Mattel Disney Pixar CARS: The UK/Scotland Report

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From reader, jackdaddy2008 who has thoughtfully agreed to give us a report on CARS availability in the UK, specifically – Edinburgh, Scotland … If anyone else wants to report in from anywhere else on Earth, send it via email – make sure to include a couple photos …

SUBTITLED: So Who Really has all the Disney Diecast Cars in the UK?

On Thursday April 24th, I visited every retailer of Disney diecast Cars in Edinburgh to research their availability. For those of you who do not know, Edinburgh is the Capital city of Scotland and fourth largest UK city. It is very similar to London in regards to retail and has all the stores that most if not all towns and cities in the UK have. Chances are that you can buy more Disney diecast Cars in Edinburgh than you can in most American towns and small cities of similar size and demographic. Not as good choice or variety, but probably more units.
I visited –
2 ASDA WALMART
TOYS R US
2 BIG W/WOOLWORTHS
2 SAINSBURYS
TESCOS
JENNERS
JOHN LEWIS
DISNEY STORE

11 STORES!

(MET COMMENT: Humm, a slightly nicer building than the one we house our retail toys in …)


I must have looked at over 1000 die cast cars. Yellow Ramone, Green Ramone, Fred, Buzz & Woody, Sally and Dinoco McQueen are in abundance. Most stores had dozens of each. But not a lot else.

(John Lewis stores)

(MET COMMENT: UK Disney Store – the US Disney Stores do not carry this much stock of anything, let alone CARS … though now that the stores are coming back in the Disney fold, that might change however).
The much anticipated ‘new’ releases Anime Chuki and Lighting Ramone were not on any shelf. NOT ONE!

Ghost light Ramone, Pit Crew Fillmore, and Pit Crew Doc were not anywhere to be found either. Considering they have been out since February, this was quite surprising.
Only a few of the more recent releases (November) like RPM64, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mario Andretti etc. were available.

Sainsbury’s (probably the best retailer for Cars in Edinburgh) had all the pit row race launchers. Considering Octane Gain has never been released over here (Target is not in the UK),I found this surprising. Then I saw the price. £7.99 ($14) each! A movie moment is £5.99 ($12). Why are we being asked to pay this? I bought all of mine from the states for half that including insured shipping!

After looking at over 1000 die cast cars during all my visits, I only found 1 car that was worth buying. I bought a Mr. and Mrs King Movie moment that my son doesn’t have open. The same store also had the other 4 cars that would have been worth buying to sell. Rusteze movie moment and red Mia & Tia. I decided to let someone that needed them have them.

The Manager at Toys R Us revealed that they have 16 cases of new cars that are on a delivery pallet in the warehouse cellophane sealed! According to him, the rep from the seller (MATTEL?) has to give them clearance to open it. Basically they won’t until the other cars have sold! I half considered buying all their peg warming stock to flog at a loss on eBay just to get access to all their cases, but obviously I woke up and didn’t ask! It occurred to me that he was talking crap, and that most probably, the staff open all the cases and take the good ones. If we have to wait until they sell 32 yellow Ramones, then we should get those cases when the second movie comes out. That will be a nice bit of nostalgia!

I have watched staff meddle with cases before. It was in Jenner’s last year. An assistant was putting new cars out (Tex,Ferrari etc.) but pulled all the newer and rarer ones back and took them away? I wonder where?

When I was consulting a big retailer recently, all their staff used to get first choice on newer cars, and although not as blatant and dishonest as Jenner’s way, the cars would still be gone before the average consumer had a chance to get them.

So why do the staff open all the cases and take ‘the good ones’ before the consumer gets a chance to buy them. EBay obviously!

Recently, ALL of my Cars purchases have been on eBay. I have spent over $1000 this year alone. Shouldn’t that money have stayed in Britain? When I got home from my research I looked up eBay and found Chuki – dozens available from UK based sellers at a starting price of £5 ($10). Her buy it now prices was £10 $20) and there wasn’t a live auction with under a day left that hadn’t secured £7.50 ($15).

Maybe, there is a financial agreement involving eBay? They probably make more in listing fees than retailers do in sales/profit margins? And they don’thave a stock holding or delivery process.

I used to buy Cars to sell on eBay, but I have decided not to anymore. It’s just not morally right in my opinion, GROSSLY profiteering off someone else’s desperation for a child’s toy doesn’t help me sleep at night! If I was buying cases as a business, then yes I would, but going to the shops and clearing the shelves won’t happen anymore. I think it is lowlife stuff.

So why is it that the Cars are so scarce that we can only get them on eBay? Apparently if you look for them in America (go to one or 2 shops twice a week) you find new cars.

(MET: It varies from place to place)

The movie was a great success when released. Kids and adults loved it, and when it went to DVD it sold well, particularly as a Christmas gift. Merchandise sold well too.

At first, buying merchandise was great. The Golden age of Disney Cars collecting!
The Disney store had every die cast vehicle available and restocked weekly.Toys R Us were the same and most retailers with a decent toy selection did ok too. If you wanted to get a toy car, you went to the shop and bought it. Playsets, gift packs and race tracks were easily found.

Then something happened.

Like most consumers, MATTEL probably didn’t know how well die cast 1.55’s would sell, and released the 12 back cards, initial play sets and then 16-backed as test markets. If sales were good, (which they obviously were) then they would release more items and choice.

This is where I think they simply got it horribly wrong.

Supercharged was launched (remember how exciting it was when buzz & woody came out?!)………..THEN………Sarge was recalled……….Consumer demand went throughthe roof……………Mattel!……….. Staggered……hesitated……..slowed the market down!

Why?

Mattel will most probably say –
“……….. The credit crunch has affected sales and production……..”
“…..sales in the Fisher price division were down 13% percent….”
“……….it’s the retailers ordering systems fault….”
“……….the recalled Sarge affected consumer confidence and sales slipped…….”
“………..they cost too much to make…………..”

I have some answers to all these claims.

The credit crunch has mainly affected the housing markets, high pricedluxury good purchases and business start ups. Joe average is not going to stop buying $3 – $10 toys because of it and there is no evidence that they ever have or will. In fact, people feeling the pinch financially will probably spend more time at home, rather than go away for the weekend, eat out etc. What happens when people stay at home more? They find cheaper ways to entertain and amuse themselves, for little kids that’s usually with TOYS!

The 13% lost by Fisher Price somehow having any relevance to the way cars have been produced and sold is ridiculous. If Cars IS the new Star Wars, then Mattel should be enjoying record profits and not worrying too much about FisherPrice. How often do opportunities like Cars come along for a toy company to exploit?

If there is a problem with the retailers ordering systems, then they should be changed. If stores have 20 yellow Ramones and 15 Buzz and Woody’s lying around collecting dust and the retailer selling them refuses to order new Cars product until they sell, then the manufacturer or owner (whoever is the main marketer) should intervene and solve the problem!

The recalled Sarge did not ruin sales, if anything it put them up, because toy collector’s ears were pricked when it happened and they started collecting. The market probably grew. Sure, I accept that some people shied away due to the health risk, but how many and essentially, FOR HOW LONG?!

They cost too much to make? Well if that’s true, add a buck to the price and release more new ones that currently sell on eBay at twice and three times theprice.
MY THEORY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

MATTEL HAVE SIMPLY, WELL AND TRULY MESSED UP!

Just look at this years release schedule! I count over 50 announced as being released in 2008 as still to be released, and its now May.

If the much criticised Motor Speedway of the south set is a tester, sneakpeak pre sale of single cars, that number is over 70, and with Christmas nearly looming (yes in retail it starts looming in July), MATTEL have set themselves a huge task getting these Cars out before then! I estimate that in order to meet demand and give themselves a good shot before Christmas, they will have to release 70 different packaging styles of Car in 6 – 7 months, which is 10 amonth!

IT SIMPLY WILL NOT HAPPEN!

The problem in my opinion is the way they are sending the cars.

The policy of 12 cars nobody wants or needs in a case with some that we do needs to stop.

IT NEEDS TO STOP!

There is no excuse for 32 yellow Ramones, 15 buzz and woody’s, 16 Sally’s and 13 Dinoco McQueen’s to be on the shelves with nothing else! Neither is it acceptable for my 4 year old son to only be able to get the newer toy car forhis collection at 300 times its rrp.

If the newer ones were more common, the eBay thing would cancel itself out (some cars struggle to get shelf value now).

Also, people feel ripped off, not just financially, but time wise. Parents think ‘what’s the point’. This should be fun not a job!
SO…………………..

I would like to get a petition done; start right here on this forum!

Get as many signatures as you can for the revision of case shipping from MATTEL, so that we can all get the Cars we want at the right price, hopefully before we die.
Failing that, MATTEL should just deal direct with eBay.

Has that happened already without them realising?

(MET COMMENT: Not to shill our own book but several chapters in the book is devoted to the retail distribution situation we have had to put up with and our speculation 🙂 or 😦 )

(MET COMMENT: So, thanks Mark – clearly passionate about CARS 🙂 …).

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21 Comments

Filed under Advertising, Film, Marketing, Mattel Disney Pixar CARS, Media, Retail, Toys, TV

21 responses to “Mattel Disney Pixar CARS: The UK/Scotland Report

  1. Martin

    Well, I’d have to agree with Mark. We came fairly late to CARS collecting, for our (almost) four year old, but effectively in the last 9 months we have managed to get 30 cars in retail stores in the UK, and another 30 we have imported from the States (mainly from CTC, thanks guys!)….

    Basically, the new stuff never seems to hit the shelves effectively here, and it’s same old same old all the time. I live 100 miles north of Mark in Aberdeen and the best retailers we have for CARS are Sainsburys (a UK supermarket chain) and Woolworths (yep, still existing here!)……… Wal-Mart and the like are terrible.

    Our local TRU has squeezed all the CARS merchandise into the centre of one aisle, probably no more than a couple of shelves and 8 pegs!

    I have had purchased some bargains from Ebay, but they are few and far between (mainly due to the weak $). I don’t share Mark’s view about selling on Ebay, because to me it’s supply and demand – but I won’t start items with a ridiculous price. I sold a duplicate Barney Stormin for £6.50 (+-$14) not so long ago, but if someone choose to pay over the odds, for it, so be it. You CANNOT get a Green Chick in the UK for love or (reasonable) money – what’s that all about!

    My son ADORES this film, so much that we are taking him to Disneyland Paris next year pretty much just for the CARS ride. Mattel really do need to get their finger out if they are to sustain interest before CARS 2 comes out.

    This is being continually likened to the original Star Wars trilogy toys, which I remember well and still have in my father’s attic (bashed, played with and generally abused!) – and whilst I remember there being plenty of peg-warmers in that range (Dengar, anyone) there was always a good chance of getting something you didn’t have. It doesn’t seem to be like that for UK CARS fans at the moment!

  2. jackdaddy2008

    I have a green supercharged chick in mint conditon available buddy.

    You can have it for shelf value.

  3. jackdaddy2008, that would be superb. Email is above, just remove_ and I’ll make arrangements…..

    This site rocks 😉

  4. Martin

    Hmm, that didn’t seem to work. Maybe Metroxing would pass on my email to you?

  5. jackdaddy2008

    Martin,

    you can reach me at my ebay address – jackdaddy2008
    or look up this reference number on ebay – 160232236322

  6. Jeff

    I am in the US and I am an opener, just trying to get one of everything for me and my kids to play with. I got up early this morning and went with my daughter to Target for the 8am opening. There were 6 people in line for Wii’s, and one guy who walked back with us and checked out the Hot Wheels. We went back to the Cars section which is always 50% empty pegs. They had Lightning Ramone but no Chuki. I am also very frustrated with the rate at which new Cars are coming out. I do not understand why Mattel reduced the number of new models per case. I would love a chance to voice my frustration to Mattel. And to ask where is Sarge already? How do you not have a major character like that out again while you have thousands of unsold Woody and Buzz?

    This site does rock – I check it everyday. Thanks

    (MET: Thanks. For anyone interested, I’ll do a “contact” page post. 🙂 )

  7. jackdaddy2008

    Petition is needed!

    They should just release cases with new cars along with cases of old, and get rid of this ridiculous system where 3 news cars accompany loads of old ones that everyone has!

    IT DOESN’T WORK MATTEL!

  8. steve12345789

    Mark

    Really enjoyes reading your post.
    I could have written it myself, it’s that familair to me. I live in in rural Licolnshire but have strong links with Edinburgh.
    In fact, my daughter went to visit her gran up there 2 weeks ago and trogged round the stores on your list, but found nothing apart from the usual 35 yellow Ramones and 150 standars Lightning McQueens.
    What started off for me as a bit of fun has turned out to be a pain in the proverbial. My 5 year old daughter started me off on the cars and I become rather addicted (I’m sure you recognise this syndrome).
    Round here we have Sainsburys, Asda, Woolworths, John Lewis, Tesco and Argos.
    I have been trawling round these stores for about 6 months and have found nothing “unusual” apart from the usual suspects. The only exception was the gold Mia & Tia 3 pack which I found in Argos in Lincoln.
    I am very suprised you managed to find a Mr & Mrs the King, and 1 other unisual one. Which store did you find that in btw?

    So, like all other non Americans, it’s been an Amazon and E-bay job, coupled with a drain on my bank account.

    Three weeks ago I popped into Sainsburys in Grantham and found a friendly assistant who took me to the store room and opened up 6 boxes of singles and let me trawl through the lot. Same old story, nothing unusual.

    It is very frustrating that the newer cars are only available Stateside. The Speedway of the South set is the biggest joke of all. It would be easier to have tea with the queen than to get one of those.

    I’ll sign your petition any day mate.

    Martin siad he got some from CTC – not sure what that is. Can anyone explain?

    Oh well. Must’nt grumble!!

  9. jackdaddy2008

    steve12345789 –

    CTC is Childrens Toy Closet.com

    The guys who organise this board/forum run it.

    (MET: Note – They are a sponsor only. We are not part of their business and vice versa. We do often recommend them not only because the guy running CTC is a great guy but they were the first to sell sealed cases at a reasonable price (unlike others who mark up something 100%+) just so you know.

    Its a brilliant and reasonably priced US based alternative to ebay for new/rare cars, and they take paypal!

    This is not a dig, but I personally think they are sometimes a little understocked (but hey, who isn’t), and as a result I haven’t bought from them yet due to the shipping not working out as worthwhile. However, they do good pre-sales and don’t rip you off. I am buying a couple of Banshees from them and a few others things too.

    I think there is a link on this page?

    I know about Argos, if you can get in with a member of staff that works there, your laughing! So far I haven’t had much luck, I offered a guy £20 a month to keep an eye out and phone me when new stuff comes in. The advantage with this is there is no shelf as such, its all in a warehouse, so you are effectively buying an opportunity to inspect/get first choice of their cases, and he has staff discount! He actually declined, probably because the staff ebay!

    Sainsburys have been the most consistent and this is where I got my rarer Mr & Mrs king, and who had Rusteze/red mia & tia.

    I basically check out Sainsburys twice a week, Asda whenever I can (my gym is next to it), Woolworths once a week and the others whenever I can. The mornings are the best times, but I have noticed that Toys r us seem to do their car shelf stocking in the afternoon midweek.

    Try going to the Sainsburys that are a little out of town, in big random retail parks!

    Woolworths is good, but their bigger stores, BIG W are better. They order more cases of die cast than TRU, but people are starting to work out their delivery system and I think their staff are at it, as seems to be the big problem with cars along with poor release/distributing problems.

    I find that ebay works out better for a lot of my Cars, purely because it saves me time and hassle, but this is usually bulk buys form America.

    I have their permission, and would be happy to pass on your details to my sellers, 2 of which are fantastic! 1 of them is a true gent, and as we have got to know each other, he has virtually stopped profiteering from me.

    My next bulk buy from him, is a ridiculously cheap lot of cars, and it will probably included a speedway of the south set!

    We basically agree to make a listing, he lists it at the agreed buy it now price, and I buy it before anyone else has seen it! It works out at least 25% cheaper than over here (including insured shipping), its more efficient and saves me time trawling the shops.

    It shouldn’t be like this though!

    I could go into business myself, but can’t be bothered mailing toy cars every day, I make tons more money doing my real job in less time, so arrangements like this suit me.

    Once there is a bit more interest, I will type out a petition, and hopefully the admin guys will post it for readers to print off and send.

  10. steve12345789

    jackdaddy2008

    Thanks for the reply. It’s greatly appreciated.
    I checked out the CTC website and it could be quite promising, though they are out of stock of most of the individual hard to find cars. Also, if ordering a case, they come with the proviso “Slated to Include but could change at mattels discretion”, which is a big concern.

    Argos is really difficult. Because they use the same catalog number for all 3 packs, you cannot check on line what they actually have. You must go into the shop and asking for an inspection first.

    None of the Sainsburys around here have ever stocked Movie Moments so I am suprised you have had luck there.

    Yes please pass on my details to your 2 American e-bay sellers. That would be fantastic.
    You will need my e-mail address.

    Mr Moderator (sorry, don’t know your name). Would you be kind enough to pass this on to jackdaddy2008.

    Thanks

    Steve

  11. jackdaddy2008

    Steve, just look up my id on ebay – jackdaddy2008 and look at one of my items for sale and ask me a question. You can type your email in the question.

  12. Alan

    As a worker for the uk’s largest toy retailer i can confirm that mattel say when and what we can put on the shelf’s lately it has been limited to two cases a week and in those cases there is nothing new even though card backs show pit crew guido and race official tom there has never been any in the cases and the movie moments have been poor also many the exclusive slider cards with mcqueen and mater 2 packs only once have we had rusteze,mia and tia,flik and flea and mr and mrs the king and they didnt even make the shelves as other staff members took them(not a perk of the job i may add)

  13. jackdaddy2008

    So its all Mattels fault!

    Surely not!

    hahahaha

    I just got off the phone with people at Disney yesterday.

    They are concerned, Mattel are pissing them off, but a contract is a contract and they do make nice cars.

    Its been this year that has caused most concern, because last year taught both Disney and Mattel the lessons they needed. Disney don’t care if its WOC, Supercharged or whatever, they just want to make as much money as possible and for their existing customers and new customers to come back.

    Fact of the matter is, Mattel don’t release the product properly.

    It seems increasingly likely that some boy wonder retail dick is pulling all the tricks he has learned off his ruthless mentors in regard to these products, probably because he is chasing promotion or trying to get a big fat bonus.

    Problem is, they are kids toys, consumers now hate the company he/she works for and the client (Disney) aren’t happy!

    Hope the bonus and promotion is more valuable to everyone than the PR damage caused?!

    Heads are going to roll, which will mess up near releases but should sort out the long term.

    There is no reason why new cases cant be released with old, in fact it would make more sense, because sales would increase and they would still be able to force drop older models for newer collectors!

    Imagine –

    “yes walmart, you can have exclusives but you can only buy a case of chuki if you take a case of the older ones.”

    or

    “yes toysrus you can have new cases at a ratio of 1 new to 2 old.”

    THIS IS NOT COMPLICATED!

    The ebay thing and staffs sticky fingers are a result of poor distribution.

    ITS THAT SIMPLE!

    For goodness sake, change it MATTEL!

    What do they think people are doing?
    Buying Cars they already have to ease the fix!?

    IDIOTS!

  14. MarkUK

    My girlfriend and I had collected a few Cars before Christmas after seeing the film, it was only in February that we started to seriously collect them seriously. We’ve managed to get around 60 cars in that time, so we’ve been pretty lucky. I think the only UK released car we’ve not found is Octane Gain (and maybe Gasprin/Towcap. Not sure if this has been released here).

    Sainbury’s has probably been the best source and I’m lucky enough to have 3 branches of The Entertainer within 10 miles. My luckiest find last week was Flik/Flea in Woolworths.

    I was able to recently help out a member looking for one of the playsets and he very kindly sourced Flo’s V8 cafe and some cars for me. And after showing photos on carsthetoys.com of some customs I was working on, a couple of members expressed an interest in them which has led to some more trades.

    So once all the trades are done we’ll have around 90 cars including about 6 customs I have done.

  15. jackdaddy2008

    Gasprin and tow cap have been more or less exclusively America so far due to the cases they come in, but are available online from UK sellers?

    Toys r us might be your best bet, but to be honest, I think its going to be june/july before whatever problem Mattel have is sorted out, because there are loads of cars I have, that I haven’t seen on any shelf.

    Octane gain has only been released as a pit row launcher, but is also available in the ‘Target’ exclusive gift set – again, America only!

    Sainsburys best for the launcher, and I can hook you up with a seller of the gift pack which also includes no stall and vinyl toupee too.

  16. Gervart

    i’m in london (and strangely addicted to cars collecting) and can always find places to get. I go to all the shops above whenever I pass. My luck however seems to be greater than yours when it comes to visiting these places. why today i found flea and flik and dinoco mia and tia. i bought them but if anybody wants them just message me and they are yours (for retail price of course)
    btw you forget to mention argos. they sell boxes of 3 cars £8.99 but its a bit of a lottery as you don’t know what’s in each

  17. jackdaddy2008

    Its Chuki & Lightining ramone I need plus the others that are just coming out this week.

    I have all the other World of Cars releases like Tow, Pit guido, doc, filmore, tom, etc, but have never seen them on a shop shelf.

    I got all my supercharged movie moments form shops, and most of my world of cars movie moments online.

    Is been this year that has been a farce.

    The Argos in Edinburgh don’t look out for you, but I have them already anyway, just waiting on the new ones, which are out next week.

    The problem I have is with the fact that Mattel simply do not releases enough new/newer Cars, and the way they send cases, its stupid.

  18. Gervart

    I guess its box E next week you are referring to? we wont get chuki or lighting ramone for another 2 months i reacon. thats the usual case!

  19. jackdaddy2008

    I’m really not sure bud, I have bought Pit crew fillmore and doc off the shop shelf and before that the supercharged releases of earnhardt, fred, andretti etc.

    Everything else released recently was from ebay.

    I am now thinking that Chuki and the rest have only arrived in the uk with ebay sellers who have bought cases from the states, so yeah, you are probably right, it will be 2 months or so?

    The weirdest thing though is that when I was shopping yesterday, 3 major Cars retailers seemed to have stocked up with loads of supercharged again?

    Kinda weird considering we are supposed to be going WOC?

    I have been told that there is French guy quite high up in European distribution who has apparently just been threatened with the sack if he doesn’t get things sorted out very soon though.

    People at Disney are bewildered as to why Asda UK hasn’t had the exclusives Walmart US has and the delay between American releases vs uk is too long.

    This year has been ridiculous.

  20. james

    hi i live in mussel burgh and was in asda this week just as the shelves had been filled got tom pace car not chuck chuki red and blue mia and tia , and went to trus and asked a lady to look for an orange car(octain gain) she came from the back with a box of launchers and it had one in the box. i now have more than 70 cars and have only got cactus mcqueen from e bay. just keep your chin up its all part of the fun.

  21. Chris

    Hey guys, I just went to Walmart and I grabbed 3 extra Stacey’s for my fellow collectors on this site. If you are interested, I would just be expecting to be reimbursed (I think they were $3.79) and have someone pay for shipping.

    I’ll keep them for a few days, and if no one is interested, I’ll just take them back.

    If you are interested in a trade, the only thing I need is Flea/Flik. (unless there are other new releases besides the blimp I’m unaware of). Please contact me directly at: cdurrant801@hotmail.com

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