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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. 🙂

Good luck!

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  • BMW says:

    Reading through your paragraphs on shipments during 2009-10, brings up a question regarding the Final Lap era at Target stores. Do you have a idea of how many final lap cases A through K were produced and shipped? I know cases A and probably K were fewer in numbers than G and H. There did not seem to be a consistent release of cases during this series. Case J showed up in the UK before I saw it here in the USA 3 days later.

    If Chase Cars during the latter portion of Cars was somewhere around 12000, and Target cases dropped from 18 cars per case down to 12 cars per case (H, J and K) do you consider the Final lap series falling into the “chase” category as far as numbers produced?

    Iarget’s distribution was inconsistent during the Final Lap series but thats a different matter.

    As for the Ultimate/Super Chase: Where will it turn up? Grocery stores, secondary stores?

    (MET: The Final Lap series is a pretty tough to guess but I would guess they are about the same numbers or fewer – there were about 1,800 Target’s at the time and presuming most got a case, (on average), those that shipped 3-4 per case would equal about 7,000 to 8,000 … but might be less … I guess the Top 10 Rarest list is due for an update. 🙂 ).

  • taylor says:

    Why doesnt Mattel send reps into the stores to clear all the Finns etc? I thought this used to happen in the US at least, It would make room for new cases and get the CARS line moving again.

  • D J says:

    I gave up halfway through and am just going to assume i understand. haha.

  • kfalcon77 says:

    how does one go about ordering a G or an E case? I once ordered a case of over-sized cars 2 cars from childrenstoycloset last year to get the pope mobile. I’d just like to have 1 chase flash to open and display.

    (MET: You can find cases at CTC or Rob’s Palace – click link to email or call them if you don’t see it listed on the website).

  • Steve AKA: Poppa says:

    This is a sad excuse for a super chase casting. Except for the alleged number of units, what’s ‘super’ about it? A great way for Mattel to continue the slide of interest in this product line. My Target has had Cars 2 #’s 28 and 30 hanging on the pegs with no takers all week.

  • Carsmatt15 says:

    So this is in Case G right? So based on what I read, you have a 1 and 5 chance? Who has the case for sale?

    (MET: top link is to yesterday’s post With links to buying or click on a banner ad – released ratio is actually 1:1)

  • Tom says:

    Between Walmart, TRU, Target and Kmart alone there are certainly well over 3,000 stores. I hope this case makes it to stores in reasonable numbers. Las time I checked my local Big 4 they still had PLENTY of Finns, et al.

    (MET: There are about 5,000 WM’s, about 2,000 Target’s and about 700 TRU’s … KM orders regular cases about once a year if that so they are not really counted … in fact, rack jobbers who service grocery stores and pharmacies probably order more but very rarely do stores get an entire case, they buy them and split them up between 3-5 stores).

  • cac1959 says:

    Great read…

    I majored in math in college… I like working with numbers… but not in this case.

    Mattel has no one to blame but themselves for retailers cutting back on case orders; too many Finn, Mater, Finn, McQueen, Finn, Francesco, and Finn (did I say Finn) in the first several cases… the local Meijer has 80 Finn and 3 Francesco singles on the pegs, and Walmart is all Finn/McQueen/Francesco.

    Too many Finn/Tomber and Mater/Zen Master Pitty in 2 packs… the exclusive vehicle strategy did not work real well for them or us.

    Too many Submarine Finn in the Deluxe case.

    Anyway, I’ll be ordering a G case even though I just got an E case… I may end up with only 1 Ultimate Chase Flash; we’ll never see them in stores around here.

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