Vectrix Electric Scooters to Lay Off 60

April 15, 2009
Bryan Harley
Bryan Harley
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Our resident road warrior has earned his stripes covering the rally circuit, from riding the Black Hills of Sturgis to cruising Main Street in Daytona Beach. Whether it's chopped, bobbed, or bored, metric to 'Merican, he rides 'em all.

2009 Vectrix VX-1
The 2009 Vectrix VX-1E is one of two electric scooters marketed by the Rhode Island-based manufacturer.

Vectrix Corporation, makers of Vectrix Personal Electric Vehicles like the 2009 VX-1, is experiencing financial woes. The Rhode Island-based company, formed in 1996, announced that it will have to lay off 60 workers and is seeking to secure some form of financial life preserver, be it new equity funding, a government loan or grant, or even a merger or sale. Trading of its commons stock has been suspended.

The company saw a boom in dealers during the last year’s summer of soaring fuel prices, claiming to expand from 38 to 160 dealers, mostly in the second half of the year. Besides its Middletown, Rhode Island, HQ, it has a modern vehicle assembly facility in Wroclaw, Poland and an R&D center in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Where the staff cuts will come has not been released.

It is a shame to see a company that was awarded the 2006 Frost & Sullivan Award for Technology Innovation and Leadership in Alternative Vehicle Technologies go down before it’s even had a chance to get started. Last summer’s gas prices must already be forgotten for some. Its promotion of zero emission technology is commendable.

But looking at its website, there are a few immediate indicators of why the company is suffering. First, its VX-1 scooter lists for $10,495. In comparison, a 2009 Burgman 650, a sport-oriented scooter, lists for $8,699. Second, its range is only 35-55 miles. When other combustion propelled scooters are getting over 100 mpg, this paltry range isn’t going to cut it. Finally, society is still embracing the green scene. True bikers are never going to give up their V-Twins, sportbike riders will never give up their Inline-four, and scooters crossing over into the American mainstream remains an uphill battle.

Here’s the word from Vectrix:

Vectrix Announces Exploration of Strategic Initiatives and Reduction in Work Force

Middletown, R.I.- April 14 – Vectrix Corporation (AIM: VRX) (www.vectrix.com), maker of the world’s first high performance, two-wheel zero emission vehicle (ZEV), announces that while its efforts continue to secure new equity funding and government based loan or grant support as well as temporary financing, the Directors will now begin to seek other strategic alternatives which could include a merger or sale of the business. The Company will continue to provide updates to the market as we progress through these activities. In order to conserve working capital for continuing operations during this period, the Company this week implemented cost savings measures including a significant reduction in workforce involving some 60 staff.

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