Athearn RTR supply issues?

I got my monthly email newsletter from EngineHouse Services (http://www.enginehouseservices.com /) in Green Bay, Wis., which said
(in part):
"We just received a phone call on Friday from our Sales rep at Horizon Hobby, which is the exclusive distributor of Athearn products, informing us that we will not be getting any Athearn Ready-To-Run products for a while, maybe nothing until the start of the new year, due to issues in China. Apparently the company that was producing the RTR models closed up and they are scrambling to find another supplier. However, the Athearn Genesis line will not be affected by this closing and should be delivered as announced."
Has anyone else heard of this problem?
__________ Mark Mathu Whitefish Bay, Wis. The Green Bay Route: http://www.greenbayroute.com /
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On 26/02/2012 12:28 AM, Mark Mathu wrote:

Not just Athearn, a slew of US "manufacturers" have been hit by this. The smaller Chinese shops have been squeezed out of the market by the bigger companies, such a Kader (owner of Bachmann). Kader have not renewed contracts with any of the manufacturers for whom they build products.
OTOH, Horizon shouldn't whinge. Their purchase of Athearn and Roundhouse was designed to give them a "stronger position" in the industry, i.e. to put the squeeze on their smaller competitors.
You may be happy to know that Rapido Trains owns a large chunk of its supplier, and hasn't been affected by these changes. They have indicated they will be offering manufacturing services to other importers.
HTH, Wolf K.
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I read this in Model Railroader in January... sometimes cheaper isn't always a bargain.
Sounds like a good reason to manufacture the engines and cars in the U.S.
Tom
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It *would* be -if you could find some US workers who'd be willing to work for slave wages so that Athearn could keep the same profit margin they enjoy right now.
~Pete
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It is actually not even the labor costs, which in many ways are a minor issue -- there are actually many other considerations, including the supply of materials, etc.

--
Robert Heller -- 978-544-6933
Deepwoods Software -- Download the Model Railroad System
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Here is an article that appeared in the New York Times back in Jan. that talks about the issues of US manufacturing vs. Chinese manufacturing:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/22/business/apple-america-and-a-squeezed-middle-class.html?pagewanted=all
Although the above article talks about iPhones and other tech products, many of the same issues also relate to plastic models, esp. Athearn RTR line, which have most of the detail molded on. The injection molding machines are mostly automated, so there is not a lot of manual labor involved in making these items, so labor costs are not that major a factor (well they are but not in the obvious way).

--
Robert Heller -- 978-544-6933
Deepwoods Software -- Download the Model Railroad System
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I read the article. See "slave wages" in my original post.
Workers who are forced to live in company barracks, make very little money, and who can be chivvied out of bed en masse at 1:00 AM to please Steve Jobs (or whoever owns Athearn these days) are essentially slaves; and that's what American workers are being forced to compete with these days.
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