Paolo Timoni Out at Piaggio Group Americas

03/10/2011 @ 8:10 am, by Jensen Beeler3 COMMENTS

It’s been bad year so far for motorcycle industry CEO’s in the United States, as we hear the Piaggio Group is having a shake-up of their own. After six years with the Italian company, Paolo Timoni is stepping down from his position as President & CEO of the Piaggio Groups Americas office, and will be replaced by Miguel Martinez. Martinez is the former General Manager of Piaggio Spain, and will report directly to Stefano Sterpone, Executive Vice President EMEA & Americas 2-Wheeler Sales & Marketing.

Piaggio isn’t going into a tremendous amount of detail over the changing of the guards, and was terse in its explanation for Timoni’s replacement. The company was also brief on its reasoning for tapping Martinez for his new role, stating only that the Spaniard has worked for the company for three years and “in that short period Mr. Martinez increased Piaggio Group’s market share in Spain by two points.”

Before joining Piaggio Spain, Martinez spent three years as the general manager of Ferrari and Maserati SpA for Spain and Portugal. He also held similar positions in Piaggio as General Manager of export markets for Derbi worldwide and Piaggio Latin America, meaning in his short time at the Italian company he’s seen his fair share of assignments (always a good sign).

“The opportunity to lead Piaggio Group Americas in its next phase is extremely exciting for me and a challenge I welcome as the opportunity for growth in this market is great,” said Martinez. “The Piaggio Group portfolio of Italian products represents the highest quality, most innovative and stylish motorcycle and motor scooters available on the market today. I look forward to working with our experienced dealer body and continuing to grow sales and market share in North America.”

As is often the case in these press releases, what’s being said is often less important than what isn’t being said, and we imagine Piaggio’s struggle in the American markets is part of the reason for Timoni’s departure. This announcement came only a day after the Piaggio Group released its yearly sales figures, which were down from 2009, although it did not break out performance by region. Draw your conclusions as you see fit.

Source: Piaggio Group

  • Ranger Jay

    Take a look at how Ducati is doing in the Americas, and compare that to how the Aprilia brand is doing, and it’s easy to see that Piaggio needs to do something to compete. The dealer network in the USA always seems to be lacking, and tales of parts shortages and delays do not help at all.

    I am looking now at getting a new middleweight sport bike, and was very interested in the Shiver. After a bit of research, I am now leaning toward a Ducati Monster instead.

    I don’t know that much about the scooter situation, only that if you can’t sell a buttload of scooters with the name Vespa on them, you obviously have problems.

  • RSVDan

    This is not really a bad thing. Yes, he helped Piaggio grow in the U.S. during his time here, but only by focusing on Vespa. It seems as though he almost treated Aprilia and Moto Guzzi like redheaded step children. Hopefully Martinez will change that, as both lines deserve much, much better and have really exciting motorcycles in their line that deserve much more attention. I think there are enough Vespa boutiques around.

    To respond to Ranger Jay: Aprilia’s dealer network may not be the best as they went through a phase of giving anyone who wanted one a dealership, but there is still huge support from the fantastic dealers such as AF1 Racing, Scuderia West and others. The old horror stories of parts supply are left-overs from the pre-Piaggio days. Aprilia has had a 98% percent fill rate on parts ever since the take over, which is superior to just about anyone out there.

  • Butch

    Paolo out is a good thing for Aprilia and Moto Guzzi. They have great products, but their marketing support has simply been poor.

    RSVDan is correct…Ranger, you should give Aprilia another look. I have owned 8 Aprilias over the last several years and all have been great bikes from all perspectives including reliability. Unfortunately, my closest dealer closed, but New Haven Powersports, along with the other dealers noted by RSVDan is a very knowledgeable dealer with great service, parts and sales.