Model Railway Forum banner
1 - 20 of 98 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
233 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sterling is virtually on parity with the Euro - this evening's BBC News, how does this affect your intentions to buy more European outline?

For those locked into European outline, this must come as an unwelcome shock, especially in the wake of this year's price hikes, I draw no satisfaction in the realisation that the forthcoming Christmas release from Fleischmann (BR54.15) will hit the buffers at a show-stopping £300 plus postage of £18
A recent trawl of UK stockists, produced an eyewatering £500+ for a Brawa 06.

OK, what the diff? Who cares? Well, I do and after 30+ years modelling German railways, I am cashing in on the price hikes and have sold the German outline layout (and stock) for at least double what I expected to receive and will replace it with British OO outline. A small industrial German-outline layout replaces the larger BLT and even this is 'neutral theme' and can be retrospectively used as a British shunting plank.

I do not think that the situation is about to improve and the Euro's continued rise, whilst great for Eurozone natives visiting the UK, is going to bite hard their export sales combined with lack of consumer confidence might mortally wound one or two of the European manufacturers.


Tim
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
233 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Doug,

Having been an impartial witness to the rise and fall in the build standard of European* outline stock for the past 30 years, my conversion to British outline is hardly surprising. The quality of Hornby locos and Bachmann rolling stock with a superb support infrastructure of smaller manufacturers makes my decision that much easier.

Tim

*Yes, the UK is part of Europe but I can hardly use the term, non-British outline European rolling stock, it is a bit long-winded.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
296 Posts
I'm also enjoying the parity with the Pound
- It's making my purchases in the UK much much more exciting. Have already bought something from C&M Models.

I question whether the parity to the Pound will have that much impact on European manufacturers tbh, the UK is just one bit of the export market they're working for - I imagine they'd be much more worried if the German market collapsed than any other market, and as far as I can see this is more a case of the Pound on free-fall.

72C - would Continental European suit your search for a precise term?
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
9,845 Posts
Whilst the rise in the cost of models coming across the channel from Europe is immediate, is it not inevitable that the cost of models manufactured in the far east is also going to rise since sterling has fallen heavily against everything except the Oz dollar? At least UK models start from a lower base. It's probably time to actually start all those projects I've got bits and pieces for.

David
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,397 Posts
I'm, unfortunately, well in the position that Tim's talking about. The Australian dollar has the exact same issues as the pound against the Euro and UK outline is a far more attractive proposition than Continental cost wise.

I have several items on order from Germany four of which are locos, three with sound and one Brawa with sound. These items along with a couple of coach sets and many other peripherals were ordered nine months ago when the exchange rate was somewhat rosier. The exchange rate drop against the Euro has cost me around $200 on the Brawa Lok alone. It really has hit me hard however I would still say that the items are still considerably cheaper bought from Germany than they are here. The Brawa S9 would originally have cost me $770 from Modelbahn Kramm and it is now costing me $940. I got a quote from a dealer here which was $1,170. I have not cancelled anything as it's all stuff I really want and I have figured that the exchange rate will now probably stay where it is. For that reason I added a Roco Kreigslok to the order yesterday as I figure this is the new order and I would be as well to adapt to it.

I did have a good look around at UK outline to buy but all the items I want don't come out for some time. The hobby just got more expensive. The new higher prices will mean I can buy less.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
982 Posts
QUOTE Well I'm buying more British

I hope that you don't feel bad about that... I'm just taking advantage of my locality

Sorry Doug , but you actually mean you're buying more Chinese! Hornby and Bachmann both going to be affected by this!

Russell
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
305 Posts
Well, considering my tracker mortgage has gone from 5.99% to 2.99%, I'll have loads of spare ££££ to absorb the 20% increase in toy trains! LOL.

Over the last year the £:euro has gone from 1.4 to 1.12 (20% drop) so its not that great a difference. Also consider that the major manufacturers are moving or have moved production to eastern europe/China and the actual MRP of the models in euros will/should have dropped anyway.

Even if I wasn't saving money on my mortgage and money became an issue, I'd rather have one nice model that two I didn't like.

Now also consider before the £ started to drop, petrol was 1.20 a litre (now 89p) plus other commodities have dropped also. With all the sales on at the moment and offers I guess you would have saved lots of money in other areas to make up for the increases in Euro train prices.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
9,845 Posts
QUOTE 1.4 to 1.12 (20% drop) so its not that great a difference.

But a 20% drop means you have to pay 25% more to get what you would have had last year. Now to me that's a big difference.

David
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,342 Posts
When I sell my surplus stock on Ebay I sell in US$ I had previously sold DCC converted loco's for US$300 or more
but to Australian buyers at the time it was only about AU$320 - now that price would AU$450

So no more selling for me for now , I'll just have to play with what I have

Regards

Zmil
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,614 Posts
hmm all a bit scary isnt it?

i have never lived through such uncertain economic times and frankly i simply dont know what its going to be like. i certainatly have no intention of buying any RTR for the time being. its time to finish all those projects i have sitting in the cupboard.

I cant afford continental stuff. but then i never really could so it hasnt really affected me that way.

i think we are going to go through a period of "make do and mend" rather than impulse buying £100 loco's.

I do think that some of the pounds problems are due to the attitude of some of our european leaders trying to deflect attention from their own economy with elections comming up but perhaps politics of this kind is something best not discussed on the forum...

Peter
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
233 Posts
A comment that seems to be missed by almost everyone is the 'German' factor of build quality, customer support and fidelity.

Not so recently, we bought German/Austrian products because they were perceived as 'better' however is this perception still applicable? The recent generation of Hornby product from the N15 onwards is rather good and it brings into question the other element of the 'German' factor, namely customer support.

I doubt if anyone can fault Hornby's exceptional customer service for its UK market. This is stark contrast with Brawa's demand for 23Eu for a valve gear screw that fell off after two minutes of running (one could have expected an FOC response?) Or the demand from Matrix that the loco is returned to the dealer for attention rather than simply supplying a traction tyre. Even Fleischmann's legendary customer service has been rationalised to the extent that my UK dealer took ten weeks (and £10 minimum charge) to replace a missing handrail.

Unfortunately neither is the build quality as good as it used to be, a factor that requires use of the aforementioned customer service departments, a recent Roco purchase found the tender sideframes installed inverted and the loco-tender cardan shaft was missing completely.

Given the above examples of poor customer service and suspect build quality, is the fidelity any better than Hornby/Bachmann?

The answer is no, not really, I still find profound dimensional inaccuracies and livery errors on recent Continental European models. This may not be an issue for those who are unaware of what the model should represent but is this acceptable in a model costing 300EU?.

OK, what do I want?

1. Reduction in costs of models. Build to a price, even if this results in an end to the technology race.
2. Review of customer support, build quality and fidelity. Accuracy costs absolutely nothing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,611 Posts
Ultimately I will still buy, but because my NZD doesn't buy as many Euro's now (18% decrease in value) the amount of Euro's I have to spend is less.

The German manufacturers do make a point of how big their domestic maket is. But how much of the stuff that the big internet dealers buy domestically, do they export?

Given the economic climate, I thing Nurenberg will be a bit quieter this year, and while the manufacturers have already decided what the new items were going to be, they may defer some until 2010 to save costs. The R&D might have been done, but that doesn't mean they have to announce and produce.

It may really be a case of buying locally and scratch building rather that buying RTR.

Who know, the hobby may come out stronger as a result.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
763 Posts
Where the hobby goes is interesting and an awkward question. The Chinese currency has revalued against the euro - so Chinese models will be more pricy in Germany. The Germans already seem to have slashed their RTR spend over the last 5-10 years, and it hardly seems likely to get better

RTR prices in Britain will inevitably rise sharply, for the same item , as Chinese costs increase through exchange rates and rising labour costs. This is a relentless escalator that cannot be switched off, but we still have a long long way to go before prices approach Continental levels

The implications are that RTR sales will steadily fall , and therefore the hobby will have to be based less on extensive RTR buying.

This also implies fewer brands, fewer models in the catalogues, fewer new releases

Excluding moves to China - because Chinese costs are rising steadily towards ours - the only ways to contain cost and thereby preserve sales volume would seem to be :

- End the specification arms race . I think we will now plateau in terms of specification on British outline , for a decade or more. Some Continental HO looks frankly over specified (the so-called "museum quality" stuff). I can see DCC Sound going a bit quiet.

- Reduce R&D /tooling cost : meaning a return to the days of very limited new releases, and a much higher proportion of the range coming from existing tooling. Over time this will mean "tooling which has been paid off". We are starting to see that with Railroad - but that is still "toy train " tooling . There comes a point when higher spec stuff will start to fall into that category

Where this leaves the Brawas of this world, or Matrix trying to flog old tooling at 300 euros a loco , is a good question
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
7,397 Posts
QUOTE (72C @ 12 Dec 2008, 22:57) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>A comment that seems to be missed by almost everyone is the 'German' factor of build quality, customer support and fidelity.

Not so recently, we bought German/Austrian products because they were perceived as 'better' however is this perception still applicable? The recent generation of Hornby product from the N15 onwards is rather good and it brings into question the other element of the 'German' factor, namely customer support.

I doubt if anyone can fault Hornby's exceptional customer service for its UK market. This is stark contrast with Brawa's demand for 23Eu for a valve gear screw that fell off after two minutes of running (one could have expected an FOC response?) Or the demand from Matrix that the loco is returned to the dealer for attention rather than simply supplying a traction tyre. Even Fleischmann's legendary customer service has been rationalised to the extent that my UK dealer took ten weeks (and £10 minimum charge) to replace a missing handrail.

Unfortunately neither is the build quality as good as it used to be, a factor that requires use of the aforementioned customer service departments, a recent Roco purchase found the tender sideframes installed inverted and the loco-tender cardan shaft was missing completely.

Given the above examples of poor customer service and suspect build quality, is the fidelity any better than Hornby/Bachmann?

The answer is no, not really, I still find profound dimensional inaccuracies and livery errors on recent Continental European models. This may not be an issue for those who are unaware of what the model should represent but is this acceptable in a model costing 300EU?.

OK, what do I want?

1. Reduction in costs of models. Build to a price, even if this results in an end to the technology race.
2. Review of customer support, build quality and fidelity. Accuracy costs absolutely nothing.
Yes, agreed. The latest UK models are pretty good although DCC is still a hurdle that one manufacturer is still coming to terms with.
I am sure they will get there soon though. The detail on UK models is pretty good and in some cases exceeds that of German models twice the price. The cab detail on some of those new Hornby models is simply awesome.

In terms of value for money the UK manufacturers are far better. The German models with the new exchange rates are extorionate. Trouble is that there are some of those models that I really want and have no other means of getting them. What do I do? I'm over a barrel really. I will probably cancel some that I could do without. This year I mainly focussed on UK outline and this will become more so with the cost of models the way it is. Maybe just one or two German models that I really really really want. I have a feeling I am not the only one who will cut back in this area. This will only affect the export market which is going to be pretty insignificant. I don't think much will change in Continental model world based on overseas requirements.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
305 Posts
Why are these sound locos so expensive anyway? You can go to the local toy shop and buy a nice radio controlled car that makes sounds and has operating parts for £20 or so.
 
1 - 20 of 98 Posts
Top