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A general Carrera discussion

6971 Views 73 Replies 23 Participants Last post by  thomas
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.

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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 !!

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As you can see from the earlier posts in this thread I was actively involved around 1430 today - I had read Moped's post and was composing a reply to it and then suddenly the last two paragraphs seemed to appear.

These appear to tone down the contribution.

Is this at all possible with the Forum notice board? I know it is possible to edit posts, but there is an indication this has happened or is there a period during which you can say one thing and then change your mind before the database is updated?

Anyway back to THIS thread and I tend to agree with Thomas, which ties up with what WAS suppositioned earlier. (Thomas , I apologise for my lack of knowedge in your connections with or within Carrera, but I may wish to explore those further for personal collecting reasons)

Argos can and apparently did order special "bundles"(as we call them in the software business) of product (cars & track) which were sold as "Mega Motors".

Argos can then sell them at whatever cost they like. Sorry, but no-one can tell ANYONE what the minimum price is. The people who lose financially are Argos - and I would think the buyer has lost his/her job and Argos will have other people consider the T's & C's of other negotiations they enter. (Unless the bottom line has still produced a profit).

At the end of the day personally I am satisfied - I bought some Carrera products for a good price - and I wil still buy Carrera cars.
Argos may have STILL made some profit -
I am sure Carrera have NOT made a loss on the deal.

I am concerned that an attempt was made to hi jack this informative thread into some way of knocking a product and its distribution for no other reason than it didn't fit in with a perceived method of marketing and being entirely negative about aspects that were more than likely beyond the influence of the manufacturer.

BTW - Thomas, if you would like to pass on my name to the Carrera people in Quality Control (UK Division) for testing purposes - please do so!!!

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