AWS Aprilia World Service Moto Guzzi
Honorary Brit Massimo Granata is appointed UK General Manager of AWS (Aprilia World Service), which includes brands Aprilia and Moto Guzzi, following the move of Giuseppe Tranchina to Aprilia European Sales Director.
Massimo first joined Aprilia as Business Development Manager to 40 dealers in Italy in 1997. In January 2001 he moved to the UK, taking up a position in Scotland that saw him organise and improve Aprilia’s after-sales support and strategies. By the end of 2002 Massimo moved once again, this time to Manchester to be responsible for field marketing and operations.
Recently, Massimo turned down the opportunity to return to Italy to cover a new role inside the company. “I have grown to love the UK and want to continue my career with the Group here,” says Massimo. So his good taste (or not, if you consider the cuisine!) was rewarded by being offered the senior role of UK general manager of AWS, an opportunity he jumped at. “It’s a very exciting challenge,” says Massimo.
On 30 December 2004 Aprilia became part of the prestigious Piaggio Group, Europe’s biggest manufacturer of two-wheeled vehicles and one of the world’s top players on the motorcycle scene. Management control of the group is held by Immsi S.p.A., an industrial and property services holding listed on the Milan Stock Exchange and controlled by Italian entrepreneur Roberto Colaninno.
The Piaggio Group has big plans for Aprilia and Moto Guzzi and has invested a lot of money in the brands. It will be launching more new models by the end of 2006 and increasing the brands’ market share. “So far the first quarter results are very encouraging with a sell out increase of about 54% over the same period last year for Moto Guzzi and with definite signs of recovery from Aprilia,” says Massimo.
In the past six months, Aprilia launched five new models, the RSV1000, Tuono MY06, RS125, and Pegaso 650 Strada and Enduro. It is also delivering the long awaited off-road machines, the SVX and MVX, and it has plans for three more new models, the small RS50 and the SX/RX50 for the small geared market.
“The Tuono is a sell-out and it’s taking on its biggest competitors in the naked sector, including Triumph and KTM. The RS125 is also doing well and the RSV1000 is getting great press reviews, which confirm its prominent position in the 1000cc supersport market,” says Massimo.
In addition, Aprilia has announced it will launch 18 new bikes between now and 2008, including the 1000cc sports bike that will take on the WSB championship. It is now also competing in the world supermoto championship in both S1 and S2 classes, with Sam Warren and Christian Iddon riding works machines supported by Aprilia’s UK branch.
“Our 2006 targets for Aprilia are very ambitious, yet we are very confident that we will meet them with the right marketing support. We forecast a growth of around 20% over last year with the target to start increasing our dealer network number up to 115/120 dealers,” says Massimo.
2006 has got off to a good start with a comprehensive marketing plan and dealer development strategy. Aprilia opened a number of new dealers under the direction of the National Sales Manager David Wilson. Dealers will have support for the small 50cc scooters in the form of subsidised insurance and 0% finance deals for any scooter of 125 and over. Currently, all Aprilia motorcycles of 650cc and over also enjoy 0% finance.
Aprilia’s b2b website is now in its second year, and it provides full marketing support for dealers who wish to produce their own direct mailings or local advertising. Aprilia will also increase its media spend for advertising and PR for 2006.
Massimo is supported by a small but strong team at AWS. This is growing with the recruitment in the near future of a new field marketing manager, one new sales office executive and an off-road project manager.
Regarding Moto Guzzi, Massimo says: “My plans for Moto Guzzi will see us establish a UK-wide dealer network. We used to have a core of 17-18 Moto Guzzi dealers in the UK, and in the first quarter of 2006 we managed to open nine new dealers. I will be looking to grow this to a maximum of 35/38 by 2007. We believe that Moto Guzzi is a very profitable brand for the dealers, and we want to keep it that way by giving every dealer a wide business territory.”
Sales will be boosted with initiatives such as a 0% finance deal, which is currently in place for all the models in the range. Later in the summer watch out for a special offer to new owners of one particular model who will get a free, all expenses paid trip to the famous Mandello del Lario factory and museum on Lake Como.
Massimo will be supported in his endeavours by his Network Development Manager, Colin Pattison, who has been working with the marque since 2003 and by Promark, the Gatwick based public relations agency, which has been involved in the motorcycle industry since 1992. The team will increase with a sales representative for the northern region.
Certainly the future looks bright for Moto Guzzi, with new models such as the Griso 1100 and Breva V1100 already on sale. The actor and around the world adventurer Ewan McGregor bought the first Griso to arrive at his local dealership, not bad for this re-emerging marque! The Griso will be followed by the California Vintage and the Norge 1200. At the end of March, Moto Guzzi invited eight UK journalists to its Mandello del Lario factory to test its new model range including the California, while the Norge launch is scheduled for the end of April.
“The new models coming on board will make Moto Guzzi a force to be reckoned with in the UK, placing it on a par with Aprilia,” says Massimo. “And more new models and engines are being forecast for the end of 2006 and 2007 – I cannot be more specific now but I would suggest watching this space very closely in the future.”
Considering AWS is now part of the great Piaggio Group, Massimo adds that the new cross brand cooperation is starting to provide good results already. “The technical and spare parts support services are now cross brands and they will soon be unified in the brand new offices on the edge of the M25. The technical department will have a full training centre with all the state of the art equipment to provide training to all the dealers of the group.”
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