Segway production moving from Bedford to China, layoffs anticipatedBy MICHAEL COUSINEAU
New Hampshire Union Leader
June 26. 2018 9:11PM
BEDFORD — Segway is moving production of its signature personal transporter from Bedford to China, the company confirmed Tuesday.
Layoffs are expected at the world headquarters on Technology Drive, according to state Labor Commissioner Ken Merrifield.
The Segway — which inventor Dean Kamen unveiled in 2001 — can be spotted around the world, often used by tourists exploring cities.
The Segway company has been sold several times, most recently to Chinese competitor Ninebot Inc. in 2015.
“We can confirm that the Bedford, N.H., facility will not be closing,” read a company statement to the New Hampshire Union Leader.
“We will continue to sell the iconic Segway Personal Transporter from this location,” the statement said. “It is anticipated, however, that the PT production line will be moved to China.”
Inventor Kamen said he had heard inaccurate reports in recent days that the Bedford plant would be closing.
“New Hampshire is going to remain the center for distribution,” Kamen said.
During an interview before winning the Distinguished Citizen Award from the Daniel Webster Council at the Manchester Downtown Hotel Tuesday night, Kamen said he did not have details about layoffs resulting from this production shift.
He admitted it’s “nice for emotional reasons” for New Hampshire to keep a presence, but intellectually he’s moved on from the iconic transporter to other big projects like the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Initiative.
“We established it. We showed that it works. There are more than a million units out there right now,” Kamen said.
“I wish them a lot of luck; they’re a good outfit.”
Marketing Manager Brian Hanson said Monday that the Segway PT and SE-3 Patroller were made in Bedford. “The SE-3 Patroller will not be shifted to China,” the company said Tuesday.
As for layoffs, the company said: “While there will likely be organizational changes due to the production of the Personal Transporter moving to China, the scope of those changes is unknown at this time.”
The company declined to say how many employees worked at the privately held company in Bedford.
Merrifield said his department sent an investigator to Segway after a Union Leader inquiry.
Merrifield said Segway planned to provide his department with information on upcoming layoffs and the size of its workforce by week’s end.
Segway has dealerships in more than 50 countries, including Australia, Kazakhstan, Vietnam and South Korea, according to Segway’s website.
Then-Segway president Rod Keller said in 2015 that he had no concerns that Segway’s base of operations in the Granite State would shrink after the merger.
“We plan to continue to manufacture the Segway-branded personal transporters here,” Keller said at the time.
Union Leader reporter Kevin Landrigan contributed to this report.