Mattel Inc. is the world’s biggest toymaker and has recently decided that America’s youngest publicly traded automaker deserved a place in the Hot Wheels pantheon – offering now a Model S sedan.
The toymaker believes the new addition would not only attract children, but also adults – in the US the retail price is of $1.09, which is a long distance from the more than $100, 000 a fully loaded and fully fledged all-wheel drive Model S P85D can command. Mattel also had success when it started offering a Hot Wheels version of the first car built by Tesla – the Roadster – now a collectors’ item that can fetch $30 to $50. “Tesla is a brand that resonates across a range of consumers, from collectors to kids,” comments Chris Down, Hot Wheels senior vice president and general manager. “Everyone relates to the vehicles.” The company is restructuring today as revenues have gone down and the declining stock value triggered the ouster of Chief Executive Officer Bryan Stockton back in January. Hot Wheels has been the only major brand in Mattel’s stable to grow lately – rising three percent last year against Barbie’s revenue that dropped 16 percent over the same period.
Hot Wheels was established by Mattel back in 1968 and over the years has attracted a cult following, with 300 million unit sales last year. The typical customer, dubbed a “vehicle kid” is a 3- to 7-year-old boy residing in America, but South America and Asia have now grown to account for around 50 percent of Hot Wheels deliveries.