We sat down with Marco Noto La Diega, President Director of PT Piaggio Indonesia, to discuss the company’s growing business. Entering the seventh year as a representative to the Italian automotive company, PT Piaggio Indonesia is rooted firmly in the Indonesian market with four distinctive, historic Italian brands under its belt: Piaggio, Vespa, Aprilia and Moto Guzzi. His success with the company also enrich him with insights that’s highly valuable for the Italian Business Association in Indonesia (IBAI), where he sits as the Chairman of the organisation.
Our last two conversations captured your company’s optimism and confidence. In its seventh year, how is everything going for Piaggio Indonesia?
I am pleased to tell you that we are getting stronger with growing number of customers, dealership network, and enriched product offerings. It is a result of our premiumisation roadmap strategy built on four strategic pillars: products, network, spare parts, and accessories. We integrate and synergise those main pillars with the power of our strong community, ultimately resulting in an ecosystem that drives our company forward.
We continue to serve our customers for premium expectations through the optimisation of those pillars. We constantly assess and update our product lineup. For example, our backbone Vespa models, the Vespa Sprint and Primavera, are now equipped with ABS. Regarding network, we continue to expand our reach to new areas for better coverage. Up until April 2018, we have opened three new dealerships, with more to come until the end of the year. As for after-sales, we have extended our warranty offering to three years. Lastly, for accessories, we have recently completed our safety riding gear with a new stylish design of genuine Vespa helmets.
We communicate with our customers and community throughout various touch-points: interactive exhibitions, gathering and riding events arranged by us directly or inscribed within national events we support (e.g., Indonesia Vespa day), and inevitably through digital channels.
In the digital arena, we are reconsidering our social media presence, in order to develop a two-way communication, where we listen to our communities and let them express their passions and contributions we value. Our aim is to pay tribute to our customers and recognise their community culture, which is firmly set in Indonesia around positive and supportive values on the road, always adhering to safety protocols we encourage.
In this regard, we have recently kicked off a digital content competition called “Safety in Style”, to encourage our Vespa users to show us their ways to be safe and stylish with their Vespa and riding gear. This campaign is a platform to acknowledge our customers and inspire other riders positively, while further corroborating the Vespa culture we are proud of.
With four brands under your management, how do you ensure that each brand excels in the market?
Each of our brands offers a unique journey experience to our customer. Piaggio as modern mobility urban solution; Vespa as iconic lifestyle scooter; Aprilia as pure adrenaline racing DNA; and Moto Guzzi as authentic Italian touring bike.
All of these brands have in common strong heritage origins -- Vespa birth was in 1946 while Moto Guzzi in 1921 – are all embedded with strong Italian DNA, and are all known as iconic and legendary brands with modern technology reinterpretation.
Therefore, uniqueness yet commonness: this makes it feasible for us to manage the brands simultaneously, and offer to our customers distinctive mobility solutions all made available under one single-stop destination, our Motoplex outlets, the exclusive retail concept as “The Home of the Piaggio Group Brands”, to provide a premium experience for our customer in Indonesia.
Did the strategic approach translate into sales numbers? What’s next for PT Piaggio Indonesia?
Last year, we enjoyed positive growth, in contrast to a stagnant overall motorcycle market in Indonesia. This result showcases customers’ confidence in our brands and confirms our Premiumisation Roadmap Strategy. Our first quarter of 2018 further reassures us with a solid double-digit growth, outperforming the market trend. With that confidence, our strategy remains committed to constantly reinforce our premium experience, establishing a spotless reputation for our company.
For our next steps, we are committed to bringing more product lineups, with exciting product variations and exclusive limited editions. We are also evaluating how to bring our latest cutting-edge model lineup of future mobility solution that Piaggio Group can offer. This is valid across all our brands, for our Vespa & Piaggio scooters, and for our Aprilia & Moto Guzzi motorbikes.
As our product range expands, so does our national distribution network. We are working on a long-term plan for enhanced penetration of existing areas for better service coverage, as well as opening new upcoming potential developments not addressed yet, always within our exclusive Motoplex retail identity outlets for premium experience.
Our plans are solid and our commitment is strong, along with our firm belief in this country. I have been in Asia for the last two decades, but my last five years in Indonesia are telling me than Indonesia is the market to be in, with a lot to come, more than other APAC countries. I believe in this country, and I am confident that with the strong foundations and strategy now in place we will further move ahead in Indonesia, making it to become the number one market in Asia Pacific for Piaggio Group.
In capacity of President Director of PT Piaggio Indonesia and Chairman of IBAI . Are you also optimistic about the future in Indonesia and of the Italian Business in general?
Yes, despite some recurring hick-ups and the recent pressure on the Rupiah, I am overall optimistic, as I believe in Indonesia bright future with vast opportunities to seize.
Indonesia’s strategic role, in itself and within the enlarged ASEAN zone, is widely recognised. The young and digital oriented population size, the G-20 economy with positive GDP per capita trend, the progress in infrastructure developments, the emerging middle-class affluent consumer base are just some of the appealing traits which make Indonesia an essential market to consider for any incumbent business willing to expand in Asia.
Indonesia is an unavoidable opportunity: this is valid for Piaggio, and for many other Italian companies ready and capable to provide skills and technology on various fields relevant to Indonesia, such as energy, urban planning, logistics, mechanics, maritime and defense, besides the traditional known role in retail, food, and fashion. With about three billions USD bilateral trades and still limited FDI, ties between Italy and Indonesia can further grow, as the recent mutual visits of the Foreign Affairs Ministers of the two countries are signaling. Not to mention that in 2019 Indonesia and Italy will celebrate the 70th anniversary of their diplomatic relations, with a focus on the creative economy and SMEs.
Some pragmatism is, however, required: while the opportunities are vast, equally considerable are the challenges, the complexity, and the effort required. Indonesia takes energy, time, patience and resilience – this is my personal and corporate experience I wish to share. In such context, I want IBAI to act as facilitator for the task, providing some helpful guidelines and support, advice and experience, in the right constructive angle for Indonesia progress and always with respect and love for this beautiful country I am — personally and as IBAI Chair— loyally devoted and committed to.