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Mattel Disney Pixar CARS Diecast: Gouging & Swapping

The race day exclusives have showed up at my local Target BUT …


These are not the CARS “exclusives.” but rather swaps from someone’s open collection. While I certainly don’t condone this – however by Mattel demanding that collectors pay up to $76* for 3 character diecasts just beggers the situation for abuse.

(With taxes and at CityTarget Stores, everything costs a little more).

During the initial release stages of CARS 2, you could excuse some of it as – if you’re an opener or not a card collector, you might as well buy some of them in a box set OR you could buy the singles and keep them mint while buying box sets and opening those but now, 2 years later, there is very little excuse for this packing assortment other than laziness and gouging.

It’s understandable minor characters like Alloy Hemberger might not warrant a single release and a “full” production run – the perfect solution is a 2-pack. It doesn’t cost any less or more versus a minimum run box set release of Alloy to put him in a 2-pack. Ideally, you put him in a 2-pack with another new or re-paint release but even as fan of Max Schnell if you include Max in a 2-pack, people might grumble a little but spending only $3 more is not a huge deal – plus it’s enticing as Max is a racer for new collectors. And unlike other 2-packs that might get a release many times throughout the year, maybe the Alloy-Max 2-pack only gets 2 releases … enough to satisfy most collectors.

box back

Race Day Fan-mama

While the obvious choice of a Mama Bernoulli 2-pack is Francesco, we’re all pretty tired of him so unless it’s a variant and even if you insisted on canonocity that a 2-pack must be a “Movie Moment” where the characters appear together on screen – Mama Bernoulli appears on screen in the track stands where there must be 500 REPAINT possibilities … if Victor Paveone (aka: Yellow Jag in Stands) can appear as a SINGLE as a repaint of David Hobbscapp, then certainly we can find ONE other re-paint car to match with Mama Bernoulli – another red Fiat 500? Either an old style Luigi repaint (tiny piece of diecast, cheap – perfect!) or the new Fiat 500? Or the laziest 2-pack – Mama with Bindo would be okay with 99.9% of collectors and buyers – even new collectors …


Or if you are okay with a “movie moment” as not absolutely having to be a CARS character directly NEXT to that other character, er I think ANY of these 500 choices is okay with 99% of collectors?


And this is presuming Mattel would NEVER release a new release with Mama or Alloy … even re-releasing Denise Beam, right?

Instead, we get box sets that serve no real purpose … newbies wonder why they can’t just get 4 racers? Long time collectors get that gougie feeling of having to re-re-re-rebuy 3 other CARS to get the one new character … when it’s TOTALLY un-necessary. With certain properties, you are limited, Spiderman or Batman, well, people ultimately just want Batman or Spiderman but CARS is EXACTLY like Star Wars. We are perfectly happy with a re-paint DROID versus another Luke or Han … we are perfectly happy with a re-paint with a made up name. What could be better, re-selling a repaint that makes EVERYONE happy – from the accountants at Mattel to retailers to customers. Hello? Hello?


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  • GotFrank says:

    This is corporations taking advantage of a manipulated
    and manufactured “perceived value” http://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/perceived-value.asp
    for these items. Over the years cars have sold for $30+
    on eBay. So MattelTarget creates a situation where us
    as buyers can say “well it’d be $30 on ebay, so why not?”
    And in the process they get rid of inventory they can’t
    sell for a dollar (ie: McQ, Finn & Francesco). So in doing
    this they raise the “price point” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Price_point
    From $4.50 to $30. The more common these sets become
    (Disneyland Exclusive Time Travel Mater sets) the
    more likely they will continue. As this increases
    sales (by price not actual units sold). Because in
    their minds people who aren’t collectors. Will eventually
    buy all 250,000 Finn McMissiles out there clogging pegs @ $4.50.
    And we the collector community will be buying new cars for
    $30 a pop. All to increase the “bottom line”
    Which is the primary goal of any corporation. As they
    are obligated to their shareholders to do so.

    I realize this would require becoming a CTT member.
    But I urge all to vote here: http://carsthetoys.yuku.com/topic/19692/Multipacks-with-one-newexclusive-vehicle#.UdrY3zuGzLo
    And take the time to let Target know how you feel here: http://www.target.com/legal-contact-us/email-subscribe

    Thanks for allowing me some soap-box time.
    And BTW my two cents: this sucks!

  • Raekwonn says:

    Regarding the swapping cars then returning, I agree, target employees don’t care – I returned a London rescue 12 pack that had L&S Mater subbing for the UK ramone – when I returned it I told them what was up, and they reshelved it in the same condition, didn’t seem to matter.

    regarding the mulitpacks in general – If you’re lucky enough you can pick up a 4 pack and either return your singles (I am not an opener)- if the receipt hasn’t expired, or sell them on ebay, if they are in enough demand. I managed that a few times to justify a multi-pack, but there comes a point where if you support half your cars collection with multipacks, you STILL end up with doubles or triples – as they put LMQ in almost every single multi-pack, and now they are repeating the racers.

    Why cant they put more of the newer cars in a 4 or a 7 pack???? If they want to make a racer multipack available to newer collectors, then make it exclusively racers. A few of them that they sell make sense, but only a few. I liked the one with Fiber Fuel as it dipped back into the original Cars realm- I eventually returned that one after picking up on ebay a few original cars 4 packs – which was the only way to easily get a lot of the original cars movie racers in plastic tires.

  • carslover says:

    it just shows that target employees will take anything back no questions asked

  • Tom says:

    It’s a bummer that people have to buy the multi-packs to get some of these Cars, but people buying then swapping then returning is just scum-bag behavior.
    I do kinda feel bad for the people that do it though. The time and effort spent to either save themselves $20 or to make a few bucks selling it on eBay means they must be pretty desperate.

  • Matersgrlfriend says:

    Yes, these sets are total exploitation of collectors at this point. While the pics in this post appear to be done by a collector (the singles they replaced with are actually interesting in 2 of the 3 cases), I think most of the replacements I see in the store are actually done by ebay resellers of these loose, the most common replacement car being Cars 2 King Peg Warmer Francesco.

    The irony is that it would be so easy to make so much more money off of us and they should know how to do it. I love the 2 pack/movie moment idea.

    Or how about a Cars Collectors Club like the Red Line Club and Matty Collector which seem to have functioned fairly well for Hot Wheels and MOTU collectors. There is absolutely no way there are more MOTU collectors than Cars collectors.

    How much would we pay for membership alone, especially if it came with a cute little membership card and an annual exclusive like the RLC? What about a Gold level where you would get a subscription to a Cars magazine/comic like D23? These characters that they put in the 4 packs would be perfect for the monthly exclusives. Really, collectors are the buyers for these, not your average 2-5 year old.

    Why is it so hard for Mattel to figure out how to sell to us?

    • Wraukn says:

      I agree. If Matty or RLC had Cars memberships, they would have to be more popular than He Man. As long as they were new releases and not $70 LMQ Alive cars that could be found at Kmart clearance 2 months later for $16.

  • John in Missouri says:

    At least they included Erik’s flag.

  • cac1959 says:

    Well said, Met… I’ve seen and left the Chauncy Fares 7 pack… while I want Chauncy I’m not willing to spend $30 plus tax to get him… 1 new Car in a boxed set? I can see that in a 3 pack… but in any boxed sets bigger than a 3 pack that’s just greed and gouging by Mattel and the retailer.

  • jestrjef says:

    I wish I could catch some one trying to return a multipack like this! OOOOOHHH MAN, that is so not cool!

    • DragsterMater says:

      Oh, and stuffing a 4 pack with 3 repeats and charging us $20 for it is cool? I don’t condone stealing, but Mattel/Target is doing EXACTLY that by allowing this to continue. They got what they deserved.

  • Mountain Mater says:

    Well done. Well said. If there’s anything worse than being thought of as an “addict”, its being thought of as a “desperate brain dead addict”. My current level of indignity and betrayal has enabled me to resist the mindless multi-pack mentality (like this is some kind of deal, really?) to secure some obscure, non-speaking character with less than five seconds of screen time. Instead, I choose to find solace sitting in the British Racing Green Lotus position, contemplating simpler times and fondling my Desert Back singles. One “L” or two? Hmmmmmmmmm………………

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