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Mattel Disney Pixar CARS: Mac iCar (The Apple Car)

© Disney/Pixar & Mattel Red Line Club

No, it is not scheduled to come out in the next two months.

Beyond that, who really knows?

My opinion is that it will be out at some future time.

The time doesn’t matter because whenever it comes out, Mattel will sell it by the bushels.

(A bushel of course, being 4 pecks … er, okay, how about 48 apples to a bushel as an Apple to apple comparison? 🙂 )

It is literally an ace up the sleeve … anytime they’ll need revenue for the CARS line, they can whip it out … er, roll it out.

There has always been some concerns that Mattel doesn’t have the right to issue the car or now that it’s been released, those theorists have now modified their fears that it was a limited one-shot deal since the MSoS came out.

As a Mac fan, I know everything Apple tends to generate a lot of extra buzz no matter how far fetched … like the MacTablet (it’s not coming, give it up). You just have to look back at the time last October when the MSoS was quasi previewed and there were 10-15% of CARS collectors who were flat out convinced there would only be 35 CARS … perhaps it’s just easier to panic? I’m not sure.

First, that makes no sense logically for it not to happen. Unless there’s some huge falling out between Apple & Pixar, that fear makes very little sense. Is Apple very protective of its imagery and logo, of course – so is any corporation these days because dilution of trademark is well, dilution of trademark …

But in this case, Pixar & Apple could not be more closely tied together and in some senses, even more so than 99% of corporations. In fact, in most corporations, you find it easier to deal with an outside 3rd partner than another department because at least with a outside partner, everyone understands their motive is profit and branding while with two internal departments, the fear is you might make the other guy look good and he takes your job someday (or becomes your boss) … in the case of Apple & Pixar, John Lassetter can pick up the phone to Steve Jobs and vice versa to resolve any issues with one phone call – not many companies have two heads who actually work together as well. So, Apple & Steve Jobs knows that John Lassetter & Pixar is not going to place the Apple logo on a garbage barge … of course, Apple will want to review the design but if John Lassetter & Pixar signs off to Mattel, they will accept it as if their brother vouched for it.

Apple certainly doesn’t need the licensing money from selling a Piston Cup racer nor the publicity but again, because of the close relationship – they trust Pixar much more than any two corporations can … and they know that releasing or selling an Apple-logo car is not going to harm them in any conceivable aspect.

So, where does this lead us. Now, I have not look at this particular contract so I cannot say 100% anything but generally, when you agree to license your logo for a film property and for ancillary merchandise, you agree to license for a certain amount of time and with certain provisions for approval. In the case where the “film role” is a car, it’s natural that the merchandising include a facsimile diecast car … anything outside of this “role,” will require new approvals – for instance, if they decided they wanted to make an Apple Car playset (which does not appear in the film), they would need additional approval but the car will be included in the general merchandising rights. With that said, there are obvious sign-offs for approval for each appearance. For instance, Apple probably wouldn’t approve a “wrecked” version of the Apple car.

Conversely, Mattel realizes this car is not only wanted by the CARS collector but also by Mac fans so there’s no real point in selling it as a single carded car when Mattel can make so much more selling it separately … (maybe not $250 as its going for on eBay) but certainly more than $3.49 … bottom line, Mattel could bundle a sealed box of 18 of just Dale Jr.’s & the Apple car and the store shelves would be stripped bare … so my prediction is that we won’t see the Apple CAR in another form until at least 2009 and it’ll be in some special format – why not, it’s clear people will pay anywhere from $40 to $75 for this car without a moment’s hesitation (at $250, the hesitation is a bit longer but not by much 🙂 ).

But as with the Apple CAR … the only reason not to re-release something is if they don’t think it will sell … will we see more “pullback” CARS … pretty unlikely … will we see the Apple car again … my opinion is YES … will we see it an single in 2012? Maybe … but only after it’s been available in some deluxe set for $99 in 2009 … and then a smaller deluxe set for $49 later in 2009 and then as a deluxe launcher in 2010 … and just before the first wave of CARS 2 cars hits the shelves in 2011 … maybe finally as a single but only after Mattel has squeezed a million dollars from it … so unless Mattel is willing to walk away from a million dollars to prove no real point (they have never publicly announced anything from the MSoS is an exclusive – just that it’s exclusive to the Red Line Club of May of 2008).*

But when will it be out is another question. We still have 4 long years before the next movie comes out – this car is worth its weight in gold to Mattel. They can release it on tax day in a recession & a hurricane flood and still make serious money with it. Imagine it bundled with a Pit Crew and a trailer? $99? $149? AND it will sell out. As you can see by the Comic Con announcements and by the drool on our keyboards, we are ready, willing and interested to buy a bunch of other CARS in the meanwhile … so Mattel can wait.

The intention is clear they intend to make 36 trailers – by that inference, as Noel asks – why would you sell a trailer without giving more than 900-1,000 in this world to park an Apple car next to it … or the numerous Pitty’s and a Crew Chief (named Steven Pixar?) to gow ith it?

Now with that said, until it’s on the store shelves, then it’s really out – until then, we wait.

Again, just my opinion there is no need to do anything but wait.

* besides, if they’re going to go by the letter of their alledged promise to have an exclusive car available nowhere else … that aggro-faced Dale Jr. serves that purpose.


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