A mobility dealer in Dartford is producing and launching a new anti-theft scooter device into the industry in response to growing pressures from online competition squeezing business.
Gold Star Mobility’s new electronic key fob is designed mainly for convenience as the user no longer has to insert and fiddle around with a key. But because each fob has a unique number assigned to it, it can only be used on one scooter – unlike traditional generic keys which can be used on any scooter – adding security.
Owner Neil Medhurst has been developing the device for two years but has now decided to invest money in it and secure a patent with a view to launching it to other dealers at Trade Days in October.
“We want to sell it to the industry, not end-users. The idea is to sell it to dealers for them to fit it for customers. Installation takes around 30 to 45 minutes and can be fitted quicker than a scooter canopy,” explained Medhurst.
“It will fit any scooter except travel scooters. Whether you’ve got it new or used you’re able to sell it to that customer. It will be more profitable then selling them insurance and there’s a little bit of work involved so you can charge customers an installation fee if you want.”
For now Medhurst will assemble the product in-house until demand is high enough to warrant outsourcing assembly. But he maintains that the business will not move away from retail.
“We’re a bricks and mortar mobility retailer, a family run business – it’s not a massive shop. But we do get squeezed by the internet and with the two main people on the internet getting bigger and bigger we felt we needed to look at something else to uphold our business. Rather than choosing different products to sell, because if they become popular internet companies will sell them anyway, our idea was to step in another direction.”
How does the key fob work?
The dealer removes the key barrel and replaces it with a light. The mobility scooter can then be turned on and off by an electronic key fob, coded uniquely to that scooter. The aim is to make the scooter less fiddly to operate for people with limited mobility. The removal of the key barrel also makes the scooter much more difficult to hotwire and because each fob is unique people will no longer be able to take other scooters with a generic scooter key. The product is universal to all scooter brands and can fit any scooter except for travel/boot scooters.