Ford e-scooter company Spin quits markets and lays off employees

Spin, the Ford e-scooter-sharing company that Ford acquired in 2018, is shifting its focus in its pursuit of profitability and is exiting virtually all open pass markets globally as a result. In a post by the company’s CEO, Ben Beer, he said Spin has begun to wind down operations in a handful of markets in the United States, as well as across Germany and Portugal. The company will also close its operations in Spain, which could happen sometime on February 22.

Open permit markets are where many scooter companies can operate business, without setting limits on fleet sizes. Beer said they are “creating an uncertain operating environment” with “the race to the bottom price”. Spin doesn’t seem to do well in those markets – Bear writes that Spin hasn’t been able to provide “the kind of reliable, high-quality service [it] Pride [itself] to its passengers and city partners” in those locations – so I decided to take another route instead.

After being acquired by Ford, Spin has expanded its operations to a range of cities in the United States and around the world. In 2021, it published a new model of scooter that is more durable than its predecessor and teamed up with Google to show users the closest e-bike or e-scooter on maps. Unfortunately, this was not enough to prevent this restructuring.

Going forward, Spin will focus on the limited seller markets in the US, Canada and the UK. Specifically, in places where “cities and universities select partners through a competitive procurement process.” Apparently, Spin gets twice as much revenue at those kinds of places than sites with a free-for-all. Shifting its focus to those places makes sense in this case, but sadly closing locations also means the company is letting employees go: Its move will affect a quarter of its employees, who will receive severance packages and a bonus.

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