Segway realizing most people are lazy and just want to sit down

Posted on Tue Apr 7 2009

Segwaypuma copy

The Segway scooter was a cool idea, but it's big downside was that people had to actually stand up on it—something fewer Americans are willing and/or able to do nowadays. This prototype of a new Segway vehicle, then, is much more promising. It's the P.U.M.A. (Personal Urban Mobility & Accessibility) prototype, and it's designed to provide efficient urban transport for people who don't want their utter laziness compromised. (General Motors is also involved in the P.U.M.A., but that doesn't necessarily mean it's doomed.) If Segway can convince people that these things are actually safe to drive, the company could reclaim its once-shining reputation as an innovator in transportation. At least until Kevin James takes the P.U.M.A. for a spin.

—Posted by Tim Nudd

UPDATE: The only people who'd be understandably miffed about P.U.M.A. at this early stage are the folks at Puma, the athletic footwear company. "It's an acronym, so they're probably protected," says Antonio Bertone, CMO at Puma, who adds that he's gotten "about 7,000" e-mails about the new Segway vehicle. Bertone didn't know how seriously Puma's management will take P.U.M.A., but he did point out an interesting overlap: Michael Taylor, Segway's director of product marketing, used to work at Puma. Taylor could not be reached for comment. —Todd Wasserman 

Segway scooters hit a new low as Kevin James climbs aboard

Posted on Tue Dec 30 2008


Has any brand in history fallen from such great heights to such ignominious depths as Segway? Dean Kamen's dream machine, introduced to great fanfare in December 2001, once seemed to embody the best of what the future had to offer: remarkable gravity-defying technology employed for the most practical purpose imaginable. Now, seven years later, it's the butt of a movie-length Kevin James joke. In the new film Mall Cop, James plays a shopping-mall security guard whose means of transport serves to underscore his emasculated, bumbling idiocy. The film, which reminds us yet again why police should never ride Segways, represents a new low in a series of progressively lower lows for the company, which suffered its first big PR fiasco in 2003, when George W. Bush fell off a Segway in Kennebunkport (immediately casting into doubt Kamen's dream that U.S. special ops would eventually ride Segways into battle). The problem, of course, is that even when people manage to stay atop their Segways, they look vaguely foolish riding them. As James admits: "I had driven a Segway for a promo for King of Queens, and I thought it was the funniest [vehicle] I had ever seen." Funny = perhaps not the greatest brand attribute for a scooter. Perhaps Segways will eventually have their day in the sun, but these days not even Ferrari can make them cool.

—Posted by Tim Nudd



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