STANDARD RANGE: The very first thing is that
the 1-75 line is back for all regions. Mattel has decided to limit the range back to 75
models as 100 were getting too much to produce. The theme for the 2001 line is
"Matchbox to the Rescue" with "Real Heroic Power." 2001 Line includes:
-- Heroic Power look in the design (targeting 4-6 years age)
-- Massive front ends and wheels
-- More opening features plus moving parts (about 60% of the line)
-- More colorful deco than the past
-- New Matchbox logo on almost all models (due to enhancing brand recognition)
-- All new packaging for 2001 line plus some 2000 models with new packaging.
-- 32 of the 75 models are new tooling. -- 2 of the 75 models are older castings (BMW 850i, & Police Motorcycle)
-- 13 models that were new tooling in 2000 are not in line for this year
-- There are only a hand full of cars rest are all rescue units
Matchbox will continue to produce holiday (seasonal) packages with matchbox models for Target at Easter and Christmas plus there will be a five pack bucket that would be released in the summer. This is called "Sand Castle with Bucket & Shovel retailing at $5.99. During the back to school days there will be a see through backpack containing 10 standard models from the 1-75 range including a playmat. The border of the backpack would be available in three different colors with the same models though. This would retail for $9.99. As a surprise, one of the backpack would have an exclusive model but that would be released at the end of the year.
Most of the standard line will be availabe in blister packs in the US however, window boxes will be available through hobby shops and dealers. Some of them may show up in some stores but KB will be going back to standard blister packs.
PLAY SETS: Matchbox is now considered as the number 2 playset maker after HotWheels. This year the themes of the playsets is what the boys want, "RESCUE." There will be 6 major playsets for this year including one major set called "Hero Highway." This is a follow up to the "Mountain" set that was release late in 2000. The other five sets include, "Splash N Dash Car Wash, Roll N Rescue Police, Fire Station, Sky High Rescue, and Build N Bash Construction." Remember all these playsets will have exclusive decos not available otherwise.
SKYBUSTERS: The current array of Skybusters will continue to show up at Target & Toy R Us in new decorations featureing Coke, and D.A.R.E. There will be at least 12 skybusters in the range that may come in different color/deco varations.
MATCHBOX COLLECTIBLES: Matchbox Collectibles formerly
known as "Premier Models" will have a total of 12 models, 6 each of Fire-police and military.
The Fire/Police line will be re-colors from last year but the military line will have 2
new tools. There will be a DARE series 3 and series 4 with 6 models each. Also, there
will be two series of Coke Premiers with 6 models each called "Play Refreshed." Another
new license would be "TEXACO" with six models. Hence there will be 30 different Premiere
Style models plus 6 non-premiere style models for DARE in the 1:64 range.
A very pleasant surprise comes in the form of "Elvis Presley" models. Matchbox selected five of Elvis's 15 custom decorated autos and will deco them exactly as they were decoed by Elvis, placed them in a diorama with Graceland mansion and will offer each for $7.99. This is the first time in history of die cast that Graceland is licensed to anyone. The 5 models include, 1955 Caddy Fleetwoeed, 1956 Caddy, 1962 T-Bird, Jeep 4x4 and a surprise 5th car. All of these cars will have detailed trim and rubber tires like Premiere Style models.
The 1:43 range include Hershey, Texaco, McDonalds', Campbell as Lincensed models plus there wil be some Fire models from the original series with new deco and plastic bases. Six Coke models with Drive Refreshed Campaign.
Premiere Rigs include 6 different 1:64 scale Coke trucks. They are, Actros (Germany), Scania (France), Actros (China), DAF Cab (England), Kenworth T2000 (US), and Scania (Australia). These models will be released in big size blister packs with a price tag of $9.99
There will be a whole bunch of 1:18 scale models including Coke, DARE, Campbell, Police, Texaco etc.
PLASTIC TOYS: There will be around 6 plastic rescue trucks priced between $4 - $8 will feature lights, sound and other unique twists to again advantage over competitions. Large Trucks called "Command Cruiser" with micro phone and radio control feature in fire and police designs. Mega Rigs will slowly phased out as it is not one of the popular line for Matchbox. However, there will be a Rapid Rescue Helicopter and a Rapid Rescue ATV in the line for 2001.
I guess this is it. Remember none of these models are considered as a definite release. Mattel's plans are all subject to change without notice. Have fun hunting whatever you collect. Enjoy the hobby and don't complaint too much.
This report is prepared by Shabbir Malik in Feb. 2001
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