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Exclusive: Piaggio boss chats to MCN

By Tom Rayner -

New bikes

 01 December 2006 14:13

MCN: Has the congestion charge increased scooter and bike sales in London?

    TC: When Ken Livingstone increased the Congestion Charge to £8 we saw sales increase.

   However, the picture is slightly confused because it happened at a similar time to the London bombings on July 7 which also increased bike and scooter sales.

   A £10 Congestion Charge would be good news for us. People won’t be forced onto our substandard public transport system so powered two wheelers are still the best alternative.

    MCN: The third European Driving Licence Directive is going to make it harder for young people to get on two-wheels – how can Piaggio encourage the bikers of tomorrow to ride?

    TC: It’s harder in the UK, in Europe people have been riding since they were 14-years-old.  Send us your pictures, videos and articles to appear on motorcyclenews.com. Email them to mcn.online@emap.com    People have a real thing about two-wheels that they can’t get over. This is the reason Piaggio launched the MP3 (Piaggio’s three-wheeled scooter).

   I got a chance to test ride the prototype on an Italian race track and it was incredible. I was braking at full lean with my knee down and it was completely stable.

   Over diesel spills and wet man-hole covers it’s so as safe as a car but you can cut through the London traffic like on a scooter.

    MCN: Do you believe the Government has a secret agenda against motorcycles?

    TC: I certainly don’t believe in conspiracy theories – the motorcycle industry employs too many people for the Government to want to end it.

   However, I don’t like the DfT’s new Think Bike TV campaign. I can imagine parents who see that would say: “Right, no scooter young lad!”    A German colleague of mine saw that advert and thought it was an Internet joke – he still doesn’t believe me that the UK government had produced it.