Vespa's success is a phenomenon never to be repeated. By the end of 1949, 35,000 units had been produced - Italy was getting over its war wounds and getting about on Vespas. In the first ten years, one million units were produced.
By the mid-fifties, Vespa was being manufactured in Germany, Great Britain, France, Belgium, Spain and, of course, Italy. And only a few years later, production was started in India and Indonesia as well.
Enrico Piaggio, the son of Piaggio's founder Rinaldo Piaggio, decided to leave the aeronautical field in order to address Italy's urgent need for a modern and affordable mode of transportation. The idea was to design a vehicle for the masses that could get post war Italy moving again. From Enrico Piaggio's vision sprung the Vespa in the spring of 1946.
Vespa has always moved with the times, and despite the years has retained the essence of its character to this day, remaining true to itself. Vespa continues to be an expression of both social evolution and new trends, translating them into terms of mobility.
Vespa is not just a scooter. It Italy's , and with more than 16 million units produced, is well known throughout the world. Vespa is not, however, just a commercial phenomenon but has had a significant social impact as well. During the 'Dolce Vita' years, 'Vespa' became synonymous with 'scooter'; foreign newspaper correspondents described Italy as 'Vespa country', and the important role the Vespa played in Italian society was demonstrated by its appearance in dozens of films.
One is struck by Vespa's ability to live on from one generation to the next, subtly modifying its image each time. The first Vespa offered mobility to everyone. Then, it became the two-wheeler for the time of economic boom. During the sixties and seventies, the vehicle became a symbol for the revolutionary ideas of the time. Advertising campaigns like 'He Who Vespas, eats the apple', and films such as Quadraphenia have symbolised eras in our history.
And the story continues today with the new generation of Vespa ET, Vespa PX and the brand new Vespa Granturismo: the first time since Piaggio ceased producing the "Primavera" that there are three distinct Vespa ranges.
For more than 50 years, Vespa has fascinated millions of people and given the world an irreplaceable icon of Italian style and a means of personal transport that has become synonymous with freedom.