I can see the diehards with their rose tinted specs crying all through the night.
Below is and extremely well written piece about the naivety of those who truly believe that they are able to influence the direction of the Matchbox brand via the MCCH. There are going to be at least two “members” – I refer to them as idiots – who will refute every word and blindly live in hope. I want nothing but to prove to them that the Matchbox brand is being wound down.
There are a group of Mattel employees that certain people on this board repeatedly refer to as “The Matchbox Team.” Not understanding that this is a false concept is allowing yourself to be misinformed about the future of the brand. We would all like to believe there is a group of people who are singularly tasked with protecting the integrity of the Matchbox brand, but the facts tell a very different story. It’s time to stop perpetuating the “Matchbox Team” myth.
This misnomer is often repeated by well meaning collectors. There is very simply only a group of Mattel Wheels designers who are tasked with designing models for the Matchbox brand on occasion. These same Mattel Wheels designers are also tasked with designing vehicles for the Hot Wheels brand on occasion, and often simultaneously! This is not some Special Event when a “Matchbox” designer does a “Hot Wheels” model, or vice versa. This is simply a team of designers under one roof. Sure, they put on a little dog and pony show for diehard Matchbox collectors at least once a year at their HQ, but when you leave they go back to reality.
My opinion is Felix believed in the brand up to and until greener pastures called. His future success at Mattel depends much more on the continued success of Hot Wheels today. While I doubt very much Felix has any interest in being at the helm during the demise of Matchbox as a 1:64 scale brand, it will not be the end of his career if he is. I think he’s a pragmatist, and getting the green depends on brand blue, not orange.
It would not surprise me in the least if Felix doesn’t personally believe in the “New Direction” of Matchbox, which may come from higher up the corporate ladder. Having met some of the players over the years I think I have an idea of where the edicts are coming down from. I wouldn’t be surprised if Felix is the only reason Matchbox is even still in the small-scale business at all at this point. There are those in corporate who see no reason why Hot Wheels shouldn’t be the one-and-only Mattel brand in the space. The fact of the matter is Felix is bringing a lot of what we like about Matchbox over to the Hot Wheels brand to keep us spending our money with Mattel, if not with Matchbox.
For the VAST MAJORITY of collectors their money follows quality. Matchbox is the “First Love”, but if Hot Wheels makes a great model for a buck, you bet I buy it, and always have.
With all due respect to those who exercise their right to choose ONLY to buy and collect Matchbox models (no matter how awful I think they may be), you are a tiny minority of the diecast market and are not a part of the discussion in the inner sanctums of multinational toy companies. If they can make a bigger buck by putting Matchbox-style cars on Hot Wheels cards, they will. If that means the eventual death of Matchbox as a small-scale brand, they are fine with that, too.