Thursday, April 25, 2024
HomeNEWSleaving piaggio is a big wrench, says campbell

leaving piaggio is a big wrench, says campbell

Tony Campbell has described his decision to leave his role as head of Piaggio UK to become chief executive of the Motor Cycle Industry Association (read more here) as “a massive wrench”.

“It was a big decision. It took a long time to get to the point where I made the decision that it was time for a change. You always try to leave a job on a high and I would say, relatively speaking, Piaggio UK is in a much better place now than it had been.”

Of his 13 years with Piaggio, Campbell said that, from the outside, his tenure “might not look so much like good news”. “That’s not how Piaggio or how I see it. We saw so much change in the way Piaggio positions itself in the market. In the mid-nineties Piaggio didn’t really have much in the way of competition. It was very easy to make growth, scooters primarily, and easy to keep the network satisfied. Dealers were fighting for the franchise. It’s very easy when you are dominating a market.

“Unfortunately, when I joined, the market had started to go into a sharp decline. Competition was increasing. Japanese manufacturers brought in scooters. There was an influx of Chinese product with which we were never going to compete on price.

“Things started to get a bit tougher, and at that point the company realised that we had to do something different, i.e., start to make the brand stand out in the showroom. We had to re-position the brand.”

Campbell said companies such as Fowlers of Bristol could afford to invest in showroom CI and to take its business through the change but it was not so easy for the “one-man band”.

“We had to institute change. It was necessary but it wasn’t popular,” said Campbell, who likened it to Honda’s decision to make dealers go solus.

The decision to try to extricate the Mandello del Lario brand and Aprilia from “the stack ’em high, sell ’em cheap” discounters and moving them into existing scooter franchises was also “a massive change which unfortunately wasn’t always popular”.

Campbell indicated he was proud that he had managed to improve the parts back-up. “As a company we weren’t comparable to some of our main competitors in terms of servicing. Parts delivery lead times needed to be addressed, and in my opinion we have now addressed them, both in Italy and locally. It takes time for people to realise, to see the improvement, but you don’t hear people say there is a problem with Piaggio parts anymore.”

Of his new role as industry chief, which he assumes in September, one month after he finishes with the Italian manufacturer, he said: “It’s a big challenge and one that I am really looking forward to.”




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