Mattel Disney Pixar CARS Diecast: Ultimate Chase “Flash” – The Math & Numbers
The first Ultimate Chase is out … and people have questions.
Yes, there are Swedish words on the front & the back of the card.
I presume it’s to convey that you had to hunt the world over to find him … and you found him in Al’s Leksak Ladugården just outside of Stockholm. Turn left at the Burning Goat.
Yes, this is the US card. No one knows if these Ultimate Chase will show up in anywhere else outside of the US or even in Sweden. In Swedish but not available in Sweden. If it’s true, I hope they appreciate the irony in Sweden. We are also enjoying your ligonberries and tiny hex wrenches.
As the back of the card states, less than 4,000 will be produced which is entirely believable since he shares the body with Max Schnell and it’s a simple paint and tampo decal design swap. My guess is the number is really closer to 3,000 but they rounded up from 3,200 to 3,500 just to be absolutely safe.
If you’re curious about this number and the repeating case contents of CASE E & CASE G which are dupes of each other than Flash here taking the place of a Race Team Mater, here are some numbers to ponder.
From 2007 to 2009, they produced about 20,000 cases of the “classic eyes CARS” of each assortment. New CARS added to the case and the line were generally 2 to the first case and 1 to the next case so you could generally presume an average CAR that was released once like a Chuck Manifold was produced-released in the 60,000 range. As he appeared in no other box set and was never re-released as a lenticular, it’s pretty safe to presume he’s in 60,000 range. Of course, some case assortments were offered in a pallet or special endcap so some new CARS might be slightly above that or in some cases, retailers may have ordered lower on an assortment because they were getting something exclusive in the coming weeks so they went heavier on that but it’s a solid general number. When CHASE CARS were added to the mix, they of course appeared once only and were always one to a case so it’s safe to presume most CHASE CARS were generally produced-available in the 20,000 range. Of course, there are also packaging or accessory only CHASE CARS where the actual CAR itself is produced in the hundreds of thousands if not millions (such as Dinoco Lightning McQueen). Now in 2010 and 2011, lenticulars were eventually boxed 24 to a case (the only line with Chase CARS) but with Target out of the mix (for the most part), how many cases were produced for each assortment? In theory, 15,000 x 24 = 20,000 cases x 18 CARS but with Target out of the mix plus a slow down of the line – maybe 12,000 cases so it seems safe to guess fewer or maybe about 12,000 available of each CHASE CAR in 2009-2010?
Of course, there were no CARS 2 CHASE CARS in 2011.
Clearly, Mattel is selling fewer cases than ever before. Where as Target, WM and TRU generally fully supported singles releases from 2006 to 2010 – in that period, new cases appeared at retail on a regular basis and once an assortment was listed as shipped, these main mass retailers had them on shelves in days. With about 7,000 stores between them, it’s easy to see where the 20,000 cases of 18 CARS were but 2012 is an entirely different story. Mattel probably planned for a world where they could sell the same amount (of 24 CARS cases – so about 15,000 cases). The main problem is that for each new release, there is a minimum production run for it to be worthwhile to produce – repaints obviously have a lower minimum but there is still a number to make it worthwhile to produce (aka: not a money loser to sell a diecast at wholesale). But what are sales like now? It’s definitely NOT 15,000 cases. Is it as low as 3,000-4,000 now? That explains the doubling up of CASE E and CASE G as virtual repeats?
So, at 15,000 cases, the original intent of the Ultimate Chase was maybe one in every 5 cases? And with 2-3 of each new release, that would be about 30,000 or 45,000 of each new release? Don Crumlin or Becky Wheelin are repaints so that’s a reasonable and profitable number even though it’s less than during the Golden Age of CARS … and Officer Murakarmi is due in other configurations (with a slightly different eye position) so 30,000 was a reasonable production release BASED on 2010 sales numbers … but 2012?
That explains the 1:1 ratio in CASE G … along with the produced 3,000 “Flash” Ultimate Chase, they had Becky Wheelin as the Chase CAR ready for CASE E but they were not even selling 15,000 cases (2009) or even 12,000 cases anymore (2010) … with sales as possibly as low as in the 3-4,000 range, they had to double her up (along with Don Crumlin and Officer M) in TWO CASES to get them all out. Of course, they are not going to reveal actual numbers and CASE E might be available in the 5,000 range but CASE G only in the 3,000 range but together they add up to a minimum run of Don, Becky, Officer M and Flash.
So, we might see this scenario repeat itself as they probably can’t go lower than 3,000 to turn a profit on a Ultimate Chase repaint but unless the sales go back up to a much higher degree, this Ultimate Chase program is probably going to end in 2012. While it’s great to get 3 CARS marked CHASE in every case assortment, it’s probably not a self sustaining program. So, enjoy it while it lasts.
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