Segway Hype Outpaces Sales

Sales of the Segway Human Transporter are only about one-tenth of projections but it is popular with police departments.
April 14, 2004, 1pm PDT | Abhijeet Chavan | @legalaidtech
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"Segway says its human transporter will take you almost anywhere, replacing a car for short hops and saving the environment to boot. But the fortunes of the motorized scooter's parent company appear to be headed in just one direction: south. People aren't buying the $4,500 machine in the great quantities expected. A recall last year raised questions about reliability. President Bush fell off one. And theme parks including Walt Disney World and cities such as San Francisco have banned Segways, which travel up to 12 1/2 mph, from sidewalks. 'We're not disappointed it hasn't caught on,' said Melanie Brunson, executive director of the American Council of the Blind. 'People don't necessarily have as much control over these devices, moving at that rate of speed, as you like to think they would.' Segways went on sale in November 2002 amid projections that more than 50,000 would be sold in the first year. Instead, by September 2003, when all Segways were recalled for a minor repair, just 6,000 had been sold. New Hampshire-based Segway LLC also reportedly ran through its $100 million start-up money and has been forced to raise $31 million more. But despite Segway's failure to live up to the initial hype, some in Maryland say it's just catching on. Police at Baltimore-Washington International Airport are wrapping up a favorable two-week trial of the machines, and an entrepreneur in Annapolis plans to begin renting them out this weekend."

Thanks to Richard Layman

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Published on Saturday, April 10, 2004 in The Baltimore Sun
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