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Piaggio unveils mini-car for Asian and European market
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Written by Shankar   
Friday, 05 November 2010

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Idea of the project was developed in India to deal with traffic in big cities.

Piaggio and C.S.p.A of Italy, a manufacturer of 2- wheelers and 3 and 4-wheeled light transportation vehicles, unveiled the prototype of a small three-person, four-wheel car - the NT3 - at the Milan bike show. The car has been launched for use in Asian and European cities to overcome traffic congestion, according to its Chairman Roberto Colaninno.

Clearly indicating Piaggio's intention to launch the mini car in India, Ravi Chopra, Chairman and Managing Director of Piaggio India (Piaggio Vehicles Private Limited or PVPL), said that the car will be the future Ape for India.

Chopra said that the company will be working on cost-effective manufacturing technologies during the next phase to make the car competitive and the third phase will involve sharp retail and brand strategies.

The PVPL facility, located in Baramati, near Mumbai, Maharashtra, covers a total surface area of more than 120,000 square meters(including a covered area of 23,000 square meters). It has an installed annual production capacity of over 200,000 three-wheelers and 100,000 four-wheelers. It is also moving towards self reliance with the completion of its advanced engines plant on the same campus. Piaggio has a 2100-strong work-force comprising experienced engineers, R&D specialists, plant workers, sales, service and marketing professionals.

Piaggio has received an affirmation from the World Bank arm IFC for a Euro 45mn loan to help it to expand production of its eco-friendly scooters, motorcycles and LCVs in Vietnam and India.

The Piaggio group also has a 30 million euro plan to launch Vespa in India. The Vespa LX 125 model specially developed for the Indian market will be launched by the end of 2012. On 12 October 2010, PVPL unveiled apé mini, a state-of-the-art half tonne cargo 4-wheeler priced at Rs. 1,73,600/- lakhs across India (ex-showroom price).

The low-consumption, low-polluting vehicle, which will be on the roads in about three years,has two seats behind and a single driver's seat upfront.The car will be powered by a 200 or 300cc engine with the 200 cc offering speeds of up to 60 km/h which, according to commercial executive Maurizio Marcacci, would be sufficient for the Indian market.A hybrid with the 300 cc motor plus electric alternative will also be made available in the market.

The NT3 is conceived around a space frame structure with crash box in order to guarantee maximum protection of the occupants. It's milage is expected to be  more than 30 km with one litre of fuel. The reduced weight allows consumption and emissions to be contained. NT3 can be available with high efficiency and low emissions power drives, including hybrid Piaggio HyS technology.NT3 is a vehicle conceived to allow various transport solutions, such to configure a complete and diversified range of products.

Vehicle architecture: The use of a spaceframe with crashbox, conceived in high resistance steel, guarantees the safety of the occupants. Further advantages of this projectual choice are the high rigidity, sturdiness in the most severe uses, and keeping the vehicle weight low. On the NT3 concept the integration between powertrain and rear suspension allows the operational space of the mechanics to be contained and the vehicle's centre of gravity to be lowered, which translates into excellent stability. The separation of the spaceframe from the powertrain – realised with a double suspension level

Although Colaninno said that no decisions on where to produce the vehicle, where it will start selling or the price have so far been made, he added that the idea of the project was developed in India to deal with traffic in big cities and that he had very high numbers in mind in India. The car could be first produced either in India or in Vietnam.

Piaggio India (PVPL), a 100% subsidiary of Piaggio & C. s.p.a., Italy, started its operations in 1999 with the launch of the brand Ape in the 3-wheeler cargo segment in India. By 2009 PVPL established its position as an undisputed leader in the 3 wheeler domestic market with an aggregate market share of 41% in the 3 wheeler industry and 56% in the 3 wheeler cargo segment.Piaggio India has also entered the sub-1-tonne 4 wheeler cargo segment with the launch of apétruk and apétruk plus.

Last Updated ( Friday, 05 November 2010 )
 
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