In an ideal world slot cars would be sold at a store around the corner. A store that you already probably shop at for clothes, toys, and maybe even food...well that time has come for the U.S.
SCX Tecnitoys and Target...yes Target have teamed up to bring slot cars to the masses. Beginning in August "SCX Compact" a 1/43 scale - all new line of slot cars - will be sold across the US at 2 price points. A Tuner set will be sold which will be a figure 8 for $49.99 and a much larger Formula 1 set with 28' of track will be sold for $99.99.
Target has expressed an interest in a 3 year program around selling sets and accessories. SCX has agreed to sell these in the mass market exclusively through Target. These sets will be of hobbyist quality but will be offered at this lower price with the intention to bring in a younger market than most slots are currently sold to. SCX will introduce the 1:43rd scale SCX Compact product to the hobby channel in 2008.
These sets are already produced, a total between 60,000-70,000 total sets have been made. Accessory packs, which will sell for $14.99, will include a 4-pack of straights and a 4-pack of curves (plans are also to have a pack of banked curves as well). Additional cars sold in 2-packs will be Nascars and a pack of Tuners, these will sell for $19.99.
Cars will clearly be a lower level of detail than the current 1/32 SCX cars we're all used to seeing, but I'm assured that the mechanical integrity of these cars will be high. The desire is that these sets will be a toy that's used and played with for some time and NOT a limited life present that is purchased for a low price but isn't meant to last long.
The sticking point for selling 1/32 slot cars in the US market at your local toy store has been the size of the set that can be sold for around $99.99. The companies that have tried to do this offered only a figure 8 and a pair of cars which doesn't hold anyone's attention very long.
"We believe that slot car racing should be as big as it was in the 60's and 70's", Charles Ehredt of Tecnitoys said during a recent phone call to the Slot Car News offices, and personally I think this move will bring slots back to the masses. "Our goal in working with Target was to expose modern consumers to slot car racing so our hobby grows once again.¨
An editorial note:
Rumors of the SCX 1/43 product surfaced at the end of last year. The bigger news is not so much the new product line as much as it is the manner of distribution. The holy grail of retail in the US is entree into the large retail store. Mom and Pop hobby shops are struggling at the moment, or are at least not in the consciousness of the culture. This move by SCX will allow slots to come out of the exclusive domain of the "people that know" about the hobby. Few people knew that the hobby even existed past the birthday party their kids went to once a year at the local "thingy" track. So hold onto your hats, Slotters, your hobby is about to get back into the mainstream...hopefully.