Usually when we mention Piaggio on these pages, it has to do with their popular line of scooters. This time, though, we are focusing on their three and four-wheeled line of utility vehicles. The popular Ape model and the rest of the three-wheeled variants that Piaggio offers in India are getting an optional CNG engine. Calling it a "benchmark in eco-friendly transportation", Ravi Chopra, chairman and managing director of Piaggio Vehicles Pvt. Ltd, said, "In cargo industry we have a significant market share of 44 percent as we are the pioneers of the three-wheeler category in the world. The launch of CNG version of the ape will help us to fulfill our commitment to provide eco-friendly, efficient and powerful three-wheelers in the country."
Additionally, Chopra said, "One has to grow the platform (of four-wheelers). In the next two years we should be able to introduce variants of the sub-one-tonne truck ... The vision is to create another platform beyond the sub-one-tonne but less than two tonnes by 2010." It sounds like Piaggio has goals of becoming a major player in the light-utility market so popular in India.
Lastly, Piaggio is planning to start making their own diesel engines for use in their three and four-wheelers. "We are creating the facility with a capacity of 200,000 engines. The progress is on schedule," says Chopra. That should make for an interesting mix of choices, with gasoline, CNG and diesel engines being available in three and four-wheeled passenger and utility models. Too bad we don't get any of 'em here. Well, except for these, but only in gas versions.
[Source: Piaggio, various]