GM Segway, PR stunt?

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

07 April 2009

Doing more dodging than dodging traffic

Well, I guess they’re trying. General Motors unveiled the prototype for a sort of two-seater, electronically powered Segway (with whom they partnered for this project). GM rolled it out in front of media today, appearing on most of the national morning shows, and said it was to help consumers navigate on city streets.


While, in theory, this could cut down on toxic fumes in those cities and such, the whole thing looks like a dodge from a car manufacturer still horribly out of touch with the public. The question Detroit needs to ask itself is, “From the consumer’s point of view, do they see this as the right and sensible purchase decision?”

No. Instead, this is a PR stunt. A lame attempt by GM to show it is innovating in the right direction. (“See. We are developing new technologies. Look at this wheelchair scooter!”) But consumers, when making choices on purchasing decisions, are now asking themselves, “What is the right thing to do?” And much of that has to do with emotional (and economic) choices. That “right” choice may not be the “best” choice (such as protecting the environment, getting around quicker, etc.) but one that is easier to use, doesn’t impose a great deal of change and moves the whole industry forward.

Think about it this way. The best TV on the market to get is a monster flat-screen, HDTV that covers your entire living room wall. If you bought one now, would you tell anybody? Would you even want to be seen riding down the street in this GM/Segway hybrid, especially past those in the unemployment line?

Guys. Stop wasting your time (and ours) and get on with it. How about this? Concentrate on making a vehicle that can be used anywhere and is affordable, safe and environmentally friendly? Because, as you know, the Segway was such a big hit.

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