Baramati: Piaggio, the largest European scooter-maker, said it will invest 20 million euros in its India unit and is looking at launching three and four-wheelers in light commercial vehicles (LCVs) space, along with more models of scooters and motorcycles here.
Piaggio Vehicles, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Italian Piaggio Group, inaugurated its latest facility to roll out the world famous Vespa scooters here today.
"The investment at Baramati is part of our strategic plan, which sees this market as a significant destination in our growth trajectory. We have planned investment of 50 million euros of which we have already invested 30 million euros in the Baramati plant.
"We will invest another 20 million euros in this plant to double the capacity to 3,00,000 units by mid-2013," Piaggio Group Chairman and Chief Executive Roberto Colaninno told reporters after inaugurating the facility.
The Italian parent has transferred the latest generation products and manufacturing technologies to the Indian plant.
In 1999, Piaggio had set up a major facility to produce 3 and 4-wheeled commercial vehicles and since then has been expanding its capacity from 20 vehicles a day to the current capacity of 1,000 vehicles a day.
Subsequently, Piaggio set up a facility to manufacture technologically advanced, fuel-efficient and eco-friendly combustion engines.
"Going forward we are looking at increasing our product range in scooters and motorcycles to meet the growing demand for two-wheelers here. We are also evaluating the possibilities to launch 3-4 wheeled LCVs and the products will be customised for this market," Colaninno said.
The domestic unit will also manufacture 1,000-cc plus engines for Indian as well as European markets, he added.
As part of testing this market, Piaggio has already started importing its super bikes from Italy and sold 25 vehicles in the country so far, Piaggio Vehicles India Chairman and Managing Director Ravi Chopra said.
The plant here will have an initial annual capacity of 1,50,000 Vespa scooters and the peak monthly capacity will be reached in the Q4 of 2013, Chopra said.
Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises Minister Praful Patel who was present on the occasion said the country has become a leading automobile producer in the world having 23 per cent of manufacturing GDP from automobile industry now.
"Going forward, we will produce 1.3 crore 4-wheelers and 3 crore two-wheelers annually by 2020. Today we manufacture 33 lakh 4-wheelers and 1.6 crore two-wheelers annually," he said.
Earlier, while inaugurating the facility, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar urged Piaggio management to hire people from Baramati at its plant. The company directly employs over 3,000 and a larger number indirectly, to support its operations.