Hornby buys Corgi....

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7376855.stm
"Toymaker Hornby has bought die-cast model car maker Corgi for 7.5m as part of its strategy
of expanding in the hobby and collectibles market."
Hmm, I hope they are not heading for their 'Rovex' moment, to many toes in to many pies, this is the third 'non core' purchase (Airfix, Humbrol and now Corgi), diluting the brand has it's risks...
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":Jerry:" wrote

Of more relevence to this group, Hornby's acquisition of Corgi means they now own the Bassett-Lowke name, bringing an end to the rivalry which dates back to the 1920s I believe.
John.
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<snip>
Hmm, yes, are they planning to re-brand their live steam range?....
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What does it mean to the many toes? Are the toes major shareholders?
MBQ
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I think the quote should refer to 'fingers in too many pies'. In the past when Hornby have diversified, they've got their fingers burnt - let's hope that in their seemingly endless drive for growth they don't go there again.
Having witnessed the difficulty they've had recently in getting new model railway products out of China, I can't help thinking this acquisition is unlikely to help that cause with both Corgi and Bassett-Lowke coming from the Orient.
John.
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wrote

I think the difference with the 'recent' set of acquistions is they've all, in the main, got one thing in common: they complement the model railway side of Hornby's business (i.e., Airfix do planes at 1:72, Corgi do cars at 1:72, etc). The thing that kind of surprises me is that they haven't ventured into N gauge rolling stock - they do Lyddle End, but not any stock of any kind...
Ian J.
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<snip>
I think that might be more a happy coincidence, indeed the Airfix 1:72 scale military vehicle range will - I'm sure - find homes on many layouts, mostly modified no doubt though.

Perhaps they are going to follow Greg's "Lets re-invent the wheel" logic and re-introduce the old Lima range...!
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And the soldiers are a cheap set of people for a layout - 1940's England and the army were called in to keep te mines running - its my imagination and ....
Cheers, Simon
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Make your mind up John, not so long ago you were complainig about them flooding the market with models !
Dont think China production problems are limited to Hornby. However they are almost certainly looking around the globe in case its time to move.
Cheers, Simon
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"simon" wrote

There's a difference between reliability of supply and too many models or versions of models.
John.
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0000000000000000000000000000000000000000In message

I wouldn't be surprised if Hornby don't have a cunning plan there. Making N buildings is a far less expensive way of dipping their toe into the N market and establishing their credentials. Once the market has got used to the idea of Hornby = N as well as 00, launching N rolling stock would be far more "acceptable", always assuming they don't do so by further aqusitions[1]. I'm sure Hornby have been keeping a beady eye on Heljan and Skytrex's 0 gauge activities too!
Judging by the tone of news reports about Hornby's aquisitions, I rather think thay they have a good deal of respect in "The City" with regard to their activities - well, they must have to get the dosh, or they have a cash mountain stashed away. Hornby were one of the pioneers of Chinese production, and as such are probably ahead of the game there too. 20 years ago no one would have given a fig for Hornby's chances of survival, but they've hung on in there. The whole model railway scene owes them a debt of gratitude for keeping train sets "on the high street" - no one else could have done it.

Cheers Richard
[1] I've still got a fiver that says Hornby will own Bachmann Europe at some stage.
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<snip>

Even if they have it doesn't change the fact that their core activities could suffer from diversification, Honrby (as a company) could survive no doubt making/importing widgets but that would not be a good move for railway modellers even if it's good for the City.

I think that depends on how one defines 'Chinese production', wasn't both Palitoy and Airfix both out-sourcing their production to that part of the world?
and as such are probably

Not correct, both Lima, Palitoy and probably Airfix could have done so, they only failed because Hornby were there already, if Hornby had gone belly-up in the late 1970s or early '80s any or all three of the above would have filled their shoes - with (at the time) a better product.
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Maybe, but Hornby were in the vanguard (technically it was Hong Kong to start with) of the outsourcibg production race.

I have to disagree there - to the non-modelling fraternity Hornby = trains, if Hornby had disappeared the likes of Argos etc would have taken it to mean train sets were dead. The others never had any exposure outside the model railway world - how many actually knew that Airfix produced railway stuff at all, never mind ready-to-run trains? If you don't believe me, ask someone you know well enough to ask but doesn't know anout your interest in model railways who makes, or has made, train sets - the answer will most likely be Hornby, or possibly Traing for the older generation. The Hornby brand is incredibly strong, way ahead of even Airfix (as a kid who makes plastic kits and they'll probably say Tamya, or Revell etc - older people will still say Arfix, but that brand has faded over the years.
Cheers Richard
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<snip>

It is NOW, that is not to say that it has always been so, at one time Hornby was an incredibly weak brand - people still regarded it as 'cheap tat' even into the 1980s, it was still suffering from the bad name that Tri-ang/Rovex gave it. If Hornby had folded and disappeared in the late 1970s or early 80's the train-set would *not* have died along with it, Lima was in a position to fill the shelves even if Palitoy and Airfix were not.
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You miss the point about branding - it's not what the "insiders" in model railway land think, its when Mr. Buyer for High Street Shop Co. Ltd thinks, or Joe Public percieves, and most importantly, what the Mr. Wholesaler Buyer is prepared to bet his job on. Hornby - practically everyone knows the deal. Yu take it home, put it up, plug it in, and off you go. If little Johnny doesn't like it we'll get some money back selling it. If he likes it we can get some more bits to add and our worries about birthday presents are over for years to come. Airfix - they make plastic kit's don't they. Gosh, I'm not glueing that lot together. Or painting them. Palitoy - cheap stuff that may make it to the end of the day. (No offence to Palitoy, but that's peoples perception). Lima - Who? What?
The first glance at a product sells it, if people have to look in the box to understand what they are getting exactly, you've lost half your customers before you even start. That's why brand image is so important. There are some truly awful products out there that only sell because the brand is in favour.
Cheers Richard
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beamendsltd wrote:

A while ago I was in a local model shop when a woman walked in and asked for an "Airfix" plane (she might have specified a Spitfire). The person behind the counter said Airfix had just gone belly-up, and was no more. Oh well, said the woman, if I can't get him a plane it'll have to be something else, and she left.
The assistant should perhaps have tried to sell her a Revell or whatever plane, but it was noticeable that she mentioned Airfix (I suspect this was not because she knew that the Revell model is a Mark 1234(b) with a different pattern of rivets to what she wanted!)
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<snip>

Perhaps the 'wish list' had "Airfix Spitfire" rather than "A plastic model kit of a Spitfire" listed and the ladies reply was on the grounds of just that, she went on to item two on the list?...
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:Jerry: wrote:

As suggested in the bit you snipped, that was a possibility, but I suspect rather unlikely in the situation. If she'd said "Little Willy wants the Airfix special edition 1:48 Swiss navy Seafire with left-handed control column and mark 5 octagonal rivets" it might have been different.
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Disagree. The Power of Hornby is the name - just Like, say, Lionel in the US or Marklin in Germany. Outside modelling circles, Joe Public in the UK, who wants to buy a train set for little Johnny, wants a Hornby set, which is precisely why Tri-ang/Rovex wanted the Hornby name on the demise of Meccano Limited. Tri-ang did not want the factory, or the staff, or the tooling, or the stock. They just wanted the name. Hornby is a powerful name, just like Hoover, or Biro.
--
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writes

So you are saying that if Hornby had not survived either of it's two (three) financial crises in the 1970s and 1980s people would have stopped buying train-sets even though other companies had stepped in a filled the shelves?... The point is, if the name no longer exists they will still buy the product, just as no one who bought Rover have stopped buying cars just because the name has disappeared from the showroom.
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