That's an excellent question.
Although I am probably not in the market for their currently available offerings, I am extremely keen to know how the improved re-issues pan out for Hornby. I really, really want them to do well.
I guess it may take a little time and some prominent magazine publicity/advertising before the word really gets around.
The model above is a 141 P 282 Steam tender loco 34P SNCF. Great loco. I have 3 or 4 of the original Jouef ones.
I am a little shocked at the pricing though. OnTracks have it listed at £149.99. That's €219.38. Now, I wouldn't pay more that €60 for one of these on eBay - that's my rule. I don't know if I will be buying one of these new ones then...
The top priced Hornby trains are about £87. So why are these over £60 more expensive...
That price is something of a shock but it puts into sharper relief what has been said for a long time. Continental (steam) locos are considerably more complex than British, so requiring considerably more detail on the models. We must pay for it if that's what we want. Still, I think a lot of people were expecting a more 'British' price after Hornby's adoption and they will be disappointed.
But there is another very important factor too. Quite apart from true manufacturing cost + a reasonable' profit margin that is followed in some highly competitive fields, a manufacturer's prime directive is simple. It is to maximize profits. On the very reasonable assumption that the main market for Continental models is The Continent, with its established price structure, then Hornby would be stupid to reduce their profit by any more than they need to in order to undercut the very expensive German Manufacturers and Hornby are NOT stupid! They probably will take a time period to see how sales run and then adjust again at a a later date, but only if considered necessary. A pity though.
One of the things that led to the demise of Jouef, was that they brought out a range called 'Prestige'. This was basically the same locos as before, but with nicer boxes, a little more detailing and of course, much higher prices.
There were rumours that Hornby would have two ranges of Continental locos. I think that it may be too early to expect to see both now if they ever get around to it. What is for sure, is that these expensive locos will ONLY be bought by the rich older gents who remember the good old days of Jouef. The price is out of range for the younger modellers.
The hobby needs to be kick-started again in France - The French have had nothing new for 10 years except imported Märklin and Fleischmann (and to a small extent - Roco) SNCF locos.
Another factor to consider is manufacturing volume and I wonder if volumes are going to be limited for the moment? It is not really possible to kick start a market if there is limited product available initially.
Looking at the models on display at the Ontracks open day there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that more work goes into putting a continental model together. That was the first time I had really looked at continental models closely and it was a bit of an eye opener. Remember that the Bachmann Class 9F when finally offered in the UK has a list price of about £110 and this is still not as complex a model as those offered in Europe. And manufacturing costs have risen in the 14 months since Hornby purchased Lima.
And retail overheads in Europe and France may well be higher than the UK and this can impact on gross margins required by stockists. If the stockist does not feel confident that they can make the margin they need they will not stock the product. Employers overheads on wages are definitely higher in Europe than the UK.
The real point is we are now almost at the starting gate so lets see!
Hornby International will be having a major launch at the Nuremburg Toy Fair in Germany. This is Europe's annual showcase for toy and hobby manufacturers and is arguably the largest toy fair in the world.
the upcoming Spielwarenmesse International Toy Fair Nürnberg:
02 - 07 February 2006
World's number 1 for creative leisure activities
77,000 trade visitors from around 100 nations
more than 2,700 exhibitors from over 65 countries
1 million products, including some 60,000 new lines and improvements
over 155,000 m² of display area
Marklin have by far the biggest stand!
It is said that every male buyer who attends the show will visit the model railway hall. Not necessarily on business!
Not all continental locos are more complex-the Liliput(Bachmann) models of German class 42 and 52 are less than a 9f or Brittania but cost more....
I think continental modellers are used to higher prices and the manufacturer know that they can charge more. We all are spoilt by the very competitive prices of our OO models.
I hope that hornby international will offer weathered models of French and Italian steamers and the equivalent of a Skaledale range for French and Italian buildings.
This they could do. As they have taken over MKD in France, they now have the MKD range of buildings. They would just need to upgrade these a bit and get them to the quality of Skaledale. Up to now, I have avoided MKD buildings because the boxes that are never sealed are always missing parts to complete. The ones I did buy, I returned.
First of all that looks like a very nice model indeed.
QUOTE I think continental modellers are used to higher prices and the manufacturer know that they can charge more. We all are spoilt by the very competitive prices of our OO models.
I think there is more truth to this statement than what one would suspect.
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