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Mattel Disney Pixar CARS: White Hot After All These Years

The CARS market is a singularity … (via FreeDictionary).

1. The quality or condition of being singular.
2. A trait marking one as distinct from others; a peculiarity.
3. Something uncommon or unusual.
4. Astrophysics A point in space-time at which gravitational forces cause matter to have infinite density and infinitesimal volume, and space and time to become infinitely distorted.
When a line extension hits, it’s pretty much an immediately “sellout.”
But not every “sellout” is not always a success … because of a gravitational pull of an force called eBay (some people refer to them as dark matter. 🙂 ).
Every morning Target, Walmart and Toys R Us are greeted by rouge asteroids who go crashing through the store and often end life as we know it in the section called CARS. They suck up everything new and it’s immediately posted online. Some items remain in a steady state for years. Some items start hot and actually get brighter. Some items flash hot for a few weeks and fade rapidly, some never gain much traction and fall off the known world.
Virtually 90% of all CARS diecast are steady sellers and maintain a steady position on the secondary market. Nearly ALL CARS have at least maintained a floor of $5 and generally closer to $15. No other diecast line can say this – including the fabled HW – that after 700 releases, you’d be hard pressed to lose money on selling in the secondary market. And of course, you just have to see how many listings there are for CARS items and diecasts – it is the law of supply & demand. You can’t fake it or make it real, it just is.
The other 10% – hot or super hot – from Frank to Bessie to Super Chases or recent hard to find CARS like Rip Clutchgoneski – good luck finding a bargain. These maintain their pricing from Day one and has only gone up in price. From $20 to $200 – each listing gets 3 to dozens of bids … that’s a marketplace.
So, when there’s a line extension, an oddity happens – when the new line arrives, it’s also virtually stripped from the shelves – whether it’s ultimate failures such as Action Agents or Pullbacks or quasi-successes such as Mini Adventures or Micro Drifters, the initial snapshot looks like a raging success – why?
Because the average eBay seller is offered a 30-60 days “free” window from the Big Three retailers – as long as they hang onto their receipts and the item is undamaged, they can test the market for “free.” It’s technically not free as they have to drive there and back but since they’re going everyday and going anyway, it’s not really an extra trip. And of course, it means you pretty much have to pick up whatever you want “new” right away as it’s probably not going to be there for long and of course, if others cannot wait for a restock and buy it from eBay, that just adds fuel to the secondary market fire …
Or if that line extension is not successful enough – those items gets returned, hence, sometimes the mysterious returns of some items out of the blue … though keep in mind, secondary market sellers have different rates of return for them to sell or return to retail – some are happy to make $.50 after fees, others have a higher margin bar.
Note – I have NOTHING against eBay – the situation is what it is – ultimately, it’s a barometer of supply and demand – obviously everyone would like to walk into a store and pay what you want to pay but that’s never really the case. The most obvious example is you are willing to pay a lot more for hot meal if you are starved – but 5 minutes after you start eating, the value of what you’re willing to pay goes way down. 🙂
Or that most people would be happy to pay $3.49 for Rip Clutchgoneski but no one puts down an extra $1.50 in the till when it’s on sale for $1.99, right? 🙂 And keep in mind that stores are not geographically disbursed correctly or accurately – one person might be able to hit 10 stores in an hour, others 2 … with CARS, it’s ultimately a guessing game that no one can 100% predict supply & demand along with buyer psychology, income and time as factors.
AND keep in mind, many people would stop collecting if the perception is that many others are not collecting … 🙂 So, in a weird way, we want it to be harder or more difficult, otherwise, what’s the fun? 🙂 You pretty much have the field if you want to collect toilet paper designs.
So, yes, the situation with CARS is never perfect but it’s never dull. We have either too much or too little – it’s priced too low or too high … sometimes you can wait it out – other times, the best time is to buy it now because 2 years later, it’s now priced insanely high.
So, pay exactly what you’re willing to pay.
Have a fun and successful hunt in 2013!
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  • BigMOCats says:

    Once again the “evilbayers” get bashed for buying up all the product. I’ve been a toy collector for over 30 years and have an ebay rating of 145, ALL purchases. It has been very helpful in letting me acquire items I would never find in the store. Yet I must defend the sellers, people are always complaining they buy up all the good stuff so the normal collector cannot get it. I say HOGWASH! (Do people still say that?) I see so many “collectors” posting pictures of their “hauls” in which they have bought EVERYTHING to hit the pegs, all in the name of helping other collectors. If you really want to help other collector’s, leave something on the peg for the guy behind you!!!!

  • carslover says:

    either you enjoy collecting cars or you don’t
    no matter what you collect there are always hard to find items
    if it were easy to find everything, then what is the point to collecting it in the frist place
    the hunt is half the fun

  • Steve AKA: Poppa says:

    I also stopped collecting with Cars, The Original. Cars, The Original had a cute story line. Cars II, well, for the target audience it is too complicated. Sure, a lot of kids who watch cartoons that depict some level of television violence, love the action of smashing and bashing cars. But, do they really understand the underlying messages. Sure, any little die cast car held in their hands will entice them to role play.

    As to the remarks on eBayer and scalpers. Well, if I remember T5AD there were some “secondary” marketeers who chastised any negative comments concerning them. Are they rampant in the marketplace? When I go to eBay to check on anything I’m searching for (not Cars anymore), I use the setting for closest to my zip code. There are not too many resellers in my area. The local antique malls do not have die cast car resellers anymore. They cannot absorb the rent and split. That leads me to believe there are mom’s and dad’s searching for the new castings for their kids. I see mom’s and dad’s all the time. I get out and about early, not to hunt for Cars, but, to drive my wife to her job. Then I do the duties that need to be done. Yes, that includes checking for Cars for a collector on this site, and, Marvel Universe action figures (one only) for my adult collector son. What I observe is (1) over representation of some castings in a box, which are never cleared out by the retailer through returns to Mattel or heavily discounted; and, (2) retailers who do not know how to sell toys. Target views toys like a loaf of bread. When the Cars are gone, we’ll order more. So, check the stock, and, yep, there are enough Cars in inventory. It does not matter that they are all the same, and, will never sell.

    To those hoarding these little guys as a hedge against inflation, have fun. Years ago I predicted Mattel would reintroduce Cars, The Original. Why not? Carsland is open. It’s the original play set. Kids want those Cars. If it has blown your investment strategy to pieces, oh well.

    Enjoy playing with your kid on the floor. If you collect, then, enjoy the hunt. Nothing can be done about the secondary marketeers.

  • pwschuh says:

    I haven’t posted in a while since I completed my collection of CARS and decided not to collect CARS2. My perspective is that the blame for any of these problems lies totally at the feet of the manufacturer. They have been in the collectables business for decades and know how the system works. They create shortages of certain cars on purpose in order to create buzz. Buzz sells product. (No, not Buzz Lightyear…)

    If all of the cars were as readily available as Lightning McQueen, eBay scalpers wouldn’t be interested. When they short pack stuff or underproduce certain items and then dump them in Europe, they know exactly what they are doing and what the result will be.

    • Fillmore1234 says:

      Good to see you’re back! Hopefully you realize that they are releasing new Cars 1 diecasts this year. Kit Revster is already available… which means your Cars 1 collection is not complete anymore 🙂

      Collect em all!

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