Segway Halts Production of Iconic Scooter After 19 Years

Segway will stop production of the vehicles July 15, after sales dropped to 1.5% of 2019 revenue.
Brad Bergan
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Segway is stopping the production of its iconic self-balancing scooter after nearly two decades, according to a Fast Company exclusive.


Segway halts production after nearly two decades

The decision to end Segway production came on the heels of a drop in the company's sales to less than 1.5% of its 2019 revenue.

When it was first introduced, the sleek design of the scooter felt to some like the coming of a new age of public transport. Its futuristic technology allowed riders to control motion with nothing but a shift in weight.

The newly-conceived vehicle even generated a new niche tourist industry — segway tours — and the vehicle's swift pace and sharp movements took to Hollywood in the film "Mall Cop," wherein Paul Blart (Kevin James) zoomed to and fro with the help of his precious scooter.

Billed as an uncomplicated way to make short trips and commutes, the Segway PT sadly never took root with commuters — and eventually became reduced to interest as more of a niche toy than a dependable vehicle.

Segway in the controversy

Detractors of the Segway didn't have long to wait before the vehicle was decried as unsafe, since its self-balancing feature was often difficult to control, causing scooters to spin wildly out of control and throw vulnerable riders to the ground, nonplussed. Consequently, some cities banned Segways.

The company was later absorbed by British self-made millionaire Jimi Heselden. But in 2009 — a mere 10 months after the acquisition — 62-year-old Heselden fell to his death from a 9-meter (30-foot) cliff while riding a Segway to his estate in Thorp Arch close to Boston Spa, West Yorkshire, according to Unilad.

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Years later, Usain Bolt had a Segway accident when a cameraman riding another scooter crashed into him mid-victor-lap after winning the 200-meter (656-foot) Beijing race in 2015. Thankfully, Bolt didn't die and wasn't injured, and he joked about it later.

Segway production will cease July 15, with up to 21 employees also due for layoffs, with another 12 allowed to stay on board for two months to a year. Just five employees will remain at the factory in Bedford, New Hampshire, reports The Guardian.

While major industries like auto production were deemed essential amid the coronavirus crisis, it seems there is no shortage of economic "little guys" who may suffer serious losses through this state of calamity we call 2020.

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