Financial Woes Continue

Discuss Hornby Model Railway products and related topics here. This includes (Lima, Rivarossi, Jouef, Electrotren).
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Bufferstop
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Re: Financial Woes Continue

Postby Bufferstop » Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:32 pm

If ranges are inevitably to be slimmed down then we should start making noises about what they include. Given some noise from the hobby then I can see that a manufacturer will produce the matching stock to their latest premium release, because the wealthy collector will buy it and so will the modeller. For run of the mill rolling stock, multiples of coal wagons, closed vans etc then it may well be a case of turn to the kit suppliers, or those who can justify producing multiple PO liveries might be persuaded to do as Dapol have recently and supply the basic model of these unpainted for the modeller to finish. Maybe we should all be paying close attention to Dad-1's West Bay Waggon Works.
I can see that there may well be benefits to the hobby in no longer having suppliers who see themselves as a one stop shop. Oh that there was a modern day G&R Wrenn waiting in the wings to pick over the bones of Hornby's Railroad tooling, for what might sell in the odd short run.
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Re: Financial Woes Continue

Postby luckymucklebackit » Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:54 pm

[quote="Bufferstop"....... Oh that there was a modern day G&R Wrenn waiting in the wings to pick over the bones of Hornby's Railroad tooling, for what might sell in the odd short run.[/quote]

Could be something that Hattons might be interested in if the opportunity appears, however Hornby would probably be selective about which tooling they would sell or lease, I would think that they would avoid making the Railroad Tooling available for any loco where there might be direct competition with their premium range, like Tornado or the Black 5.

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Re: Financial Woes Continue

Postby End2end » Tue Jun 19, 2018 4:27 pm

I do hope the new direction will still have a branch concentrating on train sets. I think it's definatly a route into the hobby for some with everything included to get you up and running. And easy to buy too from the likes of Argos.
Although making sure to cover both the DCC and DC bases. Not neglecting the older DC just because technology has moved forward.

As for "an all out focus on the adult modeller and collector market" I'm assuming that every loco will be DCC ready from then on?
Can we also expect things like firebox glow, headlights et al as standard? Perhaps some updated accessories? Those people packs have been the same for years.
Perhaps even buildings that don't look like caves inside with the windows stuck on by a blind chimp. Now that would be nice. :D :lol:
I do hope they don't stop making the catalogue either. I find them excellent reference guides.
This new direction could be quite interesting to watch unfold. :)
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Re: Financial Woes Continue

Postby Bufferstop » Tue Jun 19, 2018 5:06 pm

The difference between "trainset" and collectable or scale model has grown to the point that it's now almost impossible to produce a "train set" version of a full spec model at a train set price. The "Junior Express" set released at the end of last year was obviously aimed at the "train set" market, but the price is too high, there are similar looking products at half the price. The difference if there is any is in the small amount of compatibility that it has with 00/H0 track. The days when a tinplate or cheapish plastic trainset was an intro to the hobby are I suspect long gone. I'd be looking towards the Lego sets for our future recruits, putting bodies onto power boxes assembling control systems with "Mindstorm" just the transferable skills to bring to the hobby, (and already accustomed to the prices). Perhaps club test tracks ought to include a loop of Lego track. I've already spotted a couple of Lego layouts at Club exhibitions.
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Re: Financial Woes Continue

Postby Mountain » Tue Jun 19, 2018 10:03 pm

The problem with Lego today is that having such a popular product they've gradually increased the prices so high then unless one buys the budget competition one hasn't got a hope to buy anything other then small box to build a little car. There's no incentive to buy a child Lego like there once was.

Regarding to what to cut from the range? I will say something not to cut as they have been sold in so much numbers in the past that it would be stupid to cut them as they are still selling today. The little 0-4-0 shunters. Things like this are your "Bread as butter" sales. Always a demand. Sell in volumes as long as prices remain steady and afordable. The moulds are ready made. The parts like the motors are cheap. The assembly is quick and simple. A no brainer!

Some of the items which could be potential loss. Whilst we love them and would love to own such things, the vast costs of design and production of a few locos that never sell in high volumes may be robbing the company in the long run. While potential profits per item may seem good, to sell them at the high price one has to limit the production and by doing this one has alienated the customers who didnt get them along with pushing up the prices which give the company a poor reputation.
One wants to see lovely models and the last decade and a half we've been spoilt in this way, but as far as company profits are concerned it is a risky strategy. It strays away from the concept of how the public view the company.
Think as if you are an average person who is middle age. Say "Hornby" to them. What will they be thinking? "Train set" and in their mind it will be a decent Christmas or birthday present to give a responsible child. (So it has to beat a price they can afford for such a present).
Think Wrenn. Now mention this name back when they were in production and very few who were not modellers would have heard of them, but those who have would answer "Expensive heavily built models".
Think Mainline. (Back in the days they were made). Those who heard of it would say " Fine detailed models".

Now you get what I mean? The companies selling points are the main concept of what the buying public think of when they think of the name. Concentrate on these and one should do well. Stray too far away from these areas and as a company is concerned, they could have lost the very target they were selling to.

The answer? Let's take Hornby and the"Affordable" trainset concept. Let's say the company is thinking along the lines of making top end expensive models. They would do well to do what a few other companies have done and sell them under a different name so when customers look for an affordable trainset, they can buy one and the ones who want high end models will have a different brand name on their minds and know it is not going to be cheap, but also know it will be one of the best.

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Re: Financial Woes Continue

Postby George Stein » Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:13 am

Of course this may all become a moot point if we get in a huge trade war and our made-in-China trains get called "high tech technological devices."

George

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Re: Financial Woes Continue

Postby rainynight65 » Wed Jun 20, 2018 2:11 am

I find this discussion quite interesting, not least because here in Australia, Hornby is definitely one of the more affordable brands. Granted, they're not quite as cheap as, say, Athearn or other American brands, but compared to Australian model manufacturers, they can be a steal. TTS-equipped models rarely run over AU$300 (~GBP170), even the outliers don't scratch $400. In comparison, a DCC-ready model of an Australian run-of-the-mill diesel loco, albeit usually very detailed, costs at minimum $300. Add sound (okay, they're Loksounds, not TTS), and you're looking at closer to $500. Make it a steam model, and you're easily getting to $600-700 depending on model and manufacturer.

A lot of it has to do with production quantities. The local scene is fairly small, and the domestic manufacturers can't do huge production runs. In fact, some of them are having to consider changing their production strategy, and instead of having multiple different models and smaller numbers of each in a series, they may do only 2-3 different models and larger production runs in one series. This is also the reason why many Australian modellers prefer to model British or American trains - they're simply cheaper.

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Re: Financial Woes Continue

Postby Bigmet » Wed Jun 20, 2018 9:16 am

End2end wrote:...As for "an all out focus on the adult modeller and collector market"...

That's how I read what Lyndon Davies piece in the report had to say.

He notes that they have to meet and beat the challenge of many competitors. What are those competitors making in model railway? Locos and some rolling stock, all aimed at the adult market. Show me a new model railway entrant making train sets, cheap starter locos and the like. It is fair to assume that the subjects and target market are chosen by those new entrants because they make the required profit. Hornby cannot allow competitors to 'eat' an ever growing proportion of the most profitable trade in this market, and it isn't compulsory to 'carry on as before' if it isn't sufficiently profitable.

He makes it clear that there's a real scramble to get manufacturing slots. Hornby have been squeezed out by competitors at the factories they contract with, which is potentially disastrous. If you cannot even get your product made but your competitors can, you are heading for the scrapheap fast! So getting those manufacturing slots is a focus, and then using them to turn out product in sufficient volume to meet demand for what will sell at the greatest profit margin is essential.

He observes that Hornby have not been consistently adept at spotting what new product introductions wiil have large numbers of customers reaching for their credit cards. My suspicion there is that he can see Hornby haven't done nearly enough in diesel and electric traction, there's no (good)66, 68, 70 in their range, insufficient high quality freight stock and passenger offerings. (His own new entrant business 'stole' the mk3 from Hornby, you snooze, you lose.)

But that's just my reading of it (and not all of its content either), and of course Hornby has more than OO model railway in its portfolio, so the message may play out slightly differently for each brand. But I don't feel anyone could doubt reading it that major change is coming. Hornby will be very different in some significant respects. Some current customers may like what they see, others may be disappointed. What has to be got right is that the customers who like it have to be the ones prepared to spend most money on Hornby product: that's the brutal truth that will determine whether the business survives in current form.

End2end wrote:...I'm assuming that every loco will be DCC ready from then on? Can we also expect things like firebox glow, headlights et al as standard? Perhaps some updated accessories? Those people packs have been the same for years...

But all completely new tooled introductions have been DCC ready since about 2002, likewise lights (though not optimally arranged, room for some real improvement there) on diesel and electric traction. Whether there is appetite for more doodads beyond the current fad for horrible sound effects we have to wait and see. (A DCC operated on-loco uncoupler that will work with several widely used couplings would be the one doodad that would truly interest me.)

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Re: Financial Woes Continue

Postby End2end » Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:46 am

Bigmet wrote:A DCC operated on-loco uncoupler that will work with several widely used couplings would be the one doodad that would truly interest me.

Now that WOULD be an advancement. :)
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Re: Financial Woes Continue

Postby D605Eagle » Wed Jun 20, 2018 10:03 pm

I imagine if Hornby and others purely concentrate on the premium collectors market they will soon disappear up their own sunless holes just like the HD collectors market has as the people collecting the stuff shuffle off their mortal coils. Good for the short term maybe.....

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Re: Financial Woes Continue

Postby Mountain » Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:20 am

End2end wrote:
Bigmet wrote:A DCC operated on-loco uncoupler that will work with several widely used couplings would be the one doodad that would truly interest me.

Now that WOULD be an advancement. :)
Thanks
End2end

It is really surprising that such a device is not available on ready to run locomotives as standard as this is more useful then sound.

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Re: Financial Woes Continue

Postby Bigmet » Thu Jun 21, 2018 8:10 am

D605Eagle wrote:I imagine if Hornby and others purely concentrate on the premium collectors market they will soon disappear up their own sunless holes just like the HD collectors market has as the people collecting the stuff shuffle off their mortal coils. Good for the short term maybe.....

The short term is all there is in their class of business. If it does the job for the next five years of restoration to profit that's outstanding. (Don't forget they are currently in significant loss.) Continue to develop product plans over that time to adapt to whatever comes next.

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Re: Financial Woes Continue

Postby luckymucklebackit » Thu Jun 21, 2018 9:29 am

End2end wrote:
Bigmet wrote:A DCC operated on-loco uncoupler that will work with several widely used couplings would be the one doodad that would truly interest me.

Now that WOULD be an advancement. :)
Thanks
End2end


Let's think how this would be done, lets first assume that we are retaining the "standard" coupling as used by Hornby/Bachmann/Dapol etc. The first obstacle that we come up against is that most super detailed locos come with the coupling as an optional extra to be fitted by the user, a challenge to begin with as many (particularly Dapol Diesel) locos have so much buffer beam detail that you either have to carve off a lot of lovely pipes and three link couplings or fit a simple bar across the buffers. So you have chosen to fit the coupling, complete with whatever servo is employed to lift the hook to initiate the uncoupling process, but this would mean that you would need to ensure that the first vehicle in every train does not have a corresponding hook. It might be more feasible with Kaydees, but since they are still used by a relatively minority in the market then I cant see the big players making any moves to design a auto uncoupling system.

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Re: Financial Woes Continue

Postby End2end » Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:26 pm

luckymucklebackit wrote:I cant see the big players making any moves to design a auto uncoupling system.

Sadly I fear this is true.
I'll stick with the Brian Kirby method. Decent uncoupling but only in certain places.
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Re: Financial Woes Continue

Postby alex3410 » Fri Jun 22, 2018 1:42 pm

£10m loss Hornby stuck at red - Express.co.uk

Mr Davies wrote:The situation was similar to trying to book a table at a restaurant at the last minute.

Most were unavailable, so we desperately rang around and booked the best available.

As you might expect, most of the restaurants were unavailable, so we desperately rang around and booked the best available table we could find,

We then arrived late with less people in the party than we’d promised, we didn’t order all of the meals, forgot to tell the kitchen how we wanted our steaks cooked, changed our mind on the side dishes and then complained when we found the restaurant was closing and there was no time for a dessert.



Had a bit of a chuckle reading that :lol:


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