In addition to being the parent company of Vespa and a few other scooter brands (Aprilia, Gilera and Derbi), Piaggio also sells a line of scooters under their own name. Piaggio’s line of scooters enables them to target outside of the traditional Vespa audience, without diluting the Vespa brand. Generally speaking, Vespa’s are high end retro styled monoque bodied scooters, while Piaggio models are priced more affordably with a few less bells and whistles and have modern looks, plastic body work and tube frames.
Piaggio returned to the USA as ‘Piaggio USA’ operating under ‘Piaggio Group Americas’ (PGA) which also runs Vespa USA, Aprilia USA etc and it entirely owned by Piaggio global. Piaggio Group American’s returned to the USA just into the new millennium with their Vespa brand, but the Piaggio branded models had to wait a few more years until 2003. PGA upset a lot of existing dealers and enthusiasts when they opted not to use existing dealers and their networks, but rather go their own route with new higher end boutiques. Conversely, in Canada the situation was quite different. Vespa and Piaggio models were originally imported by a privately owned CSC (Canadian Scooter Corporation) from 2006 to 2009. In late 2009, CSC’s contract with Piaggio expired and due to some politics it was not renewed. Accordingly, PGA now runs things in Canada as well under the name Piaggio Canada.
Piaggio returned to North America selling Vespa’s in 2001, but it wasn’t until the 2003 model year that Piaggio actually began importing models under their own name to the USA market. Piaggio’s 2003 debut line up included the large wheeled BV 200 (above) and the LT 50 and LT 150 (right) scooters.
The LT scooters didn’t last long in North America with Piaggio USA dropping them after 2004. Piaggio expanded their line up considerably for 2005 by introducing the BV 500, X9 maxi-scooter, Typhoon and Fly 150 (shown below in order mentioned). The Typhoon was sold in a regular model and a special edition ‘Norman Haas’ model.
Piaggio’s only lineup change for 2005 was the addition of a 250 variant of the BV. The new BV 250 used a 244cc variant of Piaggio’s QUASAR motor, unlike the BV 200 which used an oversized 198cc LEADER motor. These motors were shared with the Vespa GT200 / GTS250 respectively.
The biggest news for 2006 was Piaggio’s return to the Canadian market. Their original line up mirrored that of Piaggio USA.
Piaggio created a splash for 2007 with the introduction of their three wheeled MP3. Originally sold as a 250cc model, the MP3 used the same motor as the BV 250 and Vespa GTS 250. The three wheeled MP3 250 is able to lean into corners despite having two wheels up front thanks to its neat parallelogram front geometry. Piaggio also added the 50cc version of their Fly scooter. For its debut year, the Fly 50 used a 2-stroke engine, but this would be the only it would get this motor.
Larger 400 and 500 versions of the MP3 were introduced for 2008 using Piaggio’s MASTER engine. The 500 version had a different look, as it was actually sold as a Gilera Fuoco overseas, while the MP43 400 looked just like the MP3 250. The BV 200 was dropped for 2008, leaving the 250 and 500 variants of the BV in Piaggio’s line.
The other change for 2008 was a switch in motors for the Fly 50. The Fly 50 originally used a peppy 2-stroke motor that was shared with Vespa’s departed ET2 50, but for 2008 Piaggio substituted in a less peppy but more fuel miserly and lower emitting 4-stroke motor. This gave them their first 4-stroke 50cc offering in North America.
Piaggio USA kept their line up unchanged for 2010, while Piaggio Canada tidied their MP3 line by offering the original body style in a 500 version and dropping the 250 and 400 versions. So now you could only buy a MP3 500, but you could opt for the MP3 Sport 500 (newer edgier look) or the MP3 Tourer 500 (original look). The MP3 line (250, 400, 500) was unchanged in the USA. Canadians also got an updated version of the BV with a 278cc motor, now called the BV 300. This scooter is the same as the BV 250 but with a larger (278cc vs. 244cc) variant of the QUASAR motor.
There were no changes to the USA Piaggio line for 2011, although the BV 300 did arrive at USA dealers in summer 2011 so some are considering this a 2011 model, while others consider it a 2012. For 2011 Piaggio Canada dropped the BV 500 and they announced a new generation of Typhoon 125 for the Canadian market in fall 2010, but this scooter never materialized in Canadian showrooms this year.
For 2012, Piaggio USA is bringing back the Typhoon with a 125cc 4-stroke engine and a sharp new look. The Typhoon was redesigned in 50cc 2-stroke and 125cc 4-stroke versions, but the USA was only offered the 125cc 4-stroke in 2012. The new Typhoon 125 is not expected to materialize in the Canadian market, despite early news saying otherwise.
First shown at the EICMA show in Milan in November 2011, Piaggio’s new BV 350 was the first 2013 model from the Italian maker when it arrived in American showrooms in spring 2012. The new BV 350 uses a brand new motor from Piaggio that makes enough power to replace both the BV 300 and BV 500 in Piaggio’s line.
Also new from Piaggio USA is a 50cc 4-stroke version of the new Typhoon. This sporty 50cc picks up where the previous generation of Typhoon 50 left off after 2008. While the new 4-stroke engine doesn’t have the fire of the older Typhoon, it does boast better fuel milage and lower emissions.
Piaggio Canada has been quiet for 2013, with the Fly and BV 300 models carrying over while the MP3 line has been silently dropped.
In May 2013, Piaggio USA announced the introduction of the second generation of their Fly scooters. The new Fly 50 and Fly 150 receive the same angular style that went on sale earlier this year in Europe. This model was first shown in fall 2011 at the Milan motorcycle show and went into production in fall 2012.
The Fly 150 boasts a new fuel injected 3-valve motor which increases both power and fuel economy. The latter is particularly welcome as the first Fly 150 was a bit thirsty at the fuel pumps. The Fly 50 carries over the same advanced 4-valve motor it received for 2008. Pricing is excellent, with MSRP’s remaining at $2199 and $2899 for the Fly 50 and Fly 150 respectively.
Piaggio USA has carried over the rest of their line unchanged for 2014 with the exception of the MP3 which was unceremoniously deleted from the Piaggio website early in 2014 once stock of the 2013 model had waned.
In Canada, Piaggio has also introduced the new Fly in 50cc and 150cc forms. The Typhoon 50 also arrived in Canada, while the always popular BV made the jump to the new BV 350 generation.
The first of Piaggio’s 2015 models – the popular BV350 – was announced Sept 10 as a returning 2015 model. This scooter seems to be a top seller for Piaggio, so 2014 inventories were likely running low.
Piaggio’s revived their MP3 line in North America with the new MP3 500 Sport model for 2016. This new MP3 is essentially the original MP3 design but with some freshening to the style (e.g. front grill and rims). The motor is the same 500cc engine used in earlier MP3 500’s from ’08-13.
The rest of Piaggio’s models carried over unchanged including color options.
Piaggio added a new “business” version of their MP3 was added for 2017, called the MP3 Business 500. This version added a few stylistic changes (brown seat, chrome exhaust tip, grey rims) to the MP3 Sport 500.
The return of the Piaggio Liberty was announced in early 2017 but these models are arriving as 2018’s. Piaggio sold the large wheeled LT50 / 150 in the USA way back in 2003 – 2004, which was always sold overseas as the Liberty, but now a new generation of this scooter arrives and bearing the Liberty name.
Both a regular and “S” or Sport version are being offered and in both 50 and 150cc sizes. The S version if basically the same machine but with less chrome and more black (e.g. rims, exhaust cover, mirrors).
The rest of Piaggio’s line rolled over unchanged, including the Fly, Typhoon, BV 350 and MP3 500 models.