Published on October 23rd, 2018 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Piaggio Ape, do you remember this workhorse?
In 1947, the first Piaggio Ape prototype was introduced and it was an immediate hit. At the market launch, this motorised tricycle was cheaper than anything comparable and yet with an asking price of just 170,000 lira (about 88 euros, not adjusted for inflation). At the time, the average annual income in Italy was about 139,000 lira (converted just over 70 euros). The key to market success was the instalment financing offered by the manufacturer. This is how craftspeople, farmers and small business owners became customers and stayed loyal to its reliability.
Some of them were four-wheeled options like the Fiat Cinquecento just too small for cargo. Or too large for the narrow streets of the villages due to the external dimensions. The success of the Ape continued in less hard times. Today, it is considered the best selling tricycle ever. Over the past 70 years, Piaggio has sold more than two million units……and this is just in Europe alone.
Piaggio approved licensed constructions from Germany in 1999 at the Roller factory and for India in Baramati and today the Ape is the most popular motorised tricycle in Asia. More than 150,000 micro-vans are delivered annually, and sometimes even original designs make it to Europe.