When was the last time you saw pegs stacked with Hot Wheels at your local big box retailer of choice? I estimate that about nine months ago I started noticing that every Walmart and Target in my immediate vicinity was licked with die-cast miniatures. It wasn’t particularly surprising over the holiday season, but it’s February now, and the toy car aisle everywhere I go looks something like the one at the top of this article: shelves full of these five packs that no one seems to want, but the singles and the Car Culture premium series are still, still gone. And I am not the only one who noticed.
He must absolutely suck to be a kid in cars right now and see no Hot Wheels to relentlessly beg your parents to buy. Mainly because Hot Wheels is better today than it’s ever been. and completely unpredictable. They go out Widebody Toyota Starlets, for pleasure. Unsurprisingly, this miserable drought can be blamed the same kind of supply chain blockages that have decimated every other industry. Last time I checked it was not small cars contain semiconductors. Ohat gives?
As always, there is a confluence of factors at play here. In addition to the toys that fly away shelves because the children have been stuck inside, there are still myriad ripple effects arising of events months ago that keep taking their toll. Mattel drastically reduced its workforce after Toys R Us closed four years ago, as Last mile logistics points outside. Could have been good if the world didn’t come to a complete stop about a year later. Jthen there was the whole Suez Canal affair – yes, Hot Wheels was counted among the The precious cargo of Ever Given. Combine all of this with truck driver in progress shortage, exacerbated by situations such as the recent protest against the Ambassador Bridgeand it’s not hard to see why everything sucks right now.
In the case of Hot Wheels, it probably doesn’t help that the world is full of sharks who like to grab any item anyone might want if there’s even the the thinnest chance of a profit to be returned to eBay. Tip: If you don’t already know what models Hot Wheels is offering this year, don’t click. this eBay link ’cause it’ll just piss you off. In fact, I suggest that instead of dropping $25 on a car that normally costs $6, go hit Target and grab something from Tarmac Works. You’ll spend about the same, but at least you’ll get a much higher quality model.
Also, while Mattel doesn’t sell every Hot Wheels actor directly to consumers, it’s not a flawless part either. JThe Mattel Creations store features select cuts from the brand’s high-end Car Culture and Team Transport series that enthusiasts might have missed the first time around. But rather than sell them à la carte or grouped together in a reasonable and logical manner, they are sold in stupidly expensive large multi-packs that no average consumer would be interested in buying. This E46 M3 below looks nice, but why on earth would I need of them of them?
All this to say that buying small cars in 2022, a bit like buying real ones, completely zero. Mattel recently announced its results for the fourth quarter of last yearand it recorded global net sales 10% higher than the same period in 2020. It also announced potential price increases for its products, per Reuters. I’ve reached out to Mattel to get some insight on what’s going on, especially for Hot Wheels, and will update with anything I hear.