I got a letter that stated that the Challenger would have to be reordered from
Horizon only IF they were previously ordered through another distributor.
Orders already on order with Horizon are done. I'm sure I got the same letter.
Sort of like Con-Cor's Electroliners that never materialized. "Oh, that's a
4-car trainset? Well, the price just went from X to X+$60. I think the final
price on the E-Liner went from $329 (which I'd pay) to $389 (which I wouldn't).
And that was the pre-order price. Turns out they didn't get enough pre-orders,
so they dropped it.
CNS&M North Shore Line - "First and fastest"
Yeah, but it's also half the price of brass and probably would run a lot
better. The rumor was it was to have Athearn can motors and guts. And it would
be a small run. A few thousand units tops. North Shore fans are sometimes
willing to pay more to get their beloved stuff. Check brass sales on eBay.
Brass North Shore cars typically run upwards of $200 or more, and that's before
the auction closes and sniping takes place. The Walthers kits are still
fetching over $80 with no motors, and their level of detail pretty much sucks,
at least on the car sides.
CNS&M North Shore Line - "First and fastest"
What?? I just talked to them today. Not only that I have had the Challengers on
backorder with them long before the buy out. I update my backordered daily from
their mainframe. I didn't see any such nonsense indicated. Also why would
Horzin cancel a standing backorder with them so I can reorder with them? If
there was a price change they normally notify us of that and we have the option
of dropping the order.
So yes please post the notice as I haven't seen mine yet.
The text of the email I received follows.
Well.... here we go. I have been formally informed by my wholesalers that
owners of Athearn are not honoring the orders placed last Autumn for the
Challenger Locomotive. All reservations are required to be reordered a
through the new owners at the higher wholesale cost price.
So far, this only applies to the Challenger. All other preorders
are safe and if it changes, I will notify you at once. There are rumors that
will meet the same fate, but I have no information on that yet, but I think
fact that Athearn never offered us a price is most telling. Now we know why.
While I could very easily get around the unreasonable terms of this new
I am declining to do so. I have already explained my reasons. Since
every response I have received from my customers has been in favor of a
boycott of Athearn products, and since I intend to stand by my convictions,
I will not be offering the Challenger or any products announced by the new
It is in no way my intention to send you elsewhere to purchase Athearn. My
is to assist the other dealers in keeping the product in the Athearn
This is the only way these people will understand and reopen the market the
should be and bring the prices down to a reasonable level. To buy now, will
encourage them to keep up their unacceptable business practices.
Regardless, there is no way I can match the price I advertised them at due
to the increased wholesale cost. Honestly, I cannot afford this kind of
They will be no guaranteed delivery either. I know how this game is played
I therefore know why they will not do so. I do not care to engage in such a
This is a very unfair and sorry situation for us all. There has
been a long standing tradition violated here and as I stated, it should not
allowed to proceed any further.
I suspect after the new owners become aware of the massive negative backlash
that exists all over the internet, we can expect some kind of gimmic or
"come-on" from them in the form of introductory special price offers. This
be short lived at best and a mere distraction from the present furor. I have
letter's from Horizon that I have found to be insulting and untruthful.
claim is Athearn will conduct "business as usual". This is so far from the
you wouldn't find it on the planet Pluto.
This is not good enough for me. They need to restore Athearn to what it
the standard staples of the hobby and supply the other wholesalers which
promote competitve pricing.
Should a few major wholesalers go under because of this, the survivors will
take full advantage and raise prices as the competition demises. WE NEED TO
AT ALL COSTS.
Well, I think I have stated my case and all I ask is that you continue to
feel free to order the other products and stand with me on this issue. I
be working extra hard to bring you better deals on other quality products.
I have exhausted this topic..you know where I stand and I hope you will
with me in turning this in our favor. If the inventory remains in THEIR
for only one month.. I think they should get the message, but who knows,
there are none more blind than those who do not want to see.
Should anything else important develop pertaining to your current orders
I will notify you.
What part was untruthful. With the exception of distribution and marketing
Athearn is to carry on as before. All new product is to be left up to Athearn
in California to develop. All service of warranty work is to be done by
Athearn. Athearn will be under Horizon. This is basically the deal I've seen
time and again with other hobby merchandise. The unique thing about this is
that it's finally happened with a major model railroad manufacturer. It's been
around for years in the R/C and to an extent in plastics.
Distribution is not a trivial thing. You like it because you are a
Horzion dealer. If the shoe was on the other foot, you would be
email@example.com (Dave Henk) wrote in message
Nope. Screaming not needed. It would be but a temporary inconvenience at worse.
We have had situations like this occur. Those times they were R/C products. We
wanted them so we added the new distributor to get them. This goes on several
times a year in the pursuit of products my customers want. Examples: Bandai was
coming in exclusively via Sentai Distributors, Firebirds via Horizon,
Trumpeteer via Stevens International. I use each of these distributors. they
are not near my top 5 but we do use them several times a month. Over the years
the shop has gotten Athearn from Bev-Bel, Pan-Am, Walthers, United Models,
Great Planes, and most recently Horizon over the last year. Our number two
distributor was United and it was bought out by our number one Great Planes.
Instead of whining we added Horizon as the number two.
Screaming about it doesn't change a thing. Doing whatever you can does
(although in my personal opinion a boycott likely still won't materialize nor
work). The hobby is much more fluid as far as product movement from
manufacturer to the consumer than you might imagine. If you play the game well
you'll win. Play badly and it's adios store (or even mail order firm).
Not sure how you'd "easily get around" the unreasonable terms as they simply
will not sell to mail order only and that means you. Perhaps you'd like to
Assist other dealers how? There is nothing you can do. Your boycott will not
work. If folks want Athearn they will go to someplace that has them period. If
not you then someplace else. For a boycott to work you'd need a very
significant majority to join in. A model railroader that desires the lastest
diesel, N scale coal porter, vehicles, and the Challenger will jump over you
to get what they want. It's unlike that significant numbers of people will
boycott any product they like for any length of time.
As a seller of Athearn (ne Horizon) products, "Mike" is doing the correct
thing if he does not like the Horizon distribution terms: not to carry or
sell their products. If enough other dealers do the same thing, Horizon may
accede to some of Mike requests; if not, Mike may decide to carry Horizon
again. That's the way the market works.
For Mike to succeed, the eventual end user (that's most of us) will also
have to not buy Athearn products for some reason: quality is down, prices go
up, whatever. If we buyers see no difference in price or quality, then we
consumers probably won't change our buying patterns. Again, the market at
in article firstname.lastname@example.org, MrRathburne at
email@example.com wrote on 1/15/04 8:39 AM:
Another factor is 'market presence'. A lot of purchase may be made via
Internet/mail order dealers or train show dealers. If the only marketing
via a 'hobby shop', then you need to get folks in the door. A lot of 'walk in'
trade is at train shows - it is cheap entertainment to take the family to a
What remains to be seen is how much 'hard core' model railroaders will be
purchasing Athearn products. They will drive and seek out the hobby shop at the
of the strip mall. The other new 'walk in' business needs to have a reason to
that mall location(hubby and the kids 'find' the hobby shop while mom
I am stereotyping, but it still applies in many cases).
As I have stated before, the marketing channels are being reduced, and the
of the Athearn product is not as wide.
"Edward A. Oates" wrote:
Note: A copy of this post is being cc'd to the folks at Athearn in the hope
that some official input can be made.
I actually have a hobby shop less than 3/4 mile from my home (Scenarios in
Fremont, CA). Up until a year or two ago they stocked a limited amount of
HO, N, and O gauge stock. Athearn products (Blue box only) made up slightly
over 70% of the sales display shelves. Now this 70% included ALL railroad
products irrespective of scale. I took this to mean Athearn products was
their #1 railroad seller. As close as the shop was I would very rarely buy
from this shop as their pricing structure was either MSRP or a few cents
below. I started in the 1960s buying and building Blue boxed kits from two
local discount department stores. They were close by and they were in the
price range I could afford. I was a very happy camper as I had cars and
engines that were much nicer than Tyco and Bachmann and just a little more
in price (usually only $0.50 to $1 higher). Perhaps buying Athearn at a
discount as a youth spoiled me but to this day I will not pay retail for a
Blue boxed kit. I will and have paid retail for their RTR line although I
prefer to find them discounted. Back to Scenarios. I guess the railroad
hobby lines were interfering with their core customer group and they dropped
I now drive 17 miles to Hayward to a hobby shop there. This is a nice but
rather small hobby shop, similar to the types I frequented way back then.
For me it is the place I would go to buy the more expensive lines or to see
what it is I am buying. In my case that would be items by Durango Press,
Kato, Intermountain, and whatever else not readily found discountable. I
also buy most of my magazines and reference books there. They also offer a
realistic discount on their items unlike Scenarios. Their one problem, and
this is the one that will do damage to (Athearn products) Horizons intent to
restrict access to Athearn products, is they do not have anymore free space
to set up Athearn Blue box displays. The hobby shop actually has very few
non-locomotive Athearn blue box kits. Honestly I am not sure they have any
at all. I have never looked for them there as I always ordered these from
discount mail order places or train shows. In order to set up more Athearn,
they would have to drop other lines or drop their R/C, plastic scale models,
and/or hobby tools and accessories. Which they will not be able to do as far
as I can see.
There are two larger nationally advertising (or Internet) Hobby shops (one
for sure in Campbell) in the south bay area. These I am sure will increase
their quantities of Athearn products as they determine the need. But these
shops are 10,000-20,000+ sqft each and can easily restructure themselves.
They are too far for me to go unless I am in the area anyway. I have not
been by either of them in over a year/two years respectively. Without a mail
order division, hobby shops tend to serve only local customers. If your
local shop does not or cannot offer a particular line (as cheaply as
possible) and you cannot find it at a discounted mail order establishment,
you will do without.
I have reached the same conclusion as Jim, If Athearns exposure is reduced
(and I cannot see it being otherwise) then actual sales of Athearn products
will significantly drop. I expect this to affect their blue boxed line the
most. It quite possibly could kill the line as well unless Horizon, at some
future point and in time, reverses its decision on distributorships and
Ed, you could add that the end user may not have to consciously make the
decision to boycott Athearn products. The potential unavailability may be
enough to do the job all by itself. I would like to continue buying the
Athearn products that work in my layout. I plan on doing so but maybe not on
the scale I used to. Only time will tell if Athearn products go out of my
reach financially. I already stated my feelings for the blue boxed kits and
I figure on not buying more of those unless pricing remains low. Roundhouse
is of similar quality and I can always get them at a decent discount.
I wanted to thank the folks at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com in
helping me resolve my issue with the RTR Frisco 8000 gallon Tank car. They
were able to find a truck frame to replace one broken at receipt. I would
also like to ask if you could maintain a spares inventory. The RTR cars are
more expensive and are worth repairing when broken.
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