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Mattel Disney Pixar Cars: Chase CARS (Fall 2008 UPDATE)

Until now, we have not had an official “chase” CAR in the CARS lineup.

What is a ‘chase’ CAR?

It is literally a CAR you have to chase after.

It is special car (or action figure) that is packed in limited quantity – in this situation, there are 20,000 “stickers” McQueen inserted into CASE R (looks like a 1 CAR to 1 BOX ratio) – which for a ‘chase’ item is not too terribly annoying and unlike a hot Wheels box where you might have one valuable chase car and 70 others worth about $.50 … with the Pixar CARS, the keeper ratio is also much better.

How many R cases are being produced? That is a production secret. 20,000 cases or 1 “Stickers” McQueen in every case? So far, that’s looking like the scenario and in line with the math we’re working on – there are @6,000 WM, TRU & Targets in the US – if on average, they get 2 boxes each (we know some stores it’s zero and in other stores, it’s 3 or even 4 boxes!), then that means they are taking about 12,000 cases + or minus a couple thousand – leaving the rest to the smaller chains (Kmart/KB, rack jobbers (who distribute to Walgreen’s, supermarkets, etc … and of course, online retailers and even eBay power sellers …)

And in Case T, there is re-scaled & “Stickers” Fred. Same situation, 20,000 made in how many cases? Again, unknown. (There is no CASE S). Presumably, the card will also say ‘CHASE.’

But now that the gates been open, we will soon be aflood with more Chase Cars. It’s unknown what order they will appear in but of course, as soon as I know, you’ll know.

Of course, the entire concept of having ‘chase’ CARS begs the question of whether CARS even needs one? Usually you create a chase component to generate buzz and a secondary market (eBay) for a product that is selling but not generating any frenzy … clearly that is not the case with CARS. Of course, chase/treasure hunts are old news in the world of Hot Wheels where you do need to create buzz from a random series of releases that sell for $.99 – yes, I’m picking on Hot Wheels a little but Mattel also seems to think that since Hot Wheels are also diecast, the same rulebook applies and it does not.

What is really interesting and unique about CARS is that because of the quality of the CARS, it not only brings people into collecting but is reinforcing the notion that the set should be complete … and not just for fanboys or the typical completist who stalks stores at 8 AM or 4 AM but rather mom’s, dad’s, grandparents who have never really thought – I’m going to start a collection and I must own them all … but CARS hooks them with quality in the sculpts and production quality … again, go figure – quality wins the day  – but ‘quality’ confounds corporations because you can’t spreadsheet that.

So Mattel has to walk a fine in generating buzz but not alienating the new ‘casual fanatic’ class of collectors who are really, really, really focused on CARS diecast.

The ‘chase’ component was probably dreamed up a year ago when they feared the line might be slowing and so they wanted an extra nudge so here we are.

No surprise, “Stickers McQueen” has been on the a few dozen store shelves and a few dozen hands – already, it’s a virtual sellout and going for $50 on eBay and online retailers.

Of course, like concert ticket scalping or the worst example, video game console introduction strategy … If you look at the micro level when they introed the XBox, PS3 and the Wii, it’s fun PR to see the news crews interviewing people standing/sleeping/ camping in line for days/weeks and/or then reporting that it’s going for $1,000, $2,000 or more online. But what’s the real macro-long term point? Why create a frenzy for virtually no gain except for some random guy on the street takes the product you’ve sweated, manufactured, tweaked, glorified and distributed – to make $1 or $10 bucks while some ratty guy sleeping on a sidewalk gets to buy it for $299 and sell it for $2k or in this case, buy it for $3.50 and sell it for $60 or $75 (or the MSOS set, from $299 to $2,000?) just because the guy can type some words and click SUBMIT on eBay?

Do what some Broadway shows are doing – instead of a scalper getting $500 dollars for a $80 dollar ticket, why not sell some of those primo tickets yourself? And of course, with the Matty Collector site, it’s a perfect venue … why not add 5,000 or a few ticks more that’s available on the site at $9.99 or even more – for those who value convenience over cost. Those who enjoy the hunt or buying sealed cases aren’t really affected as they can vow to find it at $3.50 on the store shelves but for those who enjoy shopping while eating a sandwich, click, click, click and DONE – Chase CAR coming.

But whatever eventually happens, we know that CASE T is packed and nearly at the US shores so that won’t change but hopefully as we progress into 2009, Mattel will offer us some cake and eat it too … um, or something like that … as long as they wash their hands?

So, on with the show – the ‘Chase Show’ – some pictured at Comic Con, others not officially shown but listed as ‘chase.’

So, here’s a chaser for the road … can I mix a few more metaphors?

The ‘Boot Hill’ Gang (okay, that’s just my name) … each of the 4 Tuners CARS will be re-released as a CHASE car with a ‘parking boot’ along with Boot McQueen (again, my names) EACH sold separately but it would shock no one if after they were released as singles, they would be available together.

Great expression on the two-piecer McQueen with Boot.

And yes, if you like the ‘chase’ tuners with ‘boot,’ they might return with a SECOND chase version with tar … I hope this time it’s really …


and not just


And a CHASE Chick Hicks (barely pictured), Dinoco McQueen and The King with mini  Piston Cup (each sold separately).

* I didn’t bother to include Chick Hicks as you know what he looks like – the only difference is he will include a cup in the packaging as with Dinoco McQ & The King.

Almost forgot, there is also a Marco Jet variant/chase version with a different helmet – this is the base version …

Sarge – “Saluting.” (Unofficial name) Originally scheduled for July of this year but couldn’t get it out in time … now a ‘chase car’ though no scheduled release.

AND two interesting and different possibilities – Chuki in Japanese Packaging and Ferrari F430 Michael Schumacher in Italian Packaging.

More info on Marco the Jet (Oversized line post here).


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