In 1897, the New York Journal incorrectly reported that humorist Mark Twain was gravely ill and feared dead. In fact it was Twain’s cousin, James Ross Clemens who was ill in London. Twain later refuted the rumor of his demise by first, you know, being alive, then also by famously saying “The report of my death was an exaggeration.”
Last week a rumor surfaced (via Facebook) that the successful and community-centric scooter brand, Genuine Scooter Company, was closing its doors. The source of the rumor was apparently a pair of New Mexico Genuine dealers who’d said as much to customers. Now that level of hearsay isn’t something we’re interested in chasing very far, but we did want to go straight to our sources at Genuine and get a statement as soon as possible. After all, it seems unlikely that the brand sporting the country’s best-selling scooter , the Buddy, was closing its doors. Speaking directly with senior management at Genuine, we were able to confirm that not only is Genuine not closing down, but they’re hard at work developing new products. So everybody worried about this can just calm down.
Now it’s public knowledge that there is an ongoing dispute between Genuine and their now “retired” founder and former CEO, Phillip McCaleb. What the outcomes of that dispute might mean for Genuine or McCaleb are likely years away as that case works itself out in court. At this time, we have nothing to add to that story, but I bring it up only because that case was also part of this closure rumor. With neither verdict nor settlement having taken place to our knowledge, we think it’s safe to assume that Genuine is as yet unaffected by this situation.
The moral of the story? Don’t believe everything you hear. Now exactly what would motivate a dealership employee to tell a customer such things is a bit of a head-scratcher. It’s tough not to lend credibility to people who should purportedly be in the know. Were they simply passing along bad information? Are they unhappy with their relationship with Genuine and simply making things up to scare off customers while they shut down that product line? Whatever the source of the rumor, it’s been explicitly denied by Genuine, and ultimately, the truth will out. When the 2015 Buddies, Blurs, Roughhouses, Hooligans and Stellas roll into showrooms, I think we’ll have the most definitive answer.