accident insurance policy for small commercial vehicle drivers.

(The writer was in Pune at the invitation of the Piaggio)

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