Monthly Archives: May 2008

Mattel Disney Pixar CARS: CARS Cube is Back at Wal-Mart


By the way, Wal Mart calls the area in front/near toys – The Action Alley Display area … makes linoleum sound pretty exciting, huh? Wal Mart loves them because by maneuvering a pallet from the back room to the floor, removing some poly wrap – it’s a DISPLAY!

This is the first one we’ve had in Wal-Mart blue versus CARS red … who is collecting the WM display cubes? πŸ™‚ So Don’t complain you need shelf space for all the CARS, just be glad you’re not collecting display pallets!

As you might’ve noticed, it’s packed full of Pit Row Race Off Launchers on one side with two new ones as launchers: RPM & No Stall and new outside the Speedway Set, TRUNK FRESH at $7.94 … (already marked down from the Speedway set at $8.30 πŸ˜‰ ) – and here you get a launcher also. While some of you poo-poo the whole launcher branch of the line, it’s actually very sturdy & a solid piece of kit. The first two waves were less enticing but now for those who didn’t want the Motor Speedway set or for those who are keeping the Speedway set snug in their plastic cocoon’s or who lost their Trunk Fresh in the great vacuum tragedy of May 23, 2008, your replacement CAR awaits you at WM along with a launcher.

On the other side of the cube are what seems to be the equivalent of CASE M:

Al Oft the Lightyear Blimp
Bling Bling Lightning McQueen
Bug Mouth Lightning McQueen
Charlie Checker
Chick Hicks
Cruisin’ Ramone
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Doc Hudson
Hydraulic Ramone
Lightning McQueen
Pit Crew Member Guido
Radiator Springs McQueen
Stacy (Leakless Pitty)

Stacy (Leakless Pitty) is the only really new CAR (available in NEW and blank, of course). Al Oft is new to WOC card as is Hydraulic Ramone. I did not see a version of Al Oft with the NEW snipe but if following the pattern of the other WM 8 re-releases holds true, there should be one.

You’re probably also wondering where CASE K is since K generally precedes M … well, they should be hitting the shelves and floor also in the next couple weeks. Since, the new price increase hits on June 1, no reason to empty the warehouses before then πŸ™‚ so whether the WM passes along the price increase, that remains to be seen … (we have seen 😦 )I think Target & TRU are generally quicker to pass new wholesale costs along.

So, in a few days or not much later after that, look for CASE K:

Bug Mouth McQueen (2)
Crusin’ Lightning McQueen
Darrell Cartrip
Dinoco Helicopter
Dudley Spare
Ferrari F430
Lightning Ramone
Luke Pettlework (
Dinoco Pitty) (2)
Pit Crew Member Fabulous Hudson Hornet
Pit Crew Member Guido
Race Official Tom
Tongue Lightning McQueen
Van (2)

Truly NEW – of course, the much anticipated VAN (coolest looking minivan ever) and Luke Pettlework (Dinoco Pitty).

AND before June ends, we should see Case P:

Bug Mouth McQueen
Fabulous Hudson Hornet
Kathy Copter (3)
Mario Andretti
Petrol Pulaski (RPM #64 Pitty) (3)
Race Official Tom
Radiator Springs McQueen

Tongue Lightning McQueen
Tar Lighting McQueen (3)

If you need photos of any of the new solo card releases – check out this post.

And in the words of Bachman-Turner AND Overdrive, “You ain’t see nothin’ yet.”

Lots more stuff coming, CARS ain’t no opera – no fat lady singing.

CARS: Now & Forever (You Will Never Be Caught Up!)

From “Mike,” photos that will just set our European readers on edge … CARS all over the place and in USD $2.97 …

The other two sides of the Cube are the Stunt CARS (above) and the new Mack Transporter with the 3 Tuners.

It looks like there are plenty of Stacy in each shipment so getting one shouldn’t be too much of a problem. And since Trunk Fresh & No Stall are a few bucks more, they won’t fly off as fast. Enjoy! Good luck!


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

Mattel Disney Pixar CARS – The Top 10 “Rarest” + New “Chase” Surprise Coming …

THIS Post has been updated and moved to our new – Simply click on the text link or the logo above. Thanks!


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

Mattel Disney Pixar CARS – Still 100% SELLOUT on eBay (with 11 minutes to spare!)

The Motor Speedway of the South Piston Cup race set continues to roll like a real life Katamari Damacy – and like the game, now at this level, it is just rollin’ & sucking in people right and left and no matter how you struggle, you are in the big ball and there is no getting out πŸ™‚

Yep, after a week and over 60 auctions of the actual set itself – 100% compliance.

That’s right – EVERY full set that has been listed has sold. EVERY SINGLE ONE!

Something like 65 for 65!

Resistence is futile.

We had the closest call today a couple hours ago. One auction went down to 11 minutes left on a one day BUY-IT-NOW auction before someone somewhere went AHHHHHHH!!!!! and then went click-click-click-click BUY IT NOW! BUY IT NOW! BUY IT NOW! (okay, maybe that’s just how I shop on eBay ;- ) )

With 11-minutes to spare … we’re still “perfect.”

The next BUY IT NOW auction with no bidding opportunity is at $750 in 3 days with all the auctions ending before that – all seemingly meeting reserve – so, we are probably a good three days or another 6 auctions before we might face the next test. Of course, anyone can step in and click BUY IT NOW between now and then to move the bar further away but it looks like we can pretty much safety say, Motor Speedway of the South – eBay 100% sellout – in May 2008.

Or at the end of May – something like 70 for 70 and presuming a selling price of around $650 – that’s about $45,000 worth of this set on top of the $300,000 Mattel received on the 20th or about $350,000 in retail sales for less than 2 weeks. I think even Warren Buffet would like those numbers.

For CARS, it’s 2006 again – what economic problems? What inflation? What credit problem?

How many other items are 70 for 70 – nevermind about $650 for an average selling price?

(There was one set of the individual CARS only (no box) that didn’t meet reserve at $730+ but that’s an oddity – also some individual CARS with BUY IT NOW pricing set a prices a bit too high and didn’t sell but if you have the complete kit with the CARS – you can do no wrong – from $600 to $800, we’ll take it!)

So, we’ll see in three days if CARS Motor Speedway of the South can stay at 100% …

This thing is still SMOKIN’, SIZZLIN’ and BLAZIN’!


Filed under Advertising, Checklist, collecting, Computing, Film, Internet, Marketing, Mattel Disney Pixar CARS, Media, Retail, Toys, TV

Mattel Disney Pixar CARS: Motor Speedway of South – Future Value

Reader Matt asks about its future value … while there is no definitive answer, here are some things to keep in mind.

There’s not a lot of history to gauge, for some collectibles, there are some similar things like you can look at the Speed Racer Barbie and compare it to a “Fast & Furious” Barbie and sort of project its future worth and you also have a reasonable expectation of how others display, hide or protect their Barbies to retain their value.

With this set, there is not much to go by – first, there are not very many examples of “general interest” $300 sets of diecast available even limited to 1,000 pieces around … sure, there are $300 1:24 or 1:12 scale diecast CARS but 98% of collectors would shrug to name them … CARS, everyone knows but will people care 5 years or 10 years down the line? Yes, most likely – especially with the sequel coming out in 4 years but if every Piston Cup racer gets re-released, does that effectively negate its value to the racetrack & box … so MAYBE only a Mattel cardboard still sealed and NEVER opened retains the maximum value for this set? You could argue that – let’s say 100 never get opened and the Mattel box is mint and in 5-10 years, it’s worth X.

But what is that mythical X amount worth to you to just store, carry around and preserve a cardboard with something inside? (temperature controlled surroundings – like a closet instead of the garage, etc …) That’s something only you can answer – you just have to look at the prices of the sets selling for this first week – one person made approximately $50 return on buying & selling the set, another person made about $475 after costs … of course, your age, your income and your interest play a great part in valuing things – and of course, the return and effort is all relevant. You might list a magazine you see is selling for $20 because if you sell it, you can just drop it in an envelope to ship it but if you could make $20 selling an old ‘fridge, would you bother? For some people, it’s easy and fun to photograph an item to list for sale, for others – it’s tedium and work. Or look at baby boomers and muscle cars, 40 years ago, even though a muscle car was usually around $4k, scraping together that kind of cash was impossible but now, $60k to buy a driveable muscle car (not even a museum one), sure, why not – just as with this set, for most adults, they remember their college days – who had $300 dollars they could spend randomly then but now, it’s a bottle of wine for a special dinner … 6 hours later, what was that we drank?

So, let’s say a totally sealed box is worth $2k in 10 years, is it worth it to you to know you can have $2k in a 3 foot box? But because the set is so uncommon and Mattel never got around to releasing two of the CARS in any form (they got distracted by the 11,000 CARS in CARS2 πŸ™‚ ) maybe even the open ones are worth 90% or about $1,800 so is it worth $20 a year you’re “losing” to play with them? Or for those number crunchers, note – right now, your set is worth about $700 with minimal effort to sell and maybe $750 with a little more effort … so, even at $2k in 10 years, your appreciation is about $150 a year – not a bad return on $350 in 2008 but that’s if everything plays out accordingly. What if in 10 years, the set sells for $700? Then the appreciation has hit in 1 week and growth essentially went to ZERO for the next 9 years and 50 weeks – now, not such a good investment … things are impossible to predict. There are some toys – even recent ones that worth twice what the store sold them for and of course, there are dozens of examples of toys worth $10 and like a real car, depreciates to a few dollars (in CARS, someone paid over $150 for a Crusin’ McQueen on a SC card – now maybe $2?). Conversely, the Motor Speedway set would’ve returned 30% in TWO hours even before the RLC Club offer closed … worth it or not worth it to you to sell right then and there – there was a profit just waiting to be made.

And as I noted before, you might actually have more bidders for an open set because some people think – if I buy a sealed set, I won’t want to open it – defeating the purpose of buying it so they might be willing to pay nearly as much for a set you had fun with and that they have no excuse not to also play with … I sold off a bunch of redline Hot Wheels that were well played and loved – some even missing wheels but they did not sell for a lot less than ones in much better condition … presumably because they had no excuse not to swap out the wheels or repaint them. And to circle back – you never know – all those people who were eager for Roger Clemons to go into the Hall of Fame so all their memorabilia would be worth tons more … now, suddenly, that rookie card they paid $800 for? Now, not so much.

I think it comes down to this. Whatever happens happens. One reason why Hemi muscle cars are worth so much – a lot of people thought, why bother with a Hemi for a few hundred dollar more for just 20 or 30 more horses … now, worth several hundred thousand dollars more or people who bought DeLoreans because they thought they would be classics – very little actual appreciation – you never know – so just be true to yourself. Some things retain value in spite of everything and other things are pristine but no one cares. Because you can argue that spending $340 on a thing you store away is not the best way to spend $340 also, right? It’s all perspective – so as everything is all about the Star Wars … either stare at your kid and say, “these are not the CARS you’re looking for …” or the other thing πŸ™‚

If you like to collect and keep them in cards, mint and in boxes – neatly organized – great. You do that. We might want to buy them from you someday. If you & your kids want to chip them and smash them – great, that’s what toys are for and in some way, you are contributing to the greater good of all collectors and you’ve take one more off the market as it were πŸ™‚ … so there’s value and there’s value – there’s value in taking out your objects and appreciating their beauty or the value in play (whether with your kids or just yourself) … it’s one thing not to hang a Van Gogh in your 2-year old kid’s room πŸ™‚ and another to not play with a mass produced item … and don’t get carried away in trying to determine appreciation and depreciation for everything. Because like the baby boomers who might be spending $60k to buy their childhood dream, if your net worth is now $1 million, what’s $60k … what are you saving it for? Same with this set, maybe it is worth $3k in 10 years but if filling a tank of gas is $300, big whoop, right? πŸ™‚ and 😦

So, you do the voodoo you do and I will re-enact the great crash in the Piston Cup race – get out a grinder to all the CARS and smash up Mood Springs … make a diorama and sell it for $5k πŸ™‚


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

Mattel Disney Pixar CARS: Motor Speedway of South – Gather ‘Round Kids, Here’s your eBay MBA Story …

As a marketing guy, people’s behaviors, crowd behavior and mobs fascinate me – and of course, the Motor Speedway of the South has turned out to be more fascinating than most – you can go all the way back when the rumors starting percolating, then the unauthorized photo leaks and then of course, the rumors on releases, on pricing and on production numbers. Frankly, it was all fun – the guessing, the anticipation and the buzz it generated … but ultimately, no matter how much you try and get all the info out there – there’s always one in every crowd as posted on the HW Collector’s Club forum on May 21st … “Did these go on sale?”

Um, yeah.

So, now of course, we enter the phase known as the “secondary market.” While they could turn up live in person at toy shows and such, the easiest way to sell is of course, eBay.

Personally, I have nothing against eBay – sure I’m as annoyed as the next guy when I can’t find what I want but eBay has hundreds … but it’s hard to rail against supply, demand the whole free enterprise thing. If no one is buying, the listings go away … for instance, there’s not a lot of listings for toilet paper … πŸ™‚ so it must be something enticing if others want it. So, you can draw your own conclusions. Just as if you found a Blu Ray McQueen for a dollar, there are literally billions of people who would question why you spend $1 for a toy, so not everyone stands where you, or I stands …

On that note, I present to you the Motor Speedway of the South One Week later.

On May 20, 2008 – from 9:00 AM to 11:25 AM, the Motor Speedway of the South was at the Hot Wheels Collectors Club for $341.85

This is presuming three additional things:

You just signed at the RL Club to buy this item (which includes $29.90 for the membership.

You are not paying for expedited or Canadian shipping (an extra $5 to $15.00).

And you do not live in Wisconsin or Texas – where you have to pay another $20 dollars in taxes.

(Also note – the time is my time zone here n the West Coast US – that’s much less important than that it was a sellout in 2 hours and 25 minutes. It actually took a few more minutes to sell out but it can take 1-3 minutes to navigate through the menus and every once in a while, people have items in the cart and when they reach the final SUBMIT, it becomes sold out – which probably happen to a few people who got on at 11:28 …)

In theory, if you’re a ‘power seller’ of diecasts, you could prorate the membership costs since almost everything on the RLC is in limited supply and easy to resell, let’s divide that membership cost to 8 items across 2008 so instead of adding $29.90 to the MSoS set, let’s just add $3.75 and rounding up slightly, let’s just call it $316.00 out the door and on your doorstep. Presume that your time is NOT money and your time spent making the listing is not money but however, eBay fees and Paypal fees are … let’s just say 10% for both … meaning your final out of your door cost is @$347.26 ($316 + @10% for fees).

So, what is a righteous price to sell it for?

So, on May 20, 2008 – between 9:00 AM to 11:25 AM, the Motor Speedway of the South was at the Hot Wheels Collectors Club for $341.85 for those who joined just to own a set.

For those who bought a set on eBay between 9:00 and 11:25 (my time), the average selling price was $451.98 (including shipping).

These are the average prices for all sets sold that closed on a particular day or time period.

May 20, 2008

$341.85 – HWC 9-11:25 AM
$451.98 – eBay 9-11:25 AM
$483.98 – eBay 11:26 AM to 11:59 PM

May 21, 2008

$502.24 – eBay 12:01 AM to 11:59 PM

May 22, 2008

$507.50 – eBay 12:01 AM to 11:59 PM

May 23, 2008

$595.75 – eBay 12:01 AM to 11:59 PM

May 24, 2008

$602.50 – eBay 12:01 AM to 11:59 PM

May 25, 2008*

$665.33 – eBay 12:01 AM to 11:59 PM

May 26, 2008**

$766.06 – eBay 12:01 AM to 11:59 PM

May 27, 2008

$706.98 -eBay 12:01 AM to 11:59 PM

* Indicates the first actual bidding auctions closed (not BUY IT NOW).

** US Holiday.

Blue is the price of $340 – what you would’ve paid and orange is the selling price starting within the RL still selling window.

There have been 53 auctions that have closed, 48 were auctions that closed due to BUY IT NOW, BUY IT NOW was the only option or BEST OFFER was accepted – after 1 week, only 5 have been actual auctions. But because there were so many BUY IT NOW sets offered, it’s impossible to say with any certainty what effect it had on the actual auctions other than taking away some buyers – the bottom line is that the few actual bidding auctions that closed on the days with all the multitude of other BUY IT NOW transactions closing were neither the highest nor lowest price of that day.

Presumably, sellers were leery of someone sneaking off with a bargain so BUY IT NOW prices were set high and kept moving higher (since the above pricing pricing pattern reflects 95% BUY IT NOW pricing) … for instance, the first seller sold off six sets. He accepted the first bid of $365 on May 20 before the HW Club had finished selling – on May 23, he sold off his last one for $500.

Another seller (wisely?) waited until May 22 after he received his shipment to start selling – his pricing on the three sets sold went from a BUY IT NOW pricing of $490 to $649 to $759 in three days and these ALL SOLD – the last one in just over an hour from the eBay listing … So, while he did beat the early listings, in this & other cases, the setting of a BUY IT NOW pricing early on the first week meant some sellers left money on the table as the first and only actual auction (a 5-day auction) on May 20 went for $611 5-days later for an average of over $140 more than the BUY IT NOW pricing of May 20 or as a percentage – about 27% not garnered.

Of course, even if people are not math whizzes, they can sense the spin of the roulette table as now the split is 80% auctions and BUY IT NOW pricing is now set (on May 27) in the $800-$1,500 range. Now, there are enough ‘players’ who are bidding to assure that the maximum pricing is reached instead of arbitrarily trying to guess the direction of the market with BUY IT NOW especially when it is moving this fast?

How fast?

Here’s your ROI (return on investment)

This is presuming you are buying to sell – so your outlay is @$347.26 as a ‘power seller’ who is pro-rating your RLC membership buy paying eBay & PayPal fees (just so everyone can play, if you’re not planning on selling and just signed up to buy, your outlay of $341.85 is just about 2% difference from these numbers).

ROI After 2 Hours?


After 12.5 Hours


On May 21 (end of day)


May 22


May 23


May 24


May 25


May 26


May 27


Yea, it’s like it’s 2001 and I’m buying a stock. Except of course … like any stock, when do you sell and when do you buy?

(and note, this is the cumulative return from Day 1 to each day not price growth each & everyday on top of the previous day … that would just be ridiculous πŸ™‚ )

Sure, if you’re a robot, something you bought is now worth 104% of what you paid a week ago, do you sell? But what is its REPLACEMENT VALUE?

That no one can say, because even “investment-grade” choices – in theory – such as stocks – its pricing is supposed to reflect underlying value and future earnings value – it is still just a guess even though everyone is dressed in nice suits … (Bear Stearn went from $100+ to being sold for $2 in a matter of months … and that’s the investment industry valuing itself!) … or the most famous case of Webvan being worth more than American Airlines for a period. I doubt if you assembled their entire fleet of delivery vans, it was worth the value of one 747 but hey, the market is crazy … well, every market is crazy or can be – and certainly at different periods in time. Does this set have value? Sure? 36 X $4 + a track + a cover = $174? Limited, add another $20 or add $125? Or add $401? Or really, is Leak Less really worth $4 on the open market? Where she spins, nobody knows …

53 auctions plus the 24 going on now … so maybe 8% of the available stock … though technically, I have not gotten mine and I presume others have not also. (I’m guessing 900-950 were sold, 50-100 held back for Mattel & Pixar?) – will that churn hold true because while 53 were available in week one, and 24 are now available in week 2, how many will week three bring to the marketplace? It will matter how pricing is – there are some who will be willing to give it up if prices hold a 100+% return on their money … at whar price are you willing to sell? Now? When and if it hits $1,000? Will there be panic when offers drop to a few a week so that $1,500 set looks tempting? Of course, like the 2006 Factory Set, if the set sells for $1,500, you can bet listings will shoot up the weeks after until equilibrium pricing is met again … will that be where we are today? Around $700 with shipping?

Right now, the cheapest BUY IT NOW offer is $720 with shipping … and has been “live” for about three hours. Most of the $720 range BUY IT NOW’s from the last few days have sold within @3 hours of listings, the $750+ BUY IT NOW’s tend to be up for close to 24 hours before someone decides – enough is enough πŸ™‚ MUST OWN! So, the next couple hours should tell if @$700 is the new “comfort” range.

Other amusing facts:

Quickest auction from post to sale – a BUY IT NOW for $725.00 – the listing lasted a whole 15-minutes.

The slowest BUY IT NOW took 3 days for a sale but that’s presumably because he only accepts MO so you have to buy escrow insurance from eBay … you did buy escrow insurance, right? πŸ™‚

2 of the first 4 auctions had a bid option and a BUY IT NOW OPTION … one got to $300 before someone pulled the $499 BUY IT NOW trigger and the other one got to $360 before someone said the suspense is killing me, I’ll take it at $499.99.

Only 5 of the first 53 available sold in the under $500 range with the first one, the cheapest at $400 with the next one selling for $434 an hour later. The most expensive one sold while you still had a shot of buying one at the RLC? $519.00. The last under $500 one sold at around 12:48 on the May 21st (or about 25 hours).

$835.00 is the most expensive one sold so far – a BUY IT NOW.

On Memorial Day, with the exception of the most expensive one sold so far – the other 7 which sold for an average of $756 dollars all sold from listing to BUY IT NOW in an average of 1 hour and 38 minutes.

Free shipping, photos, in hand seems to matter very little for pricing.

There only seems to be one buyer who snapped up three auctions willy-nilly in the last few days. They seem to a power seller so I presume they might be turning it around but hard to figure how much profit they can squeeze after paying about $750 per set … I did not notice any other multiple buyers.

Most sellers were either power sellers with an eBay store or most with a thousand or more feedbacks – only a couple with less than 200 feedbacks … one seller with the lowest ranking I’d seen in a while – 90% 😦 … um, good luck there!

So, while I will stop tracking the day-to-day price swings and try to do weekly, it has certainly been interesting so far.

If you participated in selling or buying in the after market and want to share your story, drop me an email and I promise not to reveal your name or email (mail us at metroxing (at) Thanks!


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

Mattel Disney Pixar CARS: Movie Moments- What’s Going On?


Movie Moments – so, what’s going on? Lots of rumors floating around – retail employees are saying this & that. The new ones disappear in an instant so clearly it’s not disinterest in buying 2-packs … but let’s backtrack a bit …

Mattel certainly started off on the right track – the first Movie Moments made sense from a lot of viewpoints:

Flo & Ramone: Flo is a girl plus with extra tail-fin metal (not judging, not judging! πŸ˜‰ ) so it makes sense to charge a bit more for the two-pack.

Red & Stanley – of course, Red is about 3-4 times the metal of any other CAR, coupling it with Stanley makes sense from an economic view-point.

Boost & Snot Rod – the less interesting of the tuners. Wingo & DJ were singles so why not make a bit fewer of the other two but charge a skoosh more because the completists will want all the tuners.

Guido, Luigi & the Tractor – again, a nice value in two small CARS plus the Tractor.


This first wave, no one can fault any of them and were eagerly snapped up – but eventually, the problem became not the CARS but the way they were packed in each case – with too many repeats or for instance, after Boost & Snot Rod became single CARS, the MM version should’ve been retired.

Or that it was great fun to see the Pixar parody CARS at first but clearly there was a limit to how many of us were interested and while on one hand, Mattel is to be commended for keeping them available – can you imagine the grief they would’ve had if they retired them – thus denying a two-year the Sully CAR or the Buzz CAR? πŸ˜‰ But on the other hand, by not keeping more careful track of retail stock and continually repeating less than necessary MM’s packs like Crusin’ McQueen & Sally as a WOC version (or perhaps even worse, packing two in the first case?!) – the perception to retailers was that we weren’t interested when we are – but only in CARS or configurations we don’t already have … and of course, to retailers it’s all just a MM whether it’s Sally/Crusin’ McQ or Red Mia & Tia so they are only measuring by overall stock turnover and in many if not most cases, the perception is that MM’s are selling slowly … but if you’re talking about any (real & actual) NEW MM’s – they fly off the shelves. What is the shelf life of Gaspirin/Tow Cap or Flea & PT Flik … that is IF they make it onto the shelves?

So, what’s next for Movie Moments – we seem to have sporadic reports from WM managers & stockers who seem to think they are being discontinued. For some reason, people find some of their market intelligence … er, less than credible? πŸ™‚

It would appear that they are NOT being discontinued.

To repeat – there is no sign from all other channels and sources.

The Movie Moments portion of CARS is NOT being discontinued.

Now, does that mean WM or another retailer might stop carrying them? Maybe. You also have to understand the bigger issue – to them CARS is a 2-year old line and to their buyers and merchandisers, they were breaking up with their high school sweetheart after the prom that June 2006, and can’t remember back that far … okay, kidding but not too far off from the truth πŸ™‚ … their job is to make the stores look hip & cool – otherwise (and shh, don’t tell anyone), there are just a giant square store selling toothpaste, insecticide & hair dryers … so tie-ins to blockbuster movies makes them look hip & cool and as I’ve noted before, their confused that 2 years later, we’re still buying CARS stuff. So, in some ways, it’s a miracle that CARS got that much shelf & peg space to now … So, what’s next?

Movie Moments might become a retailer exclusive – Toy R Us seems the most interested in CARS exclusives so maybe Movie Moments will only be available there?

Hopefully, they’ll be packed a little better … new kids & mom/dads buying for their kid that just turned 2 might be excited to see Buzz & Woody if it only shows up in July & November? Then it’s like a treasure hunt … and conversely, when you see the same CARS on the shelf time & time again, you’re actually less reluctant to snap it up because you think – it was here a month ago – it’ll be here next month.

So, what’s next?, will future shipments get re-configured much like the Gift 3-Packs? No definite word yet …

For people who just want opener CARS from Movie Moments, there’s clearly enough of the older ones still on the shelves and the more recent Movie Moments will certainly be available again.

For collectors and completists, yes, the big question is whether the next shipments might only be stickered with “TRU exclusive.” I highly doubt any switch-over is going to happen in the next month – at the earliest, probably late summer or September … but of course, there is no definite word – surprise! πŸ™‚

Here again is what’s been announced … and hopefully, we’ll know more soon.



Bob Cutlass & Cartrip
Leakless #64 & No Stall #123
Luigi and Michael Schumacher
Mia & Tia (red)
Ramone (Purple) & Flo
Red & Stanley
Sally & Crusin McQueen (2)
Tex Dinoco & Dinoco Lightning McQueen
Tow Cap #4 & Gasprin #70
Tumble Weed Lightning McQueen & Doc Hudson (2)

Tumble Weed Lightning McQueen & Doc Hudson




Boost & Snot Rod
Dinoco Mia & Tia (2)
Fillmore & Whitewall Lightning McQueen (2)
Fillmore & Sarge
Leakless #64 & No Stall #123
Mike & Sully
Mr. & Mrs. The King
Sally & Crusin McQueen
Tex Dinoco & Dinoco Lightning McQueen
Tow Cap #4 & Gasprin #70


Bob Cutlass & Darrell Cartrip
Fillmore & Sarge
Fillmore & Whitewall Lightning McQueen
Lightning McQueen & Kori Turbowitz (2)
Luigi and Michael Schumacher
Mia & Tia
PT Flea & Flick
Ramone (Purple) & Flo
Rusty Rust-eze & Dusty Rust-eze
Sally & Crusin McQueen
Tumble Weed Lightning McQueen & Doc Hudson

(Lightning McQueen at Luigi’s but before Ramone changed him into Crusin’ McQueen)



Bob Cutlass & Darrell Cartrip
Buzz & Woody
Dinoco Mia & Tia
Fillmore & Whitewall Lightning McQueen
Leakless #64 & No Stall #123
Lightning McQueen & Kori Turbowitz
Luigi & Guido & Tractor
Luigi and Michael Schumacher
Mr. & Mrs. The King
Tex Dinoco & Dinoco Lightning McQueen
Tow Cap #4 & Gasprin #70
Tumble Weed Lightning McQueen & Doc Hudson


Dinoco Mia & Tia (2)
Fillmore & Whitewall Lightning McQueen
Luigi & Guido (Ferrari Fans)
Luigi and Michael Schumacher
Mario Andretti & Patti (2)
Ramone (Purple) & Flo
Sally & Lightning McQueen
Tex Dinoco & Dinoco Lightning McQueen
Tow Cap #4 & Gasprin #70
Tumble Weed Lightning McQueen & Doc Hudson




Boost & Snot Rod
Fillmore & Whitewall Lightning McQueen
Lightning McQueen & Kori Turbowitz
Luigi and Michael Schumacher
Mario Andretti & Patti
Race Damage King & Lightning McQueen
Rusty Rust-eze & Dusty Rust-eze
Sally & Lightning McQueen
Tex Dinoco & Dinoco Lightning McQueen
Tow Cap #4 & Gasprin #70
Tumble Weed Lightning McQueen & Doc Hudson (2)



And for now, we’ll assume the following multi-packs are just re-packaging of the CARS we already have:

Lightning McQueen & Kori Turbowitz
Chick Pitty (Bruiser Bukowski) & Chick Hicks


Bob Cutlass & Darrell Cartrip
Bruiser Bukowski & Chick Hicks (2)
Fillmore & Whitewall Lightning McQueen
Leakless #64 & No Stall #123
Luigi and Michael Schumacher
Mario Andretti & Patti
Mike & Sully
Mr. & Mrs. The King
Red With Stanley
Tex Dinoco & Dinoco Lightning McQueen
Tow Cap #4 & Gasprin #70

Bob Cutlass & Darrell Cartrip
Bruiser Bukowski & Chick Hicks
Fillmore & Whitewall Lightning McQueen
Leakless #64 & No Stall #123
Lightning McQueen & Kori Turbowitz
Luigi and Michael Schumacher
Mario Andretti & Patti
Race Damage King & Lightning McQueen (2)
Sally & Lightning McQueen
Tex Dinoco & Dinoco Lightning McQueen
Tumble Weed Lightning McQueen & Doc Hudson

Bob Cutlass & Darrell Cartrip
Bruiser Bukowski & Chick Hicks
Dinoco Mia & Tia
Fillmore & Whitewall Lightning McQueen
Leakless #64 & No Stall #123
Lightning McQueen & Kori Turbowitz
Mario Andretti & Patti
Race Damage King & Lightning McQueen
Rusty Rust-eze & Dusty Rust-eze
Sally & Lightning McQueen
Tow Cap #4 & Gasprin #70
Tumble Weed McQueen & Doc Hudson


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

Pixar’s Brad Bird on Fostering Workplace Innovation

Gigaom sums up a McKinsey Quarterly feature on Brad Bird’s management style & thoughts at Pixar.

Steve Jobs hired him, says Bird, because after three successes (Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, and Toy Story 2) he was worried Pixar might struggle to stay innovative. Jobs told him: β€œThe only thing we’re afraid of is complacencyβ€”feeling like we have it all figured out,β€β€œβ€¦We want you to come shake things up.” Bird explains to McKinsey how he did it β€” and why, for β€œimagination-based companies to succeed in the long run, making money can’t be the focus.”

The summary is available at GigaOM.

If you prefer to read the original article with interactive features, follow this McKinsey Quarter link – registration required (free).

For fans of Pixar, there is a great documentary airing on Starz this month, THE PIXAR STORY.

The producer of the film also worked on this official book published a year ago, “To Infinity and Beyond!: The Story of Pixar Animation Studios.”

There is also a new book I just bought but haven’t read yet, “The Pixar Touch: The Making of a Company.”


Filed under Apple, Computing, Design, Disney Pixar, Film, Financial, Marketing, Media, Retail, TV

Mattel Disney Pixar CARS: Lightning Storm McQueen S.D. Comic Con (Update – 5k Available)

PLEASE NOTE – This post & this website has moved to – to read the latest Lightning Storm SD CC News, please click on the link above or click on the logo. Thanks!

For those who missed the earlier preview & announcement, Mattel will be selling a special Lightning Storm McQueen at the San Diego Comic Con Starting July 24.

For those unfamiliar with Toy Show/Comic Con Exclusives, we covered the basics in our original post.

Basically, this will be a special exclusive CAR available just at this show.

While, it’s pretty clear from the photo above – it is now confirmed it’s the Ransburg chrome that McQueen will be sporting. Now, will later Lightning Storm McQueen’s return to merely a shiny blue like the shiny red of Radiator Springs/Crusin’ McQueen or will it return to plain ‘ole Dinoco McQueen blue? No word yet. Like any other release, until we see a prototype photo or an official announcement … Or of course, even when/if Lightning Storm McQueen will appear as a single card CAR. Not trying to stir the pot of supply-demand pricing, just answering a question some of you will ask.

No one knows. “Regular” LS McQueen could come out right after the show on the store shelves (most likely not exactly the same CAR but who knows?) or even a few weeks later like the time gap of the original Blu Ray McQueen exclusive at the CAAF auction to when it was offered with the DVD to the general public two weeks later. Or perhaps the CAR will be a Ransburg blue but not come with the stand or base? So, like the Motor Speedway of the South, we don’t know what the future entails but we do know that on July 24th, we can buy these in SD.

AND I don’t know if we’re getting this exact black base but the package includes the clear stand AND the black base with artwork above so if not exactly this – it’s be very similar. This version here is the near final version of the car, the stand and the base.

UPDATED (The plexiglass cover is NOT included).

The plexiglass cover IS included, wow – EXCELLENT!

And as the best infomercials might ask – what would you be willing to pay? πŸ™‚

Actually, priced very nice …

It’s $15 and even better news, no apparent limit to purchasing … something tells me the line at Mattel will not be short … this is definitely a great deal, I’ve seen feeble ‘exclusives’ where all you get is a sticker on the regular card – this is a lot of work – great sculpt, great add-ons, great stand with display AND cover – all for $15 … nice.

SECOND UPDATE – Looks like a run of 5,000 – the show runs 4 days plus Preview Night.

See you all in SD.

(on a personal note, while I am scheduled to go to Comic Con, it will be a quasi-working week for me – meeting people, attempting to live blog, etc … etc, etc … while I will be buying things, I don’t want to make any promises to anyone else since I’m just going to throw everything into a giant suitcase – my personal stuff, I’m not that picky – I’m mostly an opener so if it gets dinged, no biggie but I don’t want to promise anything to anyone. So, while I will try and pick up some extras, most likely they’ll just be a giveaway here or used as trade – I’m too lazy to do much eBay posting … so sorry but I PROMISE you I’ll spend much time at the Mattel booth … if you spot me, I’ll be the fake janitor with the fake mustache emptying their trash every 2-minutes πŸ™‚ … don’t blow my cover πŸ™‚ … also note, if you plan on going, buy your tickets quick – last year, the weekend was a SELL OUT and they do NOT sell tickets at the venue so good luck and see you there … and remember, I’m disguised as the janitor, for any woman coming, I highly recommend the Leia Slave Bikini outfit and for guys, the Hello Kitty Darth Vader outfit … we’ll work out the secret handshake & eye signals later πŸ™‚ )


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

Toy Industry Rebounds a Bit: Toys R Us & FAO

After the sale and retrenching quite a bit, Toys R Us is back on the growth track … mostly by opening a Babies R Us with Toys R Us together and/or converting single stores into both (my closest TRU just re-modeled and added a Babies R Us):

“Toys “R” Us will open 16 of the side-by-side superstores this year, each with combined retail space of 60,000 square feet to 70,000 square feet. The company also will convert “dozens” of existing toy stores into smaller side-by-side locations this year, and within a “few years” will turn the rest of its 585 U.S. outlets into this format or build new superstores.”

Also noted:

“The side-by-side siting strategy addresses a weakness that has handicapped the company in battling discounters. In the past, Toys “R” Us shoppers with children have visited an average of once every nine months, while Wal-Mart and Target have drawn these shoppers weekly with a broader array of goods, says Sean McGowan, an analyst for Needham & Co. in New York.”

That’s interesting, I think most CARS collectors try and visit every other day, right? πŸ™‚

From the WSJ via AZ CENTRAL.

TRU is even doing great in South Korea … and hey, everyone shops at TRU, right?

Yea, any riff-raff can walk in – that’s why I’m waiting for the more exclusive FAO Schwartz inside Macy’s … Guess we can look for the 2009 Motor Speedway With Track Extension Exclusive … πŸ™‚

May the Schwartz be with us.

(I think what Brad is saying above – “Do they EVER re-stock?, Where are the Pitty 3-packs?”)

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Filed under Advertising, Gadgets, Marketing, Media, Retail, Toys, TV

Mattel Disney Pixar CARS: Unboxing Motor Speedway – Dale Earnhardt Jr. Variant Part II

Thanks for readers Tim & Sarah, some more photos – not as cute as their kids but it’ll do πŸ™‚

Here are more photos of the differences between Dale Jr. & Motor Speedway of the South Dale Jr.

Old one on left, new on right. Different body of course.

I’ll compare to mine also when I get it but it looks like the tampo decals are a skoosh brighter white. New facial expression and eyes.

As noted before – back tail-lights different, the striping looks a skoosh wider (or just brighter) and the JR logo is a little closer to the back window.


On the bottom, the Β© notice is in white – the previous version was molded and in black – presumably since this now uses the same underside as other racers, the Β© info is just stamped/printed on there.

Original un-boxing photos and first look at Dale Jr. variant

Thanks Sarah!


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