Hornby boss steps down

Discuss Hornby Model Railway products and related topics here. This includes (Lima, Rivarossi, Jouef, Electrotren).
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PanzerJohn
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Hornby boss steps down

Postby PanzerJohn » Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:09 pm


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Mountain
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Re: Hornby boss steps down

Postby Mountain » Mon Sep 11, 2017 10:39 pm

Thanks for that. Let's hope Phoenix has the financial clout to pull the company out of debt.

I wish Hornby every success in the future and that the turnaround will work out OK. I also wish the gentleman stepping down a successful future as it has been a battle to keep the company going which was not an easy task to do.

The things I noticed about Hornby in the past when the Hornby production was in Great Britain were that one would buy Hornby as a safe choice, as every spare part one could ever need was available from dealers right round the country. It made every sense to buy a hornby product over the competition. They also had a fantastic relationship with their dealers which in recent years has become rather fragile. If they can gain back this ground on these two points, they will surely come out on top once more. Let's stand in hope!

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Re: Hornby boss steps down

Postby GWR_fan » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:32 am

Let us hope that Phoenix is not just another hedge fund intent on stripping the company's assets, trimmimg down costs and then onselling. Hedge funds are not interested in a company as a continuing viable operation, only the outcome to maximise return on their investment.

Bigmet
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Re: Hornby boss steps down

Postby Bigmet » Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:57 am

It's not quite business as usual in stock investment terms at Hornby. There is 'sentiment' which has been taking care of this iconic name. Mind, its got limited lifespan now, only ten years or so of people with happy childhood memories...

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D605Eagle
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Re: Hornby boss steps down

Postby D605Eagle » Wed Sep 13, 2017 1:15 am

If they do intend to make it a viable model making company again they have got an awful lot of problems to sort out as well as the debt issue. The market place is incredibly full at the moment, and its shrinking as well which doesn't help. I hope the succeed but I fear they might not.....

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Re: Hornby boss steps down

Postby Bigmet » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:42 am

I wouldn't worry for a moment. The brand name is still of considerable value, and will find a purchaser come what may. It would probably perform better that way, as a new owner could immediately drop outright all the activity that isn't working; and then refocus the business on what it can do as well as any, and better than most.

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Bufferstop
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Re: Hornby boss steps down

Postby Bufferstop » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:58 am

I think the biggest problem with Hornby for quite some time is the number of Management persons who can't distinguish between the Toy and Model sides of the operation. As revealed in Simon Kholer's blogs, there was at one point an engineer working on designs to REDUCE to a minimum the number of pick-ups fitted to a chassis before it wouldn't cross settrack points at full speed. Whether or not this was a direction issued from above wasn't made clear, but obviously there was a serious lack of understanding of the model market.
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Re: Hornby boss steps down

Postby Mountain » Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:00 pm

I think Hornby have always had a positive market both for the cheaper toy type trains and the more detailed model type trains along with those in between. The danger is when one moves away from the toy type of market which is where both the youngsters enjoy along with those of us who enjoy RTR bashing of these locos and rolling stock, then the company alienates a large chunk of its sales to satisfy the few who have the funds for high end models. This has always been the issue with the company which is why the cheap little 0-4-0's and 0-6-0's have always generated a sizeable sum of income which in the past has guaranteed Hornby "Bread and butter" sales. The high cost detailed models brings in a much larger profit per loco sold (Just look at the prices!) for the company, but alienates more and more modellers from the hobby who no longer have the option of affordable less detailed models.

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Re: Hornby boss steps down

Postby Bufferstop » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:42 pm

I was very fortunate to get two tickets to the Great Gathering Gala event. During the evening I found myself talking to a suit from Hornby, he was there from the opening earlier in the day of a Hornby sponsored display, I hadn't been very impressed by the speech he made but I was prepared to listen to him in conversation, one thing that came out was his difficulty in understanding why manufacturers should stick to common standards, saying that provided they kept to their own standards there should be no problems within peoples "collections".
Oh dear......
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Re: Hornby boss steps down

Postby luckymucklebackit » Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:18 pm

The table below exhibits how much more expensive Hornby has become, The first figure is the price in the 1973 catalogue, the second figure is that price corrected for inflation to 2017. The third figure is the current price on the Hornby website and the last figure is the difference. The starter loco 0-4-0 tank is actually cheaper than the equivalent 1973 price, but the rest are much dearer, varying from around £45 for the Black 5 (although the Railroad version is £70 cheaper at £99) to an eye watering £106 for the M7 tank and the new tooling Princess Coronation. The railroad branded Flying Scotsman is also still similar at £94.99, so in general prices have not gone up where you are comparing like for like, but where the models have been improved to current standards, you are paying a hefty premium

R.455 0-4-0 Industrial Tank Locomotive £3.53 £42.83 £32.99 -£9.84
R.859 Class 5 Locomotive - Black Five £10.33 £125.35 £169.99 +£44.64
R.552 Class 7 Locomotive - Oliver Cromwell £10.82 £131.29 £179.99 +£48.70
R.855 Class A3 Locomotive - Flying Scotsman £7.45 £90.40 £119.99 +£29.59
R.866 Class B12 Locomotive £5.35 £64.92 £159.99 +£95.07
R.868 Class M7 Tank Locomotive £3.97 £48.17 £154.99 +£106.82
R.871 Coronation Class 8P Locomotive - King George VI £6.85 £83.12 £189.99 +£106.87
R.759 Hall Class Locomotive - Albert Hall £5.80 £70.38 £94.99 +£24.61

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Re: Hornby boss steps down

Postby Mountain » Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:44 pm

Bufferstop wrote:I was very fortunate to get two tickets to the Great Gathering Gala event. During the evening I found myself talking to a suit from Hornby, he was there from the opening earlier in the day of a Hornby sponsored display, I hadn't been very impressed by the speech he made but I was prepared to listen to him in conversation, one thing that came out was his difficulty in understanding why manufacturers should stick to common standards, saying that provided they kept to their own standards there should be no problems within peoples "collections".
Oh dear......

Well. It is true. They can produce what they like but it does not mean anyone will buy it. Common sense means one makes what sells so if 00 gauge is popular, one makes 00 gauge models. However, the unique selling point of the company is likely to be more important then trying to supply popular demand. I've seen so many companies fail by borrowing large amounts of money to expand into competitive markets, which have strayed away from their unique selling point which their customer once enjoyed. This was quite common during the mountain bike craze where bicycle manufacturers left their unique positions to build and sell mountain bikes and when the craze died their trade disappeared, they lost the very customers who used to buy the types of bikes they were once famous for but had stopped producing.

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Re: Hornby boss steps down

Postby GWR_fan » Thu Sep 14, 2017 1:55 am

Bufferstop wrote:.................... one thing that came out was his difficulty in understanding why manufacturers should stick to common standards, saying that provided they kept to their own standards there should be no problems within peoples "collections". Oh dear......


Two points - is the spokesperson basically saying that if you only purchased Hornby products then you would be OK? Secondly, if manufacturers did agree on "common" standards then we would not have the mismatch of NEM couplers that we currently have. Surely such a basic item as a coupler deserves some cooperation between the various manufacturers. Similarly with the variety of DCC input voltages for the various systems available. No point having a "standard" if that standard is open to interpretation of its intended meaning.

Hornby to me stands out as a manufacturer who seems to operate in total isolation to the rest of the model world. In "h.o." scale the X2f coupler with talgo mount was the standard adhered to by all manufacturers until the patent expired on the Kadee coupler. Then this coupler design became the standard.

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Re: Hornby boss steps down

Postby Bigmet » Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:34 am

It takes any long established business quite a while to change its attitudes and understandings, unless they get lucky with a 'change leader' appointment able to rattle the bars of the gilded cage enough to persuade those on board that it has to happen. Despite many an upset over the last sixty years, that brand name still 'owns' the UK model railway market. First piece of evidence, if you want to sell an OO model then you have to equip it with the tension lock coupler. Change is occurring, Hornby does now properly recognise competitors, but they are not letting go of 'ours is the complete system, we have everything you need'.

Is there a future for the train set end of their product range? All the evidence suggests Hornby believe so; and they alone know the sales results and assuming they aren't completely mad...

Is there a future for the adult modeller element of their product range? Again all the evidence suggests they believe so, look at the premium models they are introducing, which dominate their new introductions.

Where I believe they need to make a move is in range differentiation. I have felt for a long time that they should put clear water between what are now explicitly models, and which carry prices that reflect that, and the rest of the range. Good models aimed at modellers don't really need the Hornby name to sell, they will be bought on merit; this customer buys the best he or she can find for the money whatever the name on the box: Bachmann, Dapol, Heljan, Oxford, Rapido, Zapfsrtrudel.

If they were to take the premium items and rebrand - ooh let's see ' Premier Line by Hornby' - they would still sell, leaving plain 'Hornby' for the train set market where the name matters.

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Re: Hornby boss steps down

Postby luckymucklebackit » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:45 am

They could of course re-introduce the Tri-Ang product name for the toy end of the range, and retain the plain Hornby or return to the Hornby Dublo brand name for the high end. That would reflect what many older modelers remember. Triang = Toy, Hornby Dublo = Model

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Re: Hornby boss steps down

Postby Mountain » Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:35 pm

I think the toy or model debate Is a bit irrelevant when it comes to Hornby whose models have very unprototypical tension lock couplings which if any other aspect of 00 gauge modelling will define the difference between a model and a toy. I dont mind saying I like my toys :mrgreen: as it means I can enjoy the hobby in the confines of a small area.


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