Is Vectrix For Sale?

Publish Date: 
Apr 23, 2009

Vectrix’s least expensive model, the VX-2, retails for $5,195.

ELECTRIC SCOOTER maker Vectrix Corp. has dismissed about 60 employees to cut costs and said it plans to seek “strategic alternatives, which could include a merger or sale of the business.”

 

A source from within Vectrix, who declined to be identified for this story, confirmed to Dealernews that layoffs had occurred and that company owners seek to sell the company. “They have been unable to raise the cash needed to maintain the staff,” the source said.

The AIM market of the London Stock Exchange suspended trading of Vectrix common shares on March 31 because the company had not filed an annual report. Vectrix said that it couldn’t file the report until the completion of a “fund-raising exercise” — additional financing through equity funding or government-based loan or grant support.

Vectrix is headquartered in Middletown, R.I. It operates an assembly facility in Wroclaw, Poland, and an R&D center in New Bedford, Mass. The company completed its IPO on the London Stock Exchange about 16 months ago; thus funding required for its business normally comes through methods in which it can use its public listing as a way of generating working capital.

Conceived in 1996 by a group of engineers at Lockheed Martin and a former competitive sailor, Andrew McGowan, Vectrix together with strategic partner Parker-Hannifin invested more than $50 million and the better part of 11 years to bring a first product, the VX-1 (MSRP $10,495), to market in 2007. The company this year added the VX-1E ($8,495) and entry-level VX-2 ($5,195) scooters to its lineup.

“Models and dealers” have been the two issues keeping Vectrix from skyrocketing success, Mike Boyle, Vectrix CEO, told Dealernews during an interview in February. Vectrix supplies 85 dealers in the U.S., and nearly 160 dealers worldwide, but Boyle says “exponential growth” wouldn’t occur until the company attained widespread consumer acceptance fostered through an increased network of at least 250 to 300 dealers in the U.S.

“This is still a conversion product,” Boyle said. “Although it is a product that fits a large portion of the motorcycle/motor scooter market, it still is an all-electric vehicle and it still has the associated premium attached to it that electric vehicles have. Therefore, the ability of the market to make the transition to a fully electric vehicle is in the very early stages.”

— Submitted by Guido Ebert and Arlo Redwine