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Mattel Disney Pixar CARS & PLANES: We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know

While the in-store stock situation is not a new situation, it is puzzling.


On paper, it seems to be a mostly normal year – there were 14+ cases (including twin cases) plus a few retailer pallets/sidecaps … but to the average CARS buyer, they would be STUNNED to hear there were 14+ case assortment releases. It’s safe to say except a few specific stores or a few pockets here and there, most stores have not gotten more than a few cases and on the West Coast, we seem to have gotten ONE case over & over again.

What is the story there?

It’s hard to say because it’s not logical.

First, it’s indefensible that in each case there is only 1 each of either a new release or  long time re-release … it makes no sense on any level. It doesn’t even make economic sense to create a new mold and put 1 in each case that seems to get minimal distribution. It might make sense if they were just lazy repaints but in most cases, they are new intricate sculpts and molds – the issue is not on the design side. We have gotten some terrific releases and even possibly the NICEST not $100+ box set with the SDCC Neon Racers – nicest not just for diecasts but possibly all toys EVER. So, it’s not a design issue but clearly after that is approved and produced, somewhere along the line it all goes awry. Is it marketing? Is it sales? Is it distribution? (Yes, at Mattel, they are three different departments).

Basically, they are either not shipping product to retailers or retailers are not ordering product – and this might be why Barbie & Hot Wheels are in a flat spin also … again, it’s puzzling as people are buying CARS & PLANES diecasts … are they hoping that by not shipping diecasts, when we wander over to the aisle and can’t find diecasts, we’ll just buy a higher margin item playset?

wall rack track set

It seems like there must be a plan – just not a very well thought out plan?

So, you’re NOT crazy when you can’t find diecasts and you are NOT alone in not finding diecasts AND when there are only 3-4 new/sought after re-releases in a carton of 24, re-sellers AND CARS fans are not that eager to buy cases which only adds to the perceived scarcity. The issue seems to be that they are being produced in quasi-normal production numbers, they are simply not being shipped in normal-range quantities … will be seeing a massive influx at discontinued retailers in 8-12 months?

The situation is about the same with PLANES diecasts. There are anywhere from 5-15 diecasts on a list – a few have gotten a minor release in CAN or EU but there seems to a massive quantity sitting in the warehouse – are they the new ones? Are there more Dusty’s?

Where is the disconnect?

The bottom line is there is continued interest in both CARS & PLANES but yet, the supply side of this equation hates capitalism.

It’s not logical but then it’s also hard to understand why they can’t fix Hot Wheel sales issues when they basically have no competition for diecasts at retail.

(The oversized Deluxe situation seems to be mostly normal – there were not a lot of cases released this year versus previous years but there was a regular rate of new releases. Same with 2-packs, the only oddity was the singles where most of the new releases or long-time returning re-releases were only sparsely released).

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