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Rumor: Fiat Chrysler Scooters?

by Bill Cawthon on

Vespa-Primavera-Web

The latest scenario from the fevered minds of the financial community is a tie-up between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. and Piaggio & Company S.p.A., the Pontedera, Italy-based company that makes Vespa (“Wasp”) scooters, Moto Guzzi motorcycles and the three-wheel Apé (pronounced “ah-pay,” it’s Italian for “bee”) commercial vehicles.

Dealreporter, an online financial and corporate market newsletter, cited insiders and bankers as the sources for this latest rumor, which has been reported in both Il Sole 24 Ore and Corriere della Sera.

Piaggio-Ape-Vespa-Web

While FCA dismisses the idea, saying the company already has enough on its plate, the investment community notes that the German automakers have been moving towards adding two-wheelers to their four-wheelers. BMW has its successful line of motorcycles, Volkswagen AG’s Audi subsidiary just acquired Ducati and Daimler AG reportedly is taking a strong look at recently-relaunched MV Agusta.

Piaggio also could help FCA gain share in emerging markets such as India, where manufacturers sell a combined 350,000 two-wheelers each month.

There is some precedent for the idea: the Agnelli family, which owns a large chunk of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, owned a controlling interest in Piaggio from 1959 to 1999.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for just-auto.com, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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