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A general Carrera discussion

6935 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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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?

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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?

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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!

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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.


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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I had forgotten about the support for the NSCC competition. Lets just see how things shape up over the next 1-2 years.

Don't really want to say much more for now.

Hi Jonny.
We posted at the same time.

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Thank you Jonny. Hornby do a lot and are unsung heroes to a lot of kids in trouble in the UK.

No doubt Carrera and Techi-Toy do similar good work in their respective countries so lets give all of them a big hand!

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I was not going to add any more to this thread but I do have to say that Thomas is very plain speaking.

At the end of the day slot car products have to be designed to accomodate the needs of the end user. This need may be very different in the UK to that of Germany and Thomas makes that point very clearly.

Why do you think slot car products have not taken off in the typical Japanese home?

Scalextric 1:24 scale (actually designed with the US market in mind at the time) suffered a very quick fate in the early 70's largely because of space issues in the UK associated with the larger track.

There is a small market for Carrera products in the UK but it may not be as large as some folk here seem to think to justify any promotional spend and the size of that small market will limit any wider recognition here. Just ask any UK retailer how fast stocks of 1:24 Carrera cars move and yet they represent remarkable value.

Europe and the USA present far better opportunities for Carrera.

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