The Micro success story
It all began with a sausage – the best bratwurst in Zurich. Wim Ouboter thought the Sternen Grill was too far away to be reached on foot, but not far enough away to the get the bicycle or even the car out of the garage. Without further ado, he invented to very first kickboard in 1997.
However, his “kiddy scooter” didn't really appeal to any of his friends, and they showed absolutely no understanding for his vision of urban mobility. The prototype ended up in the garage – until his neighbour's son discovered it and started to use it as a leisure scooter. Its popularity among the kids led his wife Janine to recognise the potential in this innovation and urge Wim to put the kickboard into production. He then immediately produced the two-wheeled Micro scooter as a variation on this theme – an innovation which exploded on the market in the year 2000 like a bombshell. Their wildest expectations were exceeded, with the press all over the world clamouring for the extraordinary story of the self-made man and his “bratwurstmobile”.
But the inevitable happened, and soon the market was flooded with copies of the Micro Scooter® and kickboard®. Whereas Ouboter concentrated on quality and sustainability, the manufacturers of these plagiarised products were only interested in a quick, short-term gain. This led to a complete market collapse due to the price pressure caused by cheap imitations. “That saw the start of a really difficult period where, in effect, we had to go right back to the drawing board again”, ponders the inventor of the original. “Despite this, we learnt that, instead of simply taking on the copyists, it was more important to look to the future and concentrate on the rigorous further development of our products. We work passionately for our Micro brand, day after day.” This ambition and the unshakeable faith in the product have paid off, as Micro is today once again the unchallenged market leader with representation in 80 countries around the world – twice as many as during the boom period.
Thanks to Wim's visionary spirit, Micro enjoys a much broader base and is better positioned than ever today in the clearly defined Kids & Teens (newly available as a walker scooter from the age of 18 months), Freestyle (scootering is the latest skatepark discipline) and Adults (larger wheels) segments. Micro has made a lasting impact on the development of urban mobility, with exclusive innovations such as the Micro Luggage, a case with a folding kickboard (approved as hand luggage) which has made day-to-day life considerably easier for frequent flyers. Or the emicro one, probably the most compact and lightest e-scooter in the world. It looks like a normal scooter, but the hub motor provides electric support and allows the rider to reach speeds of up to 25km/h. The latest coup is the Microlino, the mini-car that represents the first incarnation of Ouboter's “Reduce to the Max” vision on four wheels. It will be available from the end of 2017.