Piaggio Prepares Low-Polluting Car for Asia and Europe

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(Reuters) – Italy‘s Piaggio is preparing to launch a small city three-person, four-wheel car, including a hybrid-powered version, for use in Asian and European cities to overcome traffic congestion, its Chairman Roberto Colaninno said on Tuesday.

Best known for its Vespa scooters, Piaggio plans to launch the low-consumption, low-polluting vehicle on the market in the next three years but has so far made no decisions on where to produce the vehicle, nor where it will start selling, nor the price, Colaninno said at the presentation of prototypes at a motorbike show.

“We have not thought of the Nano for India even less the Smart,” Colaninno said, asked about possible competitors produced respectively by India’s Tata Motors and Germany‘s Daimler AG.

The prototypes shown on Piaggio’s stand at the show resemble both these two other small vehicles, though the unnamed Piaggio vehicle has two seats behind and a single driver’s seat upfront.

The vehicles handle and perform well on the road, a Piaggio executive said.

The car responds to the needs of the Indian market, where Piaggio’s Ape three-wheeler is widely sold, but could be produced first in India or Vietnam where Piaggio produces Vespa models, Colaninno said.

Power will come from 200 cc or 300 cc motors, and a hybrid with the 300 cc motor plus electric alternative, with the 200 cc offering speeds of up to 60 km/h, sufficient for the Indian market, commercial executive Maurizio Marcacci said.

“The idea of the project was developed in India to deal with traffic in big cities. It is for big cities in Asia and Europe. I have very high numbers in mind in India,” Colaninno said, adding the project has been developed 100 percent by Piaggio.

Writing by Nigel Tutt; editing by Jon Loades-Carter. Article appearing courtesy Reuters.

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