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Mattel Disney Pixar CARS 2 Diecast: What the **** is Happening at Retail

While there are a lot of interesting diecasts to come (both singles, oversized & Toons), for the averge buyer, it won’t be as simple as walking into a store and buying them.

Why?

Retail Inventory.

The simple reason is that employees who can peek into the back room have told us there is an enormous backlog of CARS products. And retailers simply go by SKU. They don’t really care or even notice individual product numbers but go by the main OVERALL COUNT of a SKU – such as oversized-deluxe CARS 2 cars. There are approximately 8,000 Walmarts, Targets & TRU in the US – so if they have 15 Submarine Finn’s on the shelf on average, that’s approximately 120,000 on the pegs and in the backrooms. How many oversized CARS would they like on the shelf? 120,000 is not a problem if they were selling at a reasonable rate – even 3 a day means in a week they are all gone – and certainly if Taco Mater, the Popemobile or the Queen were on the shelf, you could reasonably expect that but are there 120,000 customers for Submarine Finn? Clearly not. And that clot presents several additional problems.

The biggest is until that clot on the shelf gets reduced, retailers are simply not going to order a lot more product. Again, they don’t care what the mix is – they do not want to add to their inventory of that SKU. They treat Submarine Finn & every other oversized CAR as they would Smokey Brie Flavored Pepsi. We do not want anymore.

AND when product sits on a shelf, it not only draws lower sales as nothing new ever shows up but when shoppers see the same options everytime they stop by the Big Three (nearly 90% of Americans will stop by the Big Three 2-3 times this week), they become less and less interested as it visually looks less and less enticing. Plus, consumers are not fools. They might want that Finn but if they see 15-30 to the shelf, they will simply wait for a clearance … and of course, nowadays, they will now simply wait for the best clearance.

I’m sure some of their excuse is that CARS 2 did not perform up to expectations … perhaps in a small sense but it was the 9th highest grossing film worldwide – about $550 million dollars plus Disney has sold about $150 million dollars worth of Blu Ray & DVD just in the US & Canada alone so at LEAST $700 million in Disney’s books is nothing to sneeze at – and if you add in international home video plus cable and TV airings plus Disney Store sales, you can pretty much put down $1 billion dollars in CARS 2 revenue in 18-months … again, Disney does not have too many complaints in terms of revenue.

So, who is to blame? Well, one small area is that Disney apparently thought Finn McMissile mania would sweep the nation … he was a nice character and Michael Caine is a fine actor and while the Finn the character has a lot of fun gadgets, they are static on the diecasts for cost reasons and for kids eating them reasons so it’s like releasing a James Bond tribute Korean car with a top hat called Oddjob – cute but hardly something that would sweep the nation. It’s hard to tell why their expectations were so oversized in the belief we would be in the thralls of Finn mania.

There are at least 5 other reasons where Mattel went awry but another key one was the expectation that any line extension would sell – including all the time, expenses, tooling, design and logistics involved in creating & shipping: Action Agents, Color Changers, Change-Ups, Micro Drifters, Wheelies and oversized RC CARS. It also didn’t help matters when the track sets all seem to feature the same play pattern.

So, how to fix this so the line stays evergreen?

That’s for another day. πŸ™‚

For the average collector, the tough part is going to be shopping trips where there’s nothing new or hard to find … because while stores are overstocked, they will still be ordering some things but just in low quantities so where as stores might’ve gotten 4-5 cases before, they’ll probably just order 1 … so if you show up at the right time, you might find what you want but otherwise, it will be tough. For the time being, it looks like it’s eBay, our forums, or perhaps to team up with another collector to buy cases from CTC or Rob’s Palace. Good luck – we’ll need it.

 

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28 Comments

  • Jinzo says:

    Excellent post MET. Couldn’t have said it better myself.
    For the solution, as I said before, recall the entire line and start from scratch. Only possible way to recover from the WTF aspect. It’s been about 7 months since I bought something from Cars II [other than fillmore xmas single]. I’m wondering what was their fiscal year :-/ Seriously Mattel… πŸ™

  • I-am-speed says:

    As much as we love this site and everyone that participates in keeping Cars and Cars 2 information alive and well, we’ve finally said goodbye to Cars 2 merchandise.

    Wasting time and gas to check stores any time we’re out and about, only to be disappointed again by finding the same boring Finns filling the shelves has gotten absolutely ridiculous.

  • Ghostlightcharlie says:

    Go for it LUCA buy them, give me a store in the UK that has more than qty3 CARS or CARS 2 diecast, normal, or mega on the shelf and I come out in a sweat !!!!
    It must be so nice to see all those cars in one place. I’ll make it to the USA one day and basque in the pleasure of being surrounded by them all.dream dream dream…………………..

  • Matersgrlfriend says:

    WTF is right. The consistent problem with the Mattel Cars and now Cars2 line has been and is case assortment. There are really 2 markets for this line, kids and collectors. The case assortments are OK for kids, but terrible for collectors. Would it kill them to have a Cars collectors site? And yeah Mattel, Cars collectors are different than He Man and Hot Wheels collectors. We just want to buy lots of cool little singles, not endless repaints of the same castings and not dropping $35 for one Car every couple of months. We will even buy weird stuff that you don’t think you should even put on the shelves like cute little pitties. Oh, and we would absolutely die for cool display stuff.

  • Mariela says:

    This is a fantastic post Met!! Mattel are you reading this??
    Hope so, so there will be something new on the pegs soon πŸ˜•

  • Hello everyone, I have tried to do my part in clearing the shelves as I have bought 8000 finns and 5000 maters over the past month. So, if everyone did this, we could clean the shelves very quickly, and maybe, just maybe the mother ship would answer with all new product. Good Luck!!

    • danrio says:

      Great job and much appreciated! However, I believe you missed the 53 Lightning McQueens I counted at our TRU store last week (and those were the only singles on the pegs!)

    • danrio says:

      Great article, Met. I’m sure all of the issues you noted have contributed to the logjam many of us are experiencing.

      I live near Sacramento, California and our area has the ignominious fame of having one of the highest unemployment rates in the country (while the national number is currently around 8.5%, we’re at about 12.4%. Combine this statistic with Mattel’s inept (okay, I’ll be kind and change that to misguided) distribution and the result is a textbook example of the picture you painted above.

      There are quite a few Cars2 items which I never saw at any of our stores; Fred Fishbowski Kingpin Tanaka, Mel Dorado, Carlo Maserati, to name a few. I did find a Tyler at WalMart about a month and a half after I bought one from another collector. Currently absent (I believe) are virtually all the ones issued after The Pope, although I did find Jeff G. and John Lassetire at K Mart.

      But, after too many fruitless trips to the stores, I resorted to getting some of those Disney sets at great sale prices to fill in a lot of empty spces in my collection. This works fine for me, since I’m an opener and I collect mainly for aesthetic appreciation.If Mattel ever gets their stuff together, I would happliy resume my search for Cars2 items I’d like to have, but for now, Disney Store is doing a far better job for me.

      Keep up the news on all fronts!

      • kdthomas says:

        What area of Sacramento, Danrio? I live in North Natomas. I don’t think the economy has much to do with it as just what we perceive as poor distribution. I always see people buying toys and beer.

        I was able to find a bunch of Fred at the Super Walmart in West Sacramento when he came out. What was hard was finding a decent card. The plastics on those were also super thin making finding a decent looking one that much harder.

        I haven’t been paying attention or visiting the toy aisles lately. I stopped by last night and noticed the Finn epidemic has spread to Petrov. I counted around 100 Petrov, 1 Finn, 5 Lightning, and 2 Mater on the pegs. This is why I’ve stopped collecting Cars 2. I didn’t plan on collecting any to begin with but figured I’d at least get the main cars…then I moved on and got the 2 packs that were out. I’ve passed on all the Megas.

        I’ve moved on to collecting Toys Story toys. You think Cars collecting is rough! I had to order Wave 3 from the UK!

    • 5oclockshadow says:

      Mattel is probably now going to say, “Put a hold on those newest cases. We need to put out a special retail case of nothing but Finn’s and Mater’s. Those things are selling like hotcakes!”

  • Bumper Save says:

    This is a well written article Met, sad but true. Someone needs to punch the guy who runs the Cars line.

    “Guido, punch me in the face.”

  • sodabear says:

    Yep. Mattel blew it freakin’ big time. Though I still don’t understand why Zen Master Pitty wasn’t a huge seller.

  • Dekoy says:

    There has been an attempt to address the overstocking situation, and it has been mentioned in past posts about reps pulling off the Finns and Maters.

    Well, what was done with these?

    Answer: SHIP THEM OFF TO CANADA!

    This is the truth as anybody that walks into 2 different dollar store retailers (Dollarama, Giant Tiger) will find these US versions available and safety stickered for Canada(Bilingual choking hazard).

    Also, one retailer here (Real Canadian Superstore) has taken on the KM6 rubber tires, but for the price of $6.99 plus taxes.

    • deal or no cars says:

      Once again MATTEL SCREWED everything .. and Once again .. what doesn’t sell in USA .. HIT Hard directly in Canada ! .. THAT’S piece of $hit for us in Canada.. ! BTW we haven’t got all cases like you in USA .. more important with all the Finn, Mater and Oversized SUBMARINE we do have the same problem in our stores.. But down here REP will never take them back or off the pegs! .. And now Suddenly Stores down here are receiving all the JUNK from USA.. THIS is a non-sens ..
      Hey fellows from Canada what about getting these pieces of crap we don’t need and sell them for us .. ??? JUST like they did with the Ramones and Blue dinoco McQueen ERA 3years ago .. That Era kept Canada out of the run .. We didn’t get ROR series and many Mega Cases due to that OVERFLOW of Ramones and Dinoco MCQueen.. We Skipped and entire year of Cars collecting.. NOW I’d like to say $crew Mattel.. and $crew who ever take items off the pegs in USA to put them back in CANADA ..

  • Frank says:

    Mattel should call Atari and find out how and where they *allegedly* buried all the Atari 2600 E.T. cartridges.

  • quercy says:

    I wish Mattel recall ALL Finn on pegs… The reason could be simple as…. “Toy had suffer too much seeing all these customers moved them around without buying them for too long” i am pretty sure severals are on pegs since last june…

  • Mike Manifold says:

    Awesome title Met! I’m seeing the same stuff around here that Met, DDD, and BMW have noted. I wish Mattel would give us a subscription service for the new characters a la He-Man club.

    • Mike Manifold says:

      Weird, I couldn’t see the first few responses to this earlier.
      Much like Bobbyjack noted earlier, much of the fun in Cars hunting disappears when there is little probability of finding a new casting. I no longer take Manifold Jr. to the big box stores due to the high probability that we will be disappointed by the Cars assortment.

  • DDD says:

    I noticed some efforts this weekend to reduce stock. My Walmarts had more on clearance, including the Action Agents battleship at half off. Kohls has all C2 at 40% off and some at 50% off. TRU had the two packs at 2 for $10, and it seemed to be working. The concern I have is that it looks like the Walmart resets are squeezing out C2 real estate, and there was less space overall but more sku’s. (only had a few deluxe and all were sub Finn.)

    The Disney Store is getting to it as well. They had dozens of the pope and Tokyo diecast sets down to $20. For the Tokyo set, with its Security Finn, little flight attendant, and so many others, that’s like $2 a car.

    My worry is that I’ll never see any of the new cars…not it will be a while, but that they’ll never show up. I thought that couldn’t happen…but then I remember the last Final Laps never coming to any of my Targets. What also is worrying is that I’ve seen cars like Mel and the Popemobile ONCE and never again, and weeks ago, like if there really is a chance to see new cars it will be all about luck and timing.

  • BMW says:

    Well done Met.
    Went to Walmart yesterday they are counting the toys and getting ready for reset. Hot wheels singles shelves nearly empty, Monster High Dolls empty.
    Cars shelves by contrast were full. The few Pope/Pope Mobiles they had two weeks ago all all gone. Now just Sub Finns again, 4 pegs full, at 8.88 here. Tons of Action agents, those are not moving well. The Bash and Gos take up lots of shelf space. The cube in the aisle has nothing but Petrov trunkovs left, about 40 – he is the new cube warmer. My Walmart had many dozens of Shu and Miguel singles before Christmas but not one left on the cube or pegs. Tomber is beating Zen Master for 2 pack pegwarmer even with the $2 off coupon these are still not moving. None of the Walmart exclusive Mater’s Secret Weapon 2 packs left. Those have not been replenished in months,

  • John says:

    Thank you Met for this thoughtful essay.

  • bobbyjack says:

    The really fun thing about this hobby was taking my kids around to the different retail stores to look for cars we didn’t have yet. They aren’t old enough to be in school yet, and since I work 12 hour shifts, I’m off 7 out of every 14 days. So the household shopping duty falls on me because my wife works a normal Monday through Friday job. I get to be a stay-at-home Dad half the week. For a long while now, everytime we go shopping there is nothing new to be found and my son has lost interest in looking at the same old cars on the pegs. We started trading cars last year and it was really fun until we got to the same point as everyone else and we all need the same cars. The lack of new cars has pushed us to start collecting other things like Transformers and Monster Jam diecasts. We have amassed a nice collection of Disney Cars, but we still would like some new stuff.

  • hostile takeover banker says:

    Very well said!

  • cac1959 says:

    Great article, Met… you hit it spot on.

    Too many of the first case assortments with too repeats… Of the first 4 launchers, only Shu sells much anymore and there was only 1 per case… If launchers don’t sell at $11.97, they’re not going to sell at $12.97… Deluxe Submarine Finn McMissile didn’t sell at $7.47 so it’s not going to sell at $7.97.

    I made a trip to Muncie (Indiana) yesterday so my wife and I could go out to eat for our 19th anniversary… I stopped at both Walmart stores, the Kmart, the Target, the Kohl’s, and the Toys R Us… I spent $0 on Cars… One Walmart had Shu and Miguel singles and 1 set of the Pope and Popemobile Deluxe and 1 each of Rod Torque Redline and Professor Z Lights and Sounds… I almost bought the London Chase 5 pack at TRU as it was on sale for $14.99, but I’ve got the set already opened and don’t have the desire or the room to have a second set carded… There was next to nothing at Kohl’s and Target had nothing new… the Kmart had 14 of the Fillmore/McQueen crew chief 2 packs.

    Around here it appears that the Action Agents and Quick Changers are not selling, and neither are the playsets.

    I did buy the Garfield comic book #53 at Books-a-Million – they also had a set of the Pope and Popemobile… and dinner at Outback was quite good.

    If case assortments work out so they can be easily split among 2 or 3 people, I’ll order some cases… but when only 3 of 6 are new Cars it’s hard to do.

    I look forward to reading your suggestions on how to address the problem and hope that people from Mattel and retailers do too.

  • John in Missouri says:

    Another problem — as with the original Cars line — is the proliferation of WAYYYYY-overpriced launchers. Can Mattel really justify $8 to $9 for a chunky piece of plastic and a rubber band? These things are literally accumulating dust as they take up valuable shelf & peg space.

    • Ghostlightcharlie says:

      I have NEVER seen one single launcher EVER in any store anywhere over here.
      Maybe that’s a part-way solution sell all the USA’s overstock to the UK really really cheap and then maybe we would be able (a) to actually see some and (b) providing they were sold really really cheap we might just get them at normal prices!!!!!!!

  • LUCA says:

    But I’m ready to buy 120,000 Submarine Finn McMissile!!!!!!
    NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEd all THEM!!

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