Segway - Still Off-balance?

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Case Details:

Case Code : MKTG125
Case Length : 17 Pages
Period : 2001-2005
Organization : -
Pub Date : 2006
Teaching Note :Not Available
Countries : US
Industry : Automobile

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Excerpts Contd...

Segway Rethinks its Strategy

In March 2003, Segway started a dealership expansion program. The company recruited dealers in major metropolitan areas of US to distribute, market and sell the Segway HTs. In October 2003, the company launched the Segway HT p-series model which was lighter and more portable than the i-series, and was targeted at the general public. The model was priced at US$ 3,995. Around the same time, the company also reduced the price on its i-series model to US$ 4,495...

The Road Ahead

From the time of Segway HT's launch, the company encouraged its product development team to create new product concepts. The company engaged in a product exploration process which was called 'frog kissing'.

The goal of the process was to find a prince among frogs within a short period (a few weeks and in some cases in a matter of days).

Engineers and designers were encouraged to use available materials to quickly prove whether a concept would work or not. The results of these 'explorations' were expected to manifest themselves as 'improvements' or 'modifications' to Segway HT's next generation of products.

Marketing Management Case Studies | Case Study in Management, Operations, Strategies, Marketing Management, Case Studies

In January 2005, Michelin displayed its tweel combination tyres on the Segway Concept Centaur at the 2005 North American International Auto Show (See Exhibit VII for a Photograph of Concept Centaur). The Centaur was essentially a four wheeled version of the Segway HT, and used the same technology. The company also introduced accessories for the Segway HT, such as a laptop carrier that hooked onto the side. The company was expected to announce a set of new products in 2006 as well.

In March 2005, Segway introduced its 2005 product line-up which featured three new models; the Segway HT i180 with enhanced range, the Segway XT - a cross-terrain transporter, and the Segway GT -a Golf Transporter. It also launched the lithium-ion batteries, which were considered superior to the previous batteries, as an accessory. Owners of the earlier models could also fit the new battery.

In October 2005, the company introduced Segways with Global Positioning Systems (GPS) made by Garmin International Inc . They were promoted with the caption - 'Find Your Way with Segway'.

Buyers received a free Garmin eTrex Legend or eTrex Legend C GPS handheld unit when they bought a new HT, XT or GT before January 2006.

The Garmin GPS devices, which were priced between US$ 170 and US$ 250 in the market, were considered to be among the best personal GPS units. Klee Kleber (Kleber), Vice President (Marketing), Segway, described the GPS add-on as a value addition.

"People who ride the HT tend to use sidewalks, bike trails or slow roads, so having a GPS around to give you the best route can be helpful to finding where you want to go more easily," said Kleber. Company executives said that future models of Segway would come with various kinds of onboard electronics...


Exhibit I : A Photograph of the Segway HT
Exhibit II : Dean Kamen: The Man and his Many Devices
Exhibit III : How the Human Transporter Works
Exhibit IV : Segway's Partners
Exhibit V : A List of Organizations that have Purchased Segways
Exhibit VI : A Photograph of a Segway HT being used as a Marketing Tool
Exhibit VII : A Photograph of Concept Centaur
Exhibit VIII : Photographs of Embrio and Other Models

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