On top of the changes to Box E (outlined here), as suspected, more changes were announced for Boxes F, G, H, & J (no Box I) and Mattel has basically announced that what was is/might be no longer for the rest of 2008.
They have replaced most of all the “new” in each box with the same old-same old.
In the next 5 boxes, including the changes to Box E, we have “lost” Pit Crew Member Sarge, Richard Clayton Kensington (Security Van), Dinoco Crew Chief, Trunk Fresh Crew Chief, Marco Super FAV-18 (Jet), Octane Gain Crew Chief and the return of regular Sarge (missing since last August).
(color scheme example)
(color scheme example)
In place, we get the return of CARS like Sheriff (first time on WOC individual card), re-releases of recent popular CARS such as Dinoco Helicopter and of course, the ever popular Dale Jr. so for relative newbies and new collectors (your post is here), it’s all pretty good news as you’ll get a chance to catch up on any of the CARS you’re missing … for longtime collectors, the news is not so great as new boxes with TWO Green Ramones is not particularly exciting news. For those stores with mostly empty pegs (unless you count 50 Boost’s as a full shelf), it’s a way to bring in new CARS customers as much as we think the Pit Crew Guys are cool, if you’re missing Lightning or Mater, it’s hardly a CARS collection … however, if your stores are peg-full – not much good news as they might order as many.
And of course, the un-knowing question – will it be harder or easier to find the two news ones in each shipment? I would have to guess harder since instead of having to budget for 6 new CARS, now people can just hoard up the ONE/TWO ones in each shipment … TWO Bug Mouth McQueen in Box G, why, Mattel, why?
Speaking of which, the big question is why?
I would say the answer is WAL*MART.
The only real logical reason for pulling 5 new CARS in the next 5 shipments* is because WM wants another set of exclusives.
The recent floor/shelf plan for WM’s around the country clearly indicate they are willing to set aside a huge chunk of space for Mattel’s CARS including the Mini’s … and WM does not just do you a favor by expanding or ordering another couple million CARS just for the sake of being a nice guy.
They want something in return.
They want the pell-mell rush of late last summer/early September when thousands if not millions of people ramgaged through their stores to secure the 8 CARS … and of course while you are there to buy up soap, DVD’s, bait and lard (well, that’s the reason I shop at WM ;-) ).
And because WM can giveth and taketh away, Mattel is willing to comply. Yes, they know exclusives are annoying to some customers but the other side of an exclusive is they know a retailer will order a set amount and agree to promote it … so Mattel is keeping one new CAR per shipment but moving everything else “new” to WM for the next couple months.
I have no idea if this set of WM exclusives will be 6 or 8 but I would find any other reasoning for Mattel suddenly pulling back on the “new” CARS lacking – I simply do not believe (as some have speculated) that Mattel decided just to go cheap by not releasing these. We know from the charity set & the leaked photos from Hong Kong that several of the CARS are in production including the Security SUV so not only has Mattel already paid for the molds and materials, any “new” CARS released are still flying off the shelves – has any Mia & Tia lasted more than 5 minutes on store pegs?
There were also rumors that CASE G would be a WM exclusive – well, clearly Case G just wasn’t exciting enough for WM … I’m sure they said something to the effect of,
“Case G just doesn’t excite us … what would excite us enough to order 1 million CARS?”) (WM seems to have ordered around that last year for the 8 exclusives).
It is obviously a little risky for Mattel as other stores might cut back but if your Target’s are like mine – they’re not ordering more than a case or two anyway and while TRU’s tend to order more, both of them combined do NOT equal WM’s 3,800+ stores. So, for Mattel – it was not a difficult decision. WM is buying enough to make it an “event,” presumably with an ad in the flyer also – so the promotions of the line will bring in new kids and collectors … and/or the situation might not be so benign – WM might’ve said to Mattel, we want to corner the market on “new” CARS. Play ball with us or we’ll cut back to one box per store so Mattel had no choice … and of course as part of the agreement, Mattel cannot publically discuss the situation … either way, what’s done is done.
For Mattel, it’s not the worst situation. WM’s interest is ultimately beneficial to Mattel. Because of WM’s size and ordering power, if they lose a little interest in you, you as a manufacturer loses so whether you like it, loath it or whatever, WM matters and you have to keep them happy. While Target is interested in the latest toys to bring you in week after week, CARS is not a critical part of their business. It’s nice but they are simply not as interested in toys overall to strike a deal like WM’s or WM doesn’t allow them the opportunity and will make pouty faces (along with not writing you a check) when you offer exclusives to other companies – however you look at it. As for TRU, it’s a strange relationship where toy manufacturers try to prop up TRU as best they can to offset WM such as offering TRU the playsets as exclusives … but again, TRU has a little over 580 stores and Target has some 1,500 stores … about 50% of the number of WM stores … Mattel has to simply accept the situation – their rationalization is that CARS continues to sell for the most part, whether it’s Lightning McQueen, Chick Hicks or King, people continue to buy the CARS some of us have been looking at for nearly 20 months … they do not fly off the shelves like PCM Guido but it is steady. And who knows, the frenzy of the new WM exclusives might ignite a whoel new block of collectors who wonder if Lizzie is out …
Of course, for a consumer, the perspective is different – when your choice is narrowed to one store – no matter how large, it all depends on where you live and how much time you have to keep driving up to WM, personally, it’s much harder on the West Coast for me :-(
But, hey, it’s never dull collecting CARS, eh?
*(in reality, it’s more since shipments tend to spill onto to the next ones and new ones are included in the shipment following so by pulling 1 new one, it’s a cascading domino effect down the line in what you will see “new.”)
This is the chart showing Boxes F through J (no Box I) and what was announced before, what’s missing in red and the new assortment on the right.
Revised & Original 2008 listing here though after Box J, everything is up in the air now.
(While Mattel is at it, I think they need to save the launchers by trading out the race CARS for one or two Pit Crew members – I think most everyone knows where they can find Lightning, King & Nitroade …)
Your local Wm should be switching out this pallet of the new “green” Dale Jr #88 Mountain Dew AMP-National Guard car & merchandise …
For the new CARS one … technically, it’s not supposed to go up until 2/15/2008 – how compliant are most WM’s? In 2 of 3 stores around me, it’s already up and stripped bare of everything new but if it’s not up yet, look for it on the 15th and in another week, will it be restocked with the second wave of exclusives? Only time will tell … since WM’s backrooms leaks like a sieve, once we see CARS on eBay, we’ll know it’s another week or so before it’s supposed to hit. Guess we jumped the gun on guessing President’s Day … so the next weekend?
Some other people have brought up an interesting point – how long does Mattel have the license for a RED Dale Jr. #8 CAR? Is 2008 the last year and last time we’ll see the Pixar Dale Jr. #8? Is a “red car” trademarked and “trade-dressed” by DEI and or DEI & Budweiser? Though now DEI seems to have emptied their museum/store of Dale Jr’s red merchandise, does that technically mean they are “abandoning” it? Budweiser is now sponsoring the #9 Kasey Kahne car with what looks like essentially the same paint scheme though … so it will be interesting to see how this is all handled. It’s presumed most licensed-merchandise contracts are for a set period of time so it’ll be interesting to see what that period might be … so maybe the Dale Jr. CAR will be the next to be quietly retired (like the white rim FHH)?
REST OF CARS posts are here.