(The Center Square) – Segway, based in Bedford, New Hampshire, has announced that it will stop producing its namesake product, the self-balancing, two-wheeled Segway Personal Transporter.
The manufacturing plant in Belford, New Hampshire will shut down production of the device on July 15, a process which will lay off a total of 21 employees. The company had sold about 140,000 Segway units since its launch in 2001.
The Segway PT, which cost $4950 on launch, was most popular among tour and security companies, falling short of founder Dean Kamen's hopes that the vehicle would serve as an alternative to car travel.
Segway executives pointed to the vehicle's durability as one reason for declining sales, claiming that happy purchasers didn't see a need to upgrade even after a decade of use. They also conceded that some newer competitors are less intimidating for riders to learn.
“Kick scooters are taking off, and retroactively, there’s a reason the kick scooter is the dominant form factor now, precisely because it’s simple and easy to learn,” Tony Ho, VP of global business development at Segway, told Fast Company. “There’s no learning curve.”
Despite the end of the device, Kamen told CNN he doesn’t view his experience with Segway as a failure because he started something, in much the same way the Wright Brothers paved the way for air travel.
"They certainly weren't giving out frequent flyer miles by 1920," Kamen told CNN. "But I don't think anybody would say, 'Hey Wilbur hey, Orville, how do you feel about that failure?'"