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Really this is a response to Tropi who has made a comment aimed at the UK market but I do applaude the efforts of Thomas to bring us Carrera news and European Carrera fans no doubt all give Thomas the big thumbs up.


Ultimately its all about how pro-active companies are and the amount of investment they make in the marketing of slot cars to the masses.

No amount of service matters if a company does not promote its products. The products will just gather dust.

Its one thing e-stockists stocking product, but is the product selling?

The issue for slot car companies worldwide is the nature of return that they get from any marketing investment.

Like tobacco companies are they attempting to switch existing users of other brands in what is perceived as a flat market, or expand the market as a whole and create growth?

Most slot car companies know where there marketing bread is buttered. Some retailers in the UK are good at promoting product locally by getting out and seeing the people but they possibly get support for this. No doubt the same situation occurs in Germany and Spain. This is over and above direct promotion of the hobby by the slot car manufactures themselves which can be very expensive and therefore has financial risk.

Considering for example that Carrera have exclusive rights to the Ferrari F1 cars, have any of you seen any promotional spend by Carrera at all in the UK to promote this fact?

They are simply reliant on the goodwill of enthusiasts in the UK to purchase the cars.

Argos carried an advert before Xmas on TV promoting Scalextric which was as a result of some effort by Hornby. Would Carrera have been willing to have made the same investment in the UK market?

And how has the "Argos" sale gone down with many of the e-tailors that we support here? Some of us know the answer!

I have said this before and I will say it again. To the great mass of the population Scalextric marketing in Germany broadly promotes Carrera. SCX marketing in the UK broadly promotes Hornby Scalextric. Hornby marketing as Superslot in Spain broadly promotes Spanish Scalextric. This is the conundrum for slot car manufacturers. America is the one market where it is a true free for all IMHO but there are Americans at SCI who would say otherwise.

UKsqueezea and a few others know where I am coming from here.


Moped
 

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Jim Moyes
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QUOTE (moped rider @ 27 Apr 2004, 10:06)America is the one market where it is a true free for all IMHO
What about Hungary? Nobody ever remembers Hungary! Is it nearly lunchtime then?

Seriously though, the US is a big market and Hornby and Carrera seem to be the two companies putting the most effort into "cracking" them. Perhaps Carrera should try an "Argos style" promotion out there to give them the upper hand!

The one that interests me the most is Japan. I feel if the Japanese get hooked on slots, then it wouldn't be long before we started to see some really good, competitively priced products!


And following a couple of news reports seen lately, China and Russia, are where a lot of big businesses are looking for future sales.

Mr.M
 

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QUOTE (Mr Material UK @ 27 Apr 2004, 10:35)The one that interests me the most is Japan. I feel if the Japanese get hooked on slots, then it wouldn't be long before we started to see some really good, competitively priced products!


Tamiya, Tamiya, Tamiya, Tamiya
Fujimi, Fujimi, Fujimi, Fujimi
I can imagine some really nice slotcars in 1/32 scale... or why not in 1/24 for those of us (like me) who pervertedly prefer the larger Carrera track...


But seriously - I really appreciate the information coming from Thomas regarding Carrera - It is not easy to get much information regarding Carrera generally speaking and especially not in the UK.

Thanks Thomas.

//peter
 

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I agree - Thomas is probably the best ambassador that Carrera has, west of the Rhein!
MUCH appreciated for lots of good, straight info and zero BS.


Conversely, ss for Mop and hisQUOTE I have said this before and I will say it again . . .
I don't recall seeing anything QUITE as labyrinthine from that particular source before. Strangely, I have a faint inkling of what he is trying to say but, as so often, he doesn't actually succeed in saying it, at least not in a form that normal people can understand! If it means what I think it means, then some companies, including the Mopedian fave rave, are doing some ABYSMAL marketing and might as well stop doing it altogether! On the other hand, if it doesn't mean what I think it means, then there wasn't a great deal of point in saying it at all!
Obscure as ever, Mope!


What's the name of that organization that promotes Plain English?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Tropi has not interpreted the comments correctly. Its a question of how you devide up a fixed marketing budget to provide the best sales growth for a company and its target audience. There are many factors to consider including the brand strength of competitors in 3 large markets in Europe.

It could well be that Carrera have a new strategy for the UK of putting all the UK marketing budget into subsidising sales of Carrera sets through Argos. This is not going to go down well with small retailers and is a short term sales fix that may harm Carrera longer term. The Carrera brand may be perceived as "cheap" and "lacking quality" and they are unable to sustain higher value sales as a result.

Is that the result that Carrera and Carrera stockists wish for in the UK market?

A low margin product? If that is the case then who is going to stock the product in the UK?

Do Carrera deserve to be better known in the UK on that basis?


Moped
 

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I hope Sean @ Pendleslot continues to stock Carrera
At least the mechanical spares are turning up - axles, wheels, tyres, screws.

Mope, who might perceive Carrera as "lacking quality and cheap"? Do you mean prospective stockists or just the public? I would venture to say that most slot car enthusiasts know a great bargain when they see one
, however the RRP of the cars is still competitive. Possibly those same enthusiasts don't think that Carrera lacks quality (out on a limb here, generalising from my own opinion..). Whilst I'm hanging myself out to dry I reckon that the not-necessarily-slot-enthusiast parents of little johnny who bought him a Carrera set from Argos would be thinking the same thing; that the cars and track are of superb quality for the price they paid.

Well, I may have totally confused myself with writing that, so I'm off to browse the rest of SF


Mark.
 

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I think I understand what moped is saying. If I were a complete and utter novice (and not just the novice that I am
) and were looking at sets to buy, I would go by the 'you get what you pay for' train of thought.
 

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QUOTE You get what you pay for
I find this to be one of the least useful well-known phrases or sayings there is!
Retail prices are rarely based on anything more reliable or worthy than charging whatever someone reckons the market will actually stand and the market is fickle and it fluctuates.

How does it fit in with a given 'standard price' of an item moving either upwards OR downwards?
The price might change significantly but the goods actually don't alter in quality at all.
If a special offer puts out an item at half price, does the item suddenly diminish its existing quality by 50%? Or magically become twice as good quality if the price doubles?
Sorry but that well-known phrase or saying does not and actually can not actually make any real sense.
It tends to be used by people who have paid a lot of money for something and feel a need to justify the expense or, perhaps someone in the process of having their gruntle removed because someone else is now paying less for similar. It's also the alltime favourite saying of sellers who want you to hand them as much money as possible!

The phrase does tend to encourage people to pay more than might be necessary and, as many of have seen, often, paying through the nose for a slot car is absolutely zero gurantee of it being of a quality that can be directly compared with its price. There is some excellent cheap stuff around and some awfully expensive clunkers. Buyer beware!
 

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Got it in one Goldfish. Well done!


But Tropi coming in just as I post also makes valid points.

We are very small in number at Slotforum but broadly speaking we are knowledgeable and with many of the members having a longer term interest in slot cars than the typical slot car customer (for the moment anyway).

The perception of slot cars may well be very different for typical Argos customers and they will get a big shock when they start looking for Carrera add ons. It may cause resentment among such folk which gives the hobby a bad name and clearly cannot be good for Carrera in the UK.

I wonder if Germany have "Argos type" stores and whether Carrera permit similar moves to take place in those stores?

Carrera may well be deserving of greater exposure in the UK but are they going about it the right way?


Moped
 

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QUOTE I wonder if Germany have "Argos type" stores and whether Carrera permit similar moves to take place in those stores?
Oh come on Mope!
First you accuse Carrera of instigating it with supposed subsidies to Argos and now you abruptly slam into reverse gear in suggesting that Argos did it off their own bat and possibly against Carrera's will.

And what, may I ask, does this have remotely to do with Thomas's announcement of Carrera's new car releases?
It all spills out with the lingering taste of sour grapes.
 

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Jamie Coles
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This thread started off with a very informative item about some changes to the product lines being issued by Carrera in Germany and has now gone off at a tangent to speculate on how an English chain of catalogue shops can sell just one of the many items from Carrera.

The average Argoose customer probably only knows the names "Scalextric", "Dinky" and "Matchbox" when it comes to model cars in their various guises and I honestly doubt whether any great deal of marketing will change that. After all we still call a ball point pen a "biro" and a vacuum cleaner a "hoover" so to the vast number of the great un-grooved the generic term for slot cars is Scalextric - or more likely "Scale-a-lectrix !!

The Le Mans set isn't even marketed as Carrera, but Mighty Motors (from memory, as I don't have a box in front of me!) with the name Carrera in a lot smaller print.

I would suggest our knowledge of all things slot varies but is certainly more than Mr (or Mrs) Average-Argos and so when they would by Little Johny Average-Argos a slot car set that they know the name of and feel safe with - ie Scalextric, only people like us would know where to search for the Carrera Sets.

Even now you can't find them on the website or in the stores' computer listing, you have to know the catalogue number and call direct.

So what I am trying to say - is that the average potential slot car racer would not get as far as experiencing Carrera through this one set and being put off for life as it is not like Scalextric.

As to whether Carrera are subsidizing the cheap sell off of their supplies - I doubt that very much but again this is all speculation as I haven't spoken to anyone at Carrera or Argos. From my experience in other products I would think that the Argos buying department contacted various slot car manufacturers to buy directly at a far better discount than could be got from the UK importer - it's not an unusual way of doing things.

Marks and Spencers were selling rebadged Carrera alarm clocks (they were £25 before Christmas - I picked up some for £5) Similarly M & S selling the Italian Job set for £39.99. Should we also suppose that Hornby subsidised Marks and Spencers?

Retail multiple businesses don't work that way, when the window to sell "seasonal" or "special" items has passed they are marked down to shift them as soon as possible to avoid taking up premium priced storage space even if a loss per unit is made.

Sorry to go on - I haven't written such a long email for a long time !!

Jamie
 

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Tropi always seems to apply some strange logic to simple questions that I ask and then draws meaning out of that logic.

Tropi has a unique mind but where would we be without him!


I did have an Irish boss in the past and there is certainly an element of gaelic logic applied here by Tropi. Just to say that I was applying viking logic rather than gaelic logic when putting the question!


The thread of Thomas's went in this direction on the back of one or two comments made by others in connection with Carrera deserving wider recognition in the UK.

Do they deserve it? Where is the Carrera Road Show? Where is the Carrera sponsorship? When are Carerra going to help local communites in the UK?

There is a whole ethos here.

As I said in an earlier post we all enjoy learning about the new offerings of all manufacturers including Carrera and Thomas is very good with and presents the information in a matter of fact sort of way with no biase so please keep this up.

It is the subsequent comments made by others as they relate to the UK market specifically rather than the European market generally that then need to be addressed. Some of those folk do not even live in the UK!


Moped
 

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QUOTE Tropi has not interpreted the comments correctly.
Rather difficult to see any justification for that remark when Tropi was most careful not to post any interpretation at all, but merely to point out and illustrate the obscurity of Moped's remarks in an uncannily similar cotton-candy style - perhaps a touch too subtle for some. But a smart approach, in view of the unfathomable nature of the Mop comments themselves, which sadly failed to communicate anything meaningful whatever.

QUOTE It could well be that Carrera have a new strategy for the UK of putting all the UK marketing budget into subsidising sales of Carrera sets through Argos.
I think this is by far the LEAST rational of explanations, but not unexpected, given the source.
Yes, it doessound like straighforward sour grapes to me, as does the whole post.

QUOTE This is not going to go down well with small retailers and is a short term sales fix that may harm Carrera longer term.
In view of the reality that few, if any, small retailers stocked Carrera product anyway, this is the absolute height of irrelevance! What it actually DID, was get the Carrera name out onto the British high street and Slot Boards such as this one. It was a bold decision on someone's part although, in spite of Mopedian assumptions as to who did what, it will probably remain a mystery as to which specific organization actually took that decision. Whoever took it, the fact is that the Carrera name received absolutely immense publicity on the strength of it and, on that basis must be deemed a great success.

Sad to say that that Moped so obviously doesn't like Carrera or, indeed, any major slot company other than the one in which he has such a heavily vested interest. It's a shame that it's so obvious, because it does tend to directly create divisions and unnecessary polarization in an otherwise very interesting subject.
 

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Do Carrera have an independent importer here or is the import handled by a direct Carrera, Germany subsidiary? Only, until the parent company makes that investment I cannot see them featuring much on the high street outside of Argos.

Which is a shame because now I've fettled my Bentley, and it did require a lot, it runs quite tolerably and I could surely be tempted by one of those Ferraris - and this from a historical (hysterical?) Carrera and Ferrari hater.

I would also suggest that those ordinary punters who bought the cheap Carrera sets could be well pleased with their purchases as they paid peanuts, got solid well built goods and a big box to boot - the latter being quite important to some folk who just want to be seen to be giving 'big time.'
 

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ok I do not really think that this is a bad thread. But the thread should maybe have been divided into two threads. Only one of which would remain in the 'news' section (e.g. related information to the thread title). The other part of the thread I see as still valid and rather interesting but surely more suitable in a different part of this forum. Maybe with a more suitable name as well - something like the 'carrera market in the uk' - or similar.

When it comes to the Carrera market in the UK, and how, why things may have happened and possible consequenses thereof. Many aspects are to be considered.

1) Since it can be said that the existing Carrera 'market' in the UK is rather small and the representation of the Carrera brand is quite limited it is not obvious that any damage is done by 'dumping' the prices of a few slotcar sets. The reason is that there is a phenomena which is called 'market penetration'. This has to do with that it is not exactly unusual that 'dumping' or 'subsidizing' or even 'giving away' products is a VERY GOOD strategy LONGTERM for a company. Basically what this is about is related to CREATION of a brand recognition and even a creation of a market. An oversimplified example is the following. If there is a certain number of families that have (no matter how or for how much) got themselves a Carrera set - some of them are likely to be interested in additional track, additional cars etc. So the more Carrera sets there are available in peoples home the more likely it is that some one will be interested in buying accesories and cars made by carrera from a retailer. This phenomena ofcourse makes a big hole in the theory that retailers would suffer longterm. It suggests rather the opposite - if carrera products are breaking through into the UK market - it creates a market for future carrera products. Recognition of brand is furthermore to be added to this - e.g. people that have not ever heard of carrera products are more likely to come across people that have carrera products. There is not reason to believe that the experience of carrera existing carrera sets and the quality of track and vehicles etc will be devastating to the carrera brand. Quite the contrary is reasonable to believe.

2) It is not especially probable that Carrera as a company has anything to do with Argos 'dumping' of carrera products. It is much more probable that it is a pure business transaction. We can probably assume that the Carrera sets did not sell very well and this resulted in that Argos needed to take action to get rid of them. As we can see there are no further Carrera sets in the new catalogue - reason is probable that it is only worth having something in the catalogue if you believe that there is a market for the product... So it seems as if Argos was left with quite a few sets in their warehouses and even though they lowered the prices for christmas they still did not get rid of them. So what to do - after all a product that gathers dust on the shelves in a company warehouse like Argos is definitively a COST. So after a while the space will be assessed as being more valuable than the product. Might just as well give them away...

just some thoughts.

//peter

EDIT
Sensible advice on splitting, Peter and we acted on it after seeing how it ran.
 

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There was a later post of Tropi's that you may not have read Mecoprop. And you are now guilty of making assumptions.

I agree with Wankel as there has been a noticable improvement in Carrera cars of late and folk who purchased the big boxes will have been happy so not an issue.

And it has made folk here sit up here in the UK and talk about and try out Carrera so again cheap sets have worked short term but at what price?

From a European wide perspective we all welcome all news from all sources.

Its just the comments about the UK market and the use of the word "deserve" in respect of Carrera recognition in the UK that is the root cause of my concern.

One other manufacturer apart from Hornby has a roadshow in the UK so they are bringing slot cars to the public creating an awareness. In Spain most of the manufacturers have roadshows and have a lot of sponsorship and create awareness. Carrera do similar stuff in Germany. In the USA Scalextric do a massive amount of legwork between cities and attend race events to promote the hobby. The local Carrera distributer in the USA does not do a bean in promotion but just supplies kit to retailers and they are happy for Scalextric to do the promotion donkey work on behalf of the hobby as a whole.

Putting all this into context I still would like to know why Carrera "deserve" wider recognition in the UK?

Now I am not having a go at Carrera but at the local UK distributer Nikko. What do they do for the slot car hobby in the UK?

And I have just caught Peter's post as this was posted and as usual Peter has probably assessed the situation accurately and I am pleased that a third party (not me) has suggested that this may have happened.


Moped

PS and also based on the assumptions that folk have made about my interests what would be the logic in my keeping this Carrera thread at the top of the news section. Thomas and other Carrera fans must be well pleased with my efforts!


I simply would like to see promotion of the hobby to the wider UK public and wider participation in that from ALL sources, not just Scalextric and SCX.
 

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QUOTE Putting all this into context I still would like to know why Carrera "deserve" wider recognition in the UK?

Running any number of roadshows doesn't earn you the right to respect and sales, especially if your product is carp (See my Corvette thread).

Having good product does. And I would venture that Carrera product is sufficiently improved to "deserve" more respect, recognition and sales.

This thread has gone off on one. I know it is possible to split threads but I'm not confident of my ability to acheive that one (I'm good at closing 'em down though!).
 

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(y) to peter and moped.

Must say, I did find mopeds earlier posts both interesting and intelligible. Agreed with sum bits and not others. Was amazed at how others had read his posts and jumped down his neck!
 

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QUOTE (Wankel Ickx @ 28 Apr 2004, 17:13)Do Carrera have an independent importer here or is the import handled by a direct Carrera, Germany subsidiary? Only, until the parent company makes that investment I cannot see them featuring much on the high street outside of Argos.
The UK distributor (which may also be the importer I'm not sure) is NIKKO UK. I know this thanks to the tampo falling off my yellow Chevy Camaro. However, this is the only Carrera car I own to date which has exhibited this fault, so Carrera's quality is still intact IMHO.


Mark.
 
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