The Piaggio Group, which owns Piaggio, Vespa, Gilera, Aprilia, Derbi and Moto Guzzi, has just been given the green light on a seven year, €150 million loan from the European Investment Bank (). The money is ear-marked to be used for R&D, with a focus on hybrid and electric vehicles. Read more about the loan after the jump.
According to Michele Pallottini, the Chief Operations Office of Finance at the Piaggio Group, the funding will allow Piaggio to expand its R&D activities and start working towards the development of safer, more fuel efficient, and environmentally friendly motorcycles.
The European Investment Bank (Banque Européenne d’Investissement) is the European Union’s long-term lending institution established in 1958 under the Treaty of Rome. A policy-driven bank, the EIB supports the EU’s priority objectives, especially European integration and the development of economically weak regions. Recently, the Bank has also been actively supporting European R&D projects as part of EU’s objective of building the world’s leading knowledge-based economy.
The EIB has a new commitment to supporting the European automotive industry and helping it move towards the development of cleaner and greener vehicles that offer ‘sustainable mobility’ in the years to come. The freeing up of this money clearly shows that the EIB has seen the writing on the wall from what is going on in the American automotive industry. Funding these key initiatives helps push manufacturers in the direction of business practices that are more sound and sustainable over a longer term.
The Piaggio Group’s sales were down 5.5% in the first nine months of this year, with the company selling 537,900 units in the January-September 2008 period, compared to 569,300 units sold during the same period in 2007.
Source: Faster and Faster