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Some good points already in defence of slot car makers, so I won't double up on those too much.

License fees. Like or not, they are not under the "control" of the slot car maker unless, they want to be like the old Proslot who never paid any, then got shut down. The owner of the "brand" owns that brand and logo, and we actually WANT correctly appearing cars, [right down to them dang rivit counters] and the owner of the brand does not neccessarily gain value from our toy cars, but the slot car maker gains value from being able to use that brand to add value to the toy cars, hence . . . licensing fees.
Having spent 8 years in the recording and publishing industry when I was younger, I have some inkling of the machinations.
5 Quid at retail, well, the problem is, the license fee is paid up by the maker, he includes recovery in his distributor price, the distributors add a percentage margin, the retailers add a percentage margin, so it all multiplies from a smaller number to a larger number, and as someone said, the "perceived value" to the consumer is factored in to price differences from maker level upwards.

Slot cars over-priced . . . . given the tiny size of our hobby in world market terms, it is a miracle we get what we do to be honest. I can see many easier ways of making money than being a Salvatore, a Maurizio (x2) or a a Jules.

Look at how many slot car makers have gone to the wall in the last 6 years.....

You in Europe also need to consider that your currency has dropped in absolute value around 20% against almost all external cost inputs in the past 2 years. You are buying plastic and steel which are commodities bought and sold in world markets in USD, you are buying labour in RMB, that is linked to the USD, and the cost of Chinese labour is rising quickly in their native currency (RMB) as well.
You are buying shipping - in USD, and airfreight - in USD, and airfreight in many cases has increased by 25% or more alone in the last 2 years.

And in such a small market as we reside in, the makers are a real hodge podge of sizes, structures, market focus etc. Their internal cost structures are mostly unique.

And lastly, those who wait for products to be discounted, they are like people waiting for end of season to buy clothing on sale. A perfectly valid and neccessary part of the retail mix, but those sale prices represent lost profit opportunity to the retailer - and often distributor - where they committed to a product, so they are not making money, that hurts them as well - and we need them to make some money SOMEWHERE, so they can continue.
Our market is one which demands high service levels from the commercial providors. That means a lot of labour input at commercial level by someone. - no point in argueing that you don't require it - others do, and it has to be provided.
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