BIG BOSS INTERVIEW
Interview Piaggio France: MP3 350 and 500 2018, hybrid, Gilera, Yamaha three-wheeler, etc..
Site took advantage of the launch of the new 2018 range of MP3 350 and 500 to ask a few questions to the President of Piaggio France. Jean-Charles de Saint Pastou discusses with MNC the new engines, the hybrid MP3s put on standby, the “ fire ” the Fuoco Gilera, the Yamaha Niken three-wheel motorcycle…
Site: The new MP3 350 benefits from a new engine with, in particular, an oil bath multi-plate clutch. The 500 cc also evolves, but keeps its clutch dry. Is it a question of engine generation ?
Jean-Charles de Saint-Pastou, President Piaggio France: Exactly. The 350 is a latest generation engine, which appeared on the Beverly 350 Sport Touring in 2011. The 500 is an evolution of the Master engine block that already existed.
MNC: In your opinion, it was not advisable to change the engine for the "big" MP3: a 550 cc, more modern ?
J-C SP: No, what we wanted to do above all is to multiply the equipment rate of our 350 cc engine on the range which includes several products (Beverly, MP3, X10, etc. Editor’s note). We want to capitalize on this advanced engine, with low consumption but high performance. Today, it allows us to develop the MP3, but that required a certain investment because the 350 has a design, a volume different from the 300. It was necessary to adapt it to the already existing scooter. And it’s not over.
MNC: You rightly highlight the innovative side of MP3 and its front end. But he is now 12 years old. To keep it at the cutting edge of technology, have you considered integrating other technologies: some two-wheelers have a keyless start system, large connected color screens, etc. Equipment often found in the automobile, which MP3 customers are therefore used to handling.
J-C SP: You are right, the MP3 is often compared to the automobile, by its positioning, it makes sense. The challenge for the new MP3 is clearly to offer a dynamic, safe and comfortable machine. We favored its axes because that was where the greatest expectations lay. Then, you should know that all MP3s can be equipped as an accessory with the Piaggio Multimedia Platform which allows you to interact with the smartphone and the vehicle. The Tom Tom Vio fitted as standard on the new MP3 500 Business further enhances the practical aspects. The TFT is not current on the MP3, but the Vespa Primavera or Sprint Sport 125 which we have just launched, are equipped with it. And in a completely different segment, we also find our Aprillia Shiver, Tuono, RSV4 motorcycles … We are therefore starting to offer this technology, but this is not currently planned for the MP3.
MNC: Piaggio had released two hybrid versions in 125 then 300 cc. What have they become ? They are no longer in the catalog ?
J-C SP: Indeed, these MP3s are no longer in the catalog. They may have arrived on the market a little too early in relation to demand. I spoke about it today with my Italian counterparts today. Hybrid technology is there, it is used in cars … but not in two-wheelers. This is not the time, or in any case, it was not at the release of these two models.
MNC: They could reappear, thanks to stricter traffic regulations in city centers … In the short term, or even very short term in some metropolitan areas. !
J-C SP: So I have no date on this. What I do know is that our group has a perfect command of this technology. It’s always interesting to have it in the boxes…
MNC: There is another MP3 which is no longer marketed: that of Gilera, the Fuoco 500. However, it corresponded to a segment very popular with French motorists today: the SUV.
J-C SP: Yes, it’s a booming segment in the automotive industry, but it also cannibalizes the MPV segment a lot. The overall volume of automobile sales in France, around 2 million units, remains stable. It is the distribution between the segments that evolve.
MNC: Just like MP3 LT cannibalize 125 scooters, even within the Piaggio brand. There is no question of bringing out a new more sporty or adventurous scooter at Gilera ?
J-C SP: No. One of the ideas with the new MP3s, which are really very well installed, is to distinguish the Business model from the Sport model, the latter somewhat fulfilling the role that the Gilera played a little in the past, of a more sporty vehicle. Finally, we gain in readability: the three-wheeler is Piaggio. Urban with the Yourban or more suburban with MP3s, Business more elegant and conservative on one side, Sport on the other for those who liked Fuoco. It’s now easier.
MNC: The three-wheeler is Piaggio … It’s Yamaha too! What is your opinion on the Niken, presented as a leisure motorcycle, as opposed to the practical MP3? The Piaggio group has thought of this type of machine ?
J-C SP: I have no information on this. On the other hand, every time we see a manufacturer – worthy of the name, in addition – taking an interest in three-wheelers, it only gives credibility to the daring choice of Piaggio made more than ten years ago. The principle is simple: two wheels at the front is better. But if this is true for a 125 scooter, it is also true for a scooter with a larger displacement, and it may be for a motorcycle? Three-wheeler technology has convinced a lot of people, customers … and may be starting to convince other manufacturers.
MNC: If the Niken worked commercially, Piaggio (Aprilia?) Might have something to fight back !
J-C SP: I have absolutely no information as a manager of Piaggio France. Now we know that manufacturers are constantly monitoring each other…
MNC: Certainly, but your competitors did not react – or took a long time to react – to counter the success of MP3 !
J-C SP: The competition takes time … I don’t really know: the three-wheeler is a credible solution. But it’s easy to say today! We had a culture of GT scooters, with the X9. But for us, the next step in 2006 was not an X9 "+++", but the MP3! A revolutionary product which is nevertheless part of a certain continuity, which explains why our X9 customers who were looking for an even more successful product, gladly switched to three-wheelers. I do not want to speak in place of our competitors, but their brand was perhaps not positioned as much on "commuting" (scooter-work-dodo, Editor’s note), vehicles of daily and intensive use? What I can say is that it was clearly in the DNA of the Piaggio Group. But it’s all easier to say today than to do over ten years ago !
MNC: This retreat is interesting in many ways. What do you say today to your detractors, often bikers, who consider that motorists should not be allowed to drive powerful and heavy scooters? ?
J-C SP: Today we are talking about MP3s and the Piaggio brand. But Piaggio is also a group, which owns brands like Aprilia or Moto Guzzi. We sell 50cc, RSV4 and California 1400 … even electric bikes. The group’s positioning is intermodality (motorbike + tram for example, Editor’s note). Offer a means of travel, and also pleasure, for each type of clientele: we are anything but sectarian! We are working with the public authorities on questions of pollution, safety, etc. We are also delighted with the back-up experiments. Everyone has to live together, everyone has to find their place. There are also questions of culture, education, maturity: our typical MP3 customers are between 40 and 50 years old, so they are not inexperienced handlebar freaks. These are people who need answers for their daily problem, which is not just driving fast, but also facing increasingly disrupted traffic, finding parking faster, saving time, improving safety, etc. When Piaggio improves the safety of its three-wheelers, it improves safety in general. No sectarianism !
BIG BOSS INTERVIEW Interview with Gérard Staedelin, new boss of Harley-Davidson and Buell France As he prepares to take the helm of Harley-Davidson and…
WHO’S THE BOSS Things are moving at the head of BMW Motorrad France After 20 years of good and loyal service, Jean-Michel Cavret is leaving BMW Motorrad…
WHO’S WHO Piaggio France reorganizes and strengthens Aprilia distribution with Motana Taking advantage of the arrival of a new general manager in the…
THE FIGHT OF THE CHIEFS MP3, Metropolis: the three-wheeler war will take place Piaggio’s MP3 500 LT reigns supreme in the three-wheel scooter market in…
INTERVIEW Yamaha interview: the MT-10 is our new roadster spearhead To complete our test of the MT-10, Yamaha’s new benchmark maxi-roadster, MNC spoke…
INTERVIEW CONTAINMENT Confined with … François Tarrou, Marketing and Communication Director Yamaha France What are the main players in the motorcycle…
TEST The Ferrari of scooters ? Relaxing a bit, the Italians have finally released their anti Tmax with the GP 800! Equipped with the same V-twin as the…
TEST Piaggio MP3 350, 500 HPE Sport or Business test: your choice ! Piaggio updates its MP3 range in 2018: the 500’s engine has changed slightly (HPE)…
RESTIAMO UNITI Interview Giovanni Castiglioni: the future MV Agusta F4 will be … different ! Site interviewed the big boss of MV Agusta, Giovanni…
Driving report Ducati 996 R gingerbread That’s exactly how everyone likes it: a delicious piece of cream with lots of pepper in it. Ducati 996 R, the …