Once primed to be the future of travel, the Segway Personal Transporter (PT) will launch next month.
The company said this week that production will end on July 15. He attributed the decision to “excessive saturation” in the market and falling sales. The vehicle accounted for less than 1.5% of the company’s revenue last year, according to the statement.
“This decision was not made lightly,” Judy Cai, president of Segway, said in the statement.
Although the coronavirus pandemic affected sales and production, that was not the reason for the decision to stop production. The company is also discontinuing the Segway SE-3 Patroller and Segway Robotics Mobility Platform (RMP) on the same date.
“In its first decade, the Segway PT became a staple in safety and law enforcement, viewed as an effective and efficient personal vehicle,” said Cai. “In the past decade, it has gained popularity worldwide for tourists looking for fun mobile tours in major cities.”
Since its debut in 1999, the two-wheeled vertical personal transporter has become synonymous with accidents and criticism of security guards and tourists despite endorsements from tech giants like Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos.
The Segway never caught the general population after nearly 20 years on the market, with widespread speculation that it was largely due to its prohibitive cost. The Segway came in with a price of $ 5,000 when it hit the market, the Associated Press reported. In today’s dollars, that’s almost $ 7,700.
The mechanics of operating a Segway was also a challenge for cyclists who had to change their bodies at perfect angles to prevent the machine from tipping in any direction and potentially injuring drivers or others nearby.
Over the years, several high-profile Segway crashes occurred with former President George W. Bush and Olympian Usain Bolt. Most serious was when millionaire businessman Jimi Heselden accidentally drove his Segway down a cliff in 2011 while reversing the machine. Heselden had led the British acquisition of the Segway company in 2010.
Disruption of production means the company will slowly cut its Bedford, New Hampshire-based workforce with a plan to lay off 21 employees. Another 12 employees will remain between two and 12 months, and five employees will remain on staff to work on the Segway scooter, Discovery.
“Given our decades-long history, we recognize that this decision can be a disappointment to our strong and loyal supporters among private owners,” said Cai, “who see the Segway as one of the most innovative creations of the early 21st century.” “