Piaggio plans to diversify in to light commercial vehicles market

New Delhi: Piaggio Pvt Ltd is changing gears to diversify its offerings in the light commercial vehicles (LCV) category. The company had recently launched its pickup truck ''Ape'' in South India.

According to Ravi Chopra, chairman and managing director, Piaggio India, the company is working on the introduction of additional variants in the sub one-tonne, one-tonne and below two-tonnes category by 2010.

Chopra said the macro-economic conditions along with rural marketing initiatives of FMCG companies were conducive for the growth of the LCV segment in India, in which the company plans to be a full range player.

Piaggio''s expects a larger regional presence for its recent offering, the sub one-tonne truck ''Ape'', by March 2008, and estimates this segment to grow at about 20 per cent.

According to Chopra, the company is focusing on retaining its 44 per cent market share in the three-wheeler cargo segment, and has found increased prospects in the export market with the launch of its CNG cargo three-wheeler.

Piaggio is mulling an investment of €60 million for a manufacturing facility for diesel engines, that will have a capacity of two lakh units, and is likely to be operational by end 2009. this facility would service the domestic market, and cater to the demand from the Italy-based parent company.

According to Chopra, the company does not have plans of diversifying into two or four wheeler passenger vehicle segment.

PVPL has announced that it will begin production at a diesel engine plant being built in Maharashtra by the end of 2009, in a bid to emerge as a full range four-wheeler light commercial vehicle maker in a market dominated by local players like Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindram (See: Piaggio''s new plant in Maharashtra to roll out engines by end-2009)