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Mattel Disney Pixar CARS: Micro Drifters Drifting Downward?

As “John H.” spotted, there are two Micro Drifter track sets that seem to available nowhere else except at Shop.Mattel.com.

Each line extension from the “mainline” no matter if it’s CARS or some other line requires the revenue from playets/tracksets or accessories to drive the real revenue – while not as obvious as the razor blade to razor or coffee maker to capsule analogy, it’s not too far off. The health of any line depends on consumers “upgrading” their budget by adding playsets, tracksets, box sets, etc …to their purchases.

It’s especially puzzling and telling that these track sets are not at retail. It’s not good news if retailers turn down buying your track sets at any time but at Christmas time? In other words, if you can’t sell toys at Christmas time, um, you’re dead. They don’t even seem to be at Toys R Us who will pretty much sell anything as toy makers generally allow them generous terms as so they don’t fold up …

And what’s even worse news? These are not even high end priced track sets. I could almost understand the reticence in offering these track sets at $29 or $35 dollars because of the economy and that Micro Drifters are a middling success but at $15 and $20 for the track set? AND Target, WM & TRU all said no – AND Amazon? If Micro Drifters are not at death’s door, there is a guy in a giant black hoodie and a sickle GPS about to knock on the door when the only place in America you can buy these are at your own online store.

I don’t hate Micro Drifters nor do I wish them ill will peg-wise but just noting that when mainstay retailers tell you no on track sets, it’s like in the Westerns where the undertaker begins measuring you … or you find a DO NOT RESUSCITATE sign on your hospital door. It’s NOT good news.

So, it might be be ‘get them while you can,’ because Micro Drifters might not outlast the January markdown … or even if it hangs on without an official death certificate, we won’t see too many more waves – like the Action Agents. It’s not officially dead, it’s just not alive.

So, while the Micro Drifter Design & Drift Speedway &Radiator Springs Challenge are fun for Micro Drifters, the bigger issue with track sets for Micro Drifters that they did not think through, MD’s are a non-standard scale so there’s ZERO play value if you don’t buy Micro Drifters. The Micro Drifters are cute and there is some interest but clearly not enough to warrant a full line blitz. Retailers clearly looked at the sales numbers and decided to call it a day – it seems very few retailers received CASE B of the 3-packs. CASE C seems to be at the warehouse now but how may cases will retailers commit to?

It looks like the Francesco launcher is canceled and some Micro Drifter items are being offered to consolidators.



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  • Modeltrainman says:

    Where’re Ebay sellers getting them?

  • Tom says:

    Good riddance.
    These and Action Agents have been decomposing on the pegs since they came out.

  • DDD says:

    I really liked these when they came out, and so did my 4-year-old-nephew. (In fact, my sister said the other day that he and his friends continue to find and enjoy them during playdates.) But when I started seeing the B case sets, I knew I wanted the Francesco and Mater cars…but not enough to buy the repeats or unwanted cars you had to buy to get them. I still don’t have them…and probably never will. I do want the Submarine Finn with breathing gear enough to get a set of three when it comes out, but there are others I’d have wanted but will only buy if they’re singles or come three new cars to a set.

    I even was planning to get my nephew the big track set for Christmas, but I’m leaning away from it now. If these are heading to clearance, I may wait till his birthday in April. While he loves these little cars, even if I get him the track set, how many Micro Drifters do you really need to play with at one time??

    In related news, I finally saw the Series 3 and 4 Squinkies the other day, and there are some cute ones…a Sub Finn with breathing gear, Globey, Siddeley, and more, but at $10 for each set I’ll wait for clearance (Walmart has them for $5 but I haven’t seen the newer sets there.)

    I suppose Squinkies are a different matter, but I think the Micro Drifters are another example that you have to keep new Cars product flowing and available in ways that don’t make you feel cheated when you buy it…mainly, having to amass unwanted cars in multi-packs to get what you want. I do hope we get some of the cooler ones before they go away, and I’ll always love my Colossus…one of the all-time great Cars items, even though I don’t associate him with the Micro Drifters.

  • Jack says:

    When will Mattel realize this line is all about the 1:55 diecast first and foremost. As for playsets or other higher priced items to drive the line just stick with the 1:55 ones. They should make the Cozy Cone, courthouse, Sarges surplus store etc. they all would sell a ton. Not to mention finish the haulers and crew sets. There is a ton of untapped money there.

  • John says:

    We collected them all; the boys played with them a lot for a while, then ‘drifted’ back to the die casts.

    Any idea which car is included in each set?

    How would we spot a case ‘C’? The case with Shu Todoroki is easy to find at all three big retailers now.

    (MET: Case C cards mirror the new card design – white space with a red border).

  • John in Missouri says:

    This news is completely out of left field. How could Big Box retailers pass on these after the massive success of other Cars 2 lines like Action Agents, Launchers, and Deluxe?

  • cac1959 says:

    Thank you for the heads up… I’ve seen Micro Drifters in several stores but had made the decision that they weren’t for me… I think they’re too small for young toddlers who like to put things in their mouths.

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