Fecha de publicación: 16/02/2016
STATE OF THE SLOT / PART II /

Solutions?
And the fans?
STATE OF THE SLOT PART II
20 slot sector entrepreneurs offer solutions to the current situation.
We published yesterday the opinion of 20 entrepreneurs of the slot industry on the current slot status. An article that generated thousands of visits to SlotCar Today from all over the world, confirming the fans concern and that has generated debate in the main slot forums. We publish now the second and third question that SlotCar Today posed to the same actors.

Where is the key to give oxygen to this hobby?
We usually request gestures to manufacturers, distributors and retailers. Can we ask something to the fans?


Answers that will generate the same interest as the previous one.

Participants of this interview are:
J.Alcaraz, J.Aloy, J.Arceo, A.Barrios*, R.Barrios Jr., M.Berjano, C.Boyer, R.Carralero*, A.Chapeau, M.Cellini, P.Cieza, D.Dámaso*, M.Ferrari, S.Fothersgill, A.Jobal, D.Kennedy, P.de Lespinay, M.Miret, J.Molist, G.Montiglio, A.Norman, G.Noviello, D.Ripoll*, D.Vallese*

(Edited on 16 February to include manufacturers who later gave their answers. Given the interest in the topic we believe give them adequate voice)





SCT.- Where is the key to give oxygen to this hobby?

Javier Alcaraz – CEO Black Arrow
Contact with the fans and offer what the public demand is fundamental. Isolated and not listen to your customers is what you should not do if you want to succeed in this world. New technologies are also a point to consider, but not be clear about the path to follow may cause it turns against us. It is important to remember the past to avoid repeating the same mistakes.

Josep Aloy – AloyShop Owner

The Slotcar hobby is more than a toy that is assembled at home and I think that brands have to promote it and spread it from the aspect of mechanics, product handling and creativity involved.
Workshops and children's competitions are necessary, including from within schools as is the case with robotics. Focus on the Slot from another point of view.
Another claim that I do, and perhaps most importantly, are in slotcar racing. Now it would be the time to open regulations that everyone takes part with the product or brand he wants. Today we cannot condition enthusiasts, they want to enjoy with Slotcar racing and adapt to their pockets or preferences. Finally, 3D print technology; I am convinced it will bring substantial changes in the way we produce and purchase product, just need time.

Jorge Arceo – (SCX– Educa Borras)
As you point yourself in your own article: we must return to make that the bottom of the users pyramid grows, talk to children about slot, getting to hear about and become acquainted with slotcar as a toy, as an object of entertainment and have fun and, above all, make them feel attracted to slotcars and want to experiment with and enjoy it. Only in this way we got sufficient demand to maintain a pace of development and new releases and also allow enthusiasts to enjoy and get more out. If we fail, the base will continue tapering off, demand will continue to fall and, therefore, will no longer be business and there will be no capacity to continue to innovate and develop (is like "the snake that bites its tail").

Attila Barrios - More Than Slot

buff ... glass ball is out of batteries ... but as the most obvious and easy answer that comes to mind to that question is "attracting new fans," but that's just the hardest part of all ...

Almost all the experts and manufacturers agree that countries where it has traditionally been more love for the slot are a bit saturated with offer collapsed financially and losing war with other recreational, so maybe it's time, without neglecting the usual, focusing resources to the new emerging economic powerhouses and countries with no tradition of slot and which have its golden age pending to live and can rebuild a boom whose synergies also benefit existing fans of the "old" fans countries.
A large-scale example of this policy is the current F1, like much, but the truth is that is held there where are new fans and economic capacity to allow the competition to survive (Russian GP, GP Mexico, United Arabs, Southeast Asia ...). Execute it is not easy, but today thanks to the internet and global world we are closer.
That said, it is so important to capture new fans as keeping existing ones, and also it can be avoided very negative practices for the credibility of the sector as oversized productions ends liquidated at bargain prices at swapmeets or eBay, and generate a bad praxis in the amateur who thinks you should always buy at bargain prices.

Finally we believe, do so right or wrong you have to respect more big brands with decades of history, as they have been and are the major generators of new fans which then are focused on the many existing market niches.
Although some may not like, the slot needs that the big brands are in good health.
In conclusion, in the slot, as in any other sector, we must renew or die, and to renew in this sector as in any other, although some are still without knowing that the world has changed, everything happens online.

Rafael Barrios – CEO FlySlot Cars
We must continue providing illusion, products comfortable to customers and that has fun, enjoy and find the product value. Promote child championships and events and provide all the facilities to test this hobby, and if they like and remain, look after them.
New product niches should be made to reach other customers and win back many of those who have lost the will. I think it would be important to standardize systems and make things easier for users, and I say this to all manufacturers, including us.

Mateo Berjano – EvotecShop
There are a number of concepts that must always be at the top of this approach, which have been repeated a thousand times, but that should be applied over any other consideration: It is essential to facilitate the incorporation of new users, offering a product of high quality, affordable price and ease of use.
On the other hand, like other specialties, in the course of time is needed to reinvent itself. There are other hobbies that have made it and continue to be to the liking of the vast majority, but those who have been anchored in its initial structure have been disappearing or remaining as a mere collectible. Needless lean towards to complex systems, but offer users a quality product that meets their needs. Unfortunately, the relocation of production has sometimes gotten reducing costs, but offers a product whose quality is far from expected, and that leads to a loss of interest in the product and as a result decreases of users.
Each brand must define their target without missing track of what is around him. With improvement of the production quality it is possible to make a collectible car, dynamically good, and accessorizable with specific performance parts manufactured by brands specialized in competition spare parts. In this way is possible to cover with a single product, the demand for all user groups, domestic, club racer and collector.

It is imperative that the base that starts to practice slot and hence on the hobby is based, which is the domestic amateur, have a solid basis on which to begin, that meet a good performance on the track and not give him trouble or malfunctions, because that is the future that will support their hobby. A product is more attractive the more satisfying and accessible is to use, and I think that is the goal to pursue.
We must be aware that if is not offered an attractive product is very easy to unplug and turn to the PlayStation or Xbox to spend hours playing, and that's why we all should offer a good product to avoid it.

Chris Boyer – Proto Slot Kit

Carrera, Scalextric, Ninco and Fly brands are sufficient for the market, all other trademarks are useless, except for competitions; good chassis parts manufacturers would be enough.
I don’t know a magical way, as everything, trends born and dies, cause human is flighty.

R.Carralero - Hornby Spain - Superslot
As concerns to Superslot / Hornby, the development of new systems and innovations, are the usual way and a necessary part that the fans will continue hooked to his hobby.
For many years the major competitors in this hobby, have been the electronics and games Smartphone. Superslot / Hornby has managed to unite both sectors, thanks to the new ARC app system. With the union of the slot and Smartphone, we can open countless variations for our hobby, contributing innovations and continuous updates.
In addition to continue to give oxygen to this hobby, in my view, we should continue to offer a good range of products that will satisfy all fans. That meets most of expectations of the different niches in this sector (Collecting, Competition, etc ...)

Massimo Cellini – TuttoSlot.it Owner
We also speak of the models. In the market there are many vintage cars, but there is a depletion of the modern car park. I understand that royalties are expensive, but people also want to compete or play with cars that they see every day. The 10/20 year-old boy, what evidence will have driving a Lancia Delta or Ford MKII or III or IV?
They have never seen it racing, they will never feel the excitement rise unless they saw it win a World Rally repeatedly or speeding 400 km/h at Le Mans.
For this large brand: Carrera and Scalextric still hold up the market. It’s because they made these cars.
My work as a SlotTrack Rental for corporate event, brings me to have to satisfy many of the world's leading automotive brands.
If you rent a track, they want to see run the cars and preferably their modern. What I propose to Kia (to give an example of my next job)?
Volvo asks me a newer model, for a fair, what I propose? Where are the manufacturers?
Also from them the courage to face some choices we want. With 3D printing design costs have been considerably cut down. The chassis now make them all with this technology. So why not invest? Maybe a modern car could attract more of the usual "old."

Pedro Cieza – CEO Slot Racing Company
Undoubtedly the switch is in the cleverness that we manufacturers may have.
I mean, we must somehow keep the flame burning in the amateurs we have today. His loyalty is priceless, and this can only be done with making Slot cars they expect and want. Likewise, we need to encourage our fans to transmit his passion to new generations, their children, their grandchildren, to those who have this hobby in complete and absolute oblivion; for these, having Slot car today is of complete and absolute “Methusaleh”, "Crackpots" and this is where the genius of each brand must come to light and attract these descendants get a hobby that, for them, is now an antique, freak.
But we are convinced that once we get to bite and hook them, will be much more rewarding and formative than an ethereal video game, which only distracts them from reality.
And all this without forgetting that the product manufacturers must offer fans must be of high quality, trying to make every day better, and reaching meet full and gradually their expectations and desires.

Angèlè Chapeau – Le Mans Miniatures
The oxygen will come from the companies who will not be able to adapt them to the market. Those who disappear will give more oxygen to the others. We hope LMM will not be among those who will disappear. We celebrates this year our 25th anniversary. We come from the static kit and now we make slot cars among other things. In fact, we launch a new “product” this week; painted figurine of a driver of the 50’s in 200 mm high, that has nothing to see with slot, or almost nothing… A slot car club just ordered one to reward the winner team of the Championship it organizes: we have to try to produce our own oxygen.

Sean Fothersgill – Pendleslot Racing Owner

Niche manufacturers with smaller overheads are coping much better, they aim their products at the nostalgic market for the 40+ year old. These are generally the customers who have a grown up family and a disposable income, sometimes returning to the hobby they enjoyed as a child.
For Scalextric to survive they need to get their dealer network on side, something which may well prove impossible. However, If i was to become the CEO of Scalextric i would start a program to try and rebuilt the trust between model shop and Hornby by offering a range of product on a sale or return basis - particularly around Xmas time to increase the exposure of the Scalextric brand on the high St. I would also restore the dealer margin so that shops felt it worthwhile stocking the product and i would remove all discounted product from the Scalextric website so that dealers were able to trade on an equal basis.
For some companies the immediate future seems uncertain.
However the diversity of the Slot car hobby will ensure it survives.

Albert Jobal – Slot Adictos Forum Adm.

My fear is that we try to recover the pace of the golden years too fast. In fact already there are, and there will be more, new entrepreneurs that are becoming aware of the recovery and try to gain a foothold in the still resentful market, market that is recovering, but is still far from take in the entire offer that was before the crisis.
We are in a transition period where we should be patient and prudent, both the manufacturer and the amateur.

Dave Kennedy – Carrera N. America Marketing Manager
We are reaching new consumers in North America each year. This last year we sold a set to Bass Pro Shops and that set sold VERY well around North America. We believe that mostly that set was sold to NEW consumers.

Philippe de Lespinay – Los Angeles Slot Car Museum & (TSRF)

Key to oxygen? An improving world economy providing employment opportunities and income allowing the purchase of non-necessary conveniences such as hobby products. It is unfortunately simply not going to happen for a long time as governments keep plunging their economies in more distress by taxing them and individuals even more to justify their own survival and that of their allies, the labor unions.

It comes to the point when cottage industries will be the only ones surviving, selling hand built product to the wealthier enthusiast of a small elite created by the forced “equalization” of society by government using cronies to prop themselves, a situation so prevalent today in Europe and the United States. China, the world’s most corrupt society, is feeding on this but its own system will collapse when demand for their product from occidental societies will tank, and this is where we are today. Reliance on China is also undermining European economies and especially the hobby industry in a big way.

As far as our own little slot car company, which remains for us, a side hobby to our own activities, our own customers (TSRF clients) have understood this very well: happy with the way their chassis units operate, and taking in consideration that these chassis units are virtually indestructible, they merely purchase maintenance parts, tires, braided contacts, motors and... bodies. Hence no incentive to purchase complete cars, because they have realized a long time ago that virtually all these fancy new cars, model after model, are not as fun to drive than their trusty TSRF cars.

Miquel Miret – Sloting Plus Owner

The theme of the key that you propose Albert ... is the million dollar question, I have no idea. As you know, in Sloting Plus we have made proposals put on the table new ideas for fans (all copied by business rivals), to us cannot ask for more.
Not think it's an issue of budget, as races are now made as Digital where they spending is higher and the grids are filled.
The participation in the slot car forums is pathetic ... people are sick of nonsense and comments without rhyme or reason and fans that could enrich it abandoned.
Great brands do nothing to promote, hardly make catalogs or simple promotional stickers, zero. We, the fans, are not market to them.

Jordi Molist – Hobby Project
The first thing we all need, users, retailers and manufacturers, it is erase the hope of getting back in the Champions League of hobby. If we are realistic and we settle for playing in a honorable division below, there is still room to create certain projects and maintain the pulse of an activity if we do things in the right way.
If as manufacturers believe we are super intelligent and are going to sell 10,000 units because we had a brilliant idea, let's wrong ...
If as a shop we believe we succeed because we are excellent sellers and have a staff of 8 people, it goes badly ...
Even if as customers we wait until the products sinks to purchase the offer ... bad for the others.
As for manufacturers, often absurd quarrels among the main companies, with little or no collaboration between them, has been a small or large ballast. How about a single digital system? Now it is a little bit late but better would have been if there were no as many systems as weekdays.
Annual Catalogs that are like the Museo del Prado, (pictures and more pictures but little raw material) and they obviously cannot be satisfied.
We all sin optimistic but to mark "territory" in an absurd way and raise false expectations not do any good and in the long term create fans discouragement.
I think if we stick to reality, there is still room for some projects. A well thought out, well done, and that will not have to support large infrastructures.
In this way small or family businesses have almost a safer and less risky way than larger ones.

Giovanni Montiglio - CEO ThunderSlot

Create good products that are enjoyable /reliable to use and advertise properly what slot racing is, what a sportive approach to it is, how involving this hobby is.

Adrian Norman –SlotCar Consultant
As I see it in the UK, and in my opinion, if the main slot car manufacturers do not change their marketing and advertising strategies then they will ultimately fail and the new customers and home racers will have nothing to buy. The enthusiast racers will eventually leave the hobby as interest lessens and no new enthusiasts join the community of clubs. Later, the collector community will also leave the hobby.
If the major manufacturer’s businesses collapsed (in ICU) today there will be an immediate lack of interest in the hobby which will slump dramatically in the next three years. From that point onward (let’s assume 2020) I would expect to see very little slot car activity for a further 10 years as each small business slot car manufacturer, each magazine, each slot forum or social media community, each hobby toy shop, each online trader, each specialist slot car racing trader or collector trader, one by one go out of business. By 2030 there will be little or no slot car hobby.
A grim picture for slot enthusiasts unless the major slot car businesses adapt to the times and do not sit back and depend upon their good name and marvellous history. The hobby deserves better!

Diego Ripoll – Cartrix/Mitoos CEO

This sector is subject to a continuous development of new
Products ... with the permanent investment in economic and human resources that it entails.
And here's the problem: Investment required for developments occur and these are commercially successful in generating sufficient resources to reinvest in other news ... and the cycle continues. If those years ago during the crisis there has been no the necessary investment for obvious reasons (Banks closed to credit and lack of resources to generate massive sales, etc) therefore the current situation is not surprising. Nor is it different from many other hobby or industrial or service sectors that are also on the ICU and suffer the same situation.

Davide Vallese - BRM Modelcars
There is a solution ... we must show the world that does not know the slot what are the slot cars… my great friend and customer Alan Smith has opened in Tacoma, as you all know, a wonderful place where people can easily approach the slot world ... we would need hundreds of people and locales like this, this is the solution… in this way the people will finally understand why with 50/60 years we still race on these damned tracks, can understand what it means the adrenaline to compete one side to the other and be there for paired laps, laps and laps, can understand that we are not sick when we are 24 hours locked in a room without windows with 50 degrees to run with these slotcars, can understand ... what is the passion for this hobby .... We are calling on fans: Transmit The Passion.

SCT.- We tend to request gestures of manufacturers, distributors and retailers. Can we ask something to the fans?


Javier Alcaraz – CEO – Black Arrow
In the aspect of racing, fans and heads of clubs, championships, etc, they must focus on organizing championships that offer fun and be competitive. Now, more and more, clubs are programming championships in which models of various brands are on starting grid, giving color and surprises at every race.
Another example is Italia with the OPEN GT3 Championship, where various models of various brands are allowed and the rules equated it in performance and so we will have fun and competitive races. In addition, it is a national regulation that clubs adopt to allow fans to dispute races in various locations without need to change or modify the car.
Perhaps a simplification of rules and competitions, which also allows less investment in cars tuning, it's a way to bring fans to start slot hobby and maintain the already initiated.

Josep Aloy – AloyShop Owner
Do their, utmost to share their hobby with younger ones. I often see in our races or leisure space, as the most experienced amateurs have difficulty to share or just bail out the young. Even it is difficult to see how in the same amateur racing group different profiles are mixed.
Sometimes is worth sharing experiences and fun just for fun; the future of Slotcar appreciate it.

Jorge Arceo – (SCX– Educa Borras)

It is difficult to ask others and maybe even something bold, but perhaps we could invite them to do their utmost to divulge and publicize the world of slot to children, as an amusing toy and to have fun, and, as far as possible, that they continue to devote part of its annual budget on leisure and entertainment to buy Slotcar products.

Attila Barrios - More Than Slot
To the amateur, like in soccer or football or sport you may be asked to encourage the team, but not lose sight of that fans are sovereign and are absolutely right.

Rafael Barrios – CEO – FlyslotCars

I would ask them, understanding and support. We are not enemies that enrich ourselves and do things with us in mind, it's more complicated than that. We are business and we have to fight like many others; we do a lot of effort to make developments and as you know, to make a little car that does not cost 3€ as I hear sometimes. We are human and make mistakes but we need them more than ever to continue.
I also take leave to ask Albert and SCT to continue there, doing a very important job, and that we continue providing good news every day.

Mateo Berjano – EvotecShop
Fans make an effort, great in many cases, to continue maintaining its hobby. I think what they should be asked is his opinion. A party of reinvention is precisely communication with the end user, that today is extremely easy, but do not think we can require an effort to who is the end user, quite the contrary, It should be treated with exquisite attention and always aware that it is who holds hobby alive.

R.Carralero - Hornby Spain - Superslot

I would say that help us continue to spread this hobby from generation to generation and getting together, that the slot lasts over time entertaining children and adults.
That regains confidence in us because we continue fighting for the satisfaction of all of them, day after day.

Angèlè Chapeau – Le Mans Miniatures
We are not used to ask something to our customers (except pay their bill ;-P ). We are more used to listen them and that is the reason why LMM is on the slot market now. What we can say to fans is that slot car hobby is a very interesting one. In a world of individualism and screens it appears like friendly. It is technical, artistic and challenging at the same time. They can help us to promote their beautiful hobby, with positive attitudes and not denying all the actors of the market : everybody has his place.

Massimo Cellini – TuttoSlot.it Owner
What do we ask the fans? Better read forums that might help them to avoid "sharks" and start their own, using the forums or other media, to ask the manufacturers what they want. Maybe some of the manufacturers is likely more readily and produces something new.

Pedro Cieza – CEO Slot Racing Company
Fans should be understanding, without falling into neglect or demands on manufacturers, as this would lead us go straight to the shelves of museums scattered around the globe. However, to avoid this, we
manufacturers, brands, we have to explain what this sector is, they do not know!. Do not know how a slot car is manufactured, from the design to the mold construction, injection, painting, tampo printing, packaging, distribution, etc., they do not know, we have to explain it.
Does a collector know how many molds are needed to manufacture the car has purchased and how many pieces coming out of each of them, for example?
No, they do not know and they do not know solely because of us, because the manufacturers haven’t explained it.
The knowledge by fans of this slot world interiors probably (I think that roundly) would further enhance their interest, and thereby many others. As a good friend said "We are still working ..."

Maurizio Ferrari – Slot.it CEO
If there's one single thing that I would like to ask to the enthusiast - support your local shop. Buy one car less, but buy it from someone that is near you, and that you can talk to, that loves the same thing that you love, and who, most likely, has put his heart and soul in his shop for the love of the hobby, and not to make a quick dollar at the expense of the whole industry.

Albert Jobal – Slot Adictos Forum Adm.

I am also manufacturer (craftsman), and as such would ask fans an approach to their favorite brands. A simple email with a comment, a suggestion, a thank you or even a complaint, sent directly to the manufacturer will show that on the other side there is someone listening, and surely will appreciate it.
As head of Slot Adictos I have not much to ask those veterans who are like one big family, so the request is for new registered, especially those who are new to the slot: Take part without fear. We have all been newcomer, and in the forum you will find warm welcome and lot of knowledge.

Miquel Miret – Sloting Plus CEO

Fans already do enough by purchasing products. You cannot ask them anything.
But I take my hat off to the fans of Catalonia and Barcelona in particular.
They have a great ability to assimilate and support new proposals that is enviable. They have a great view of the news.
Serve this as reflection to verify the difference, in terms of absorption capacity of our and other brands product, between two very Sloting countries such as Italy and Spain. Night and Day.

Jordi Molist – Hobby Project
From the standpoint of fan from which I am also part, it would be interesting (especially among the most advanced hobbyists) not knock down manufacturers a couple of pegs on first mistake, disagreements or differences of approach about a product.
Launching any reference to the market, and even less a car, deserves all the world respect, it’s not easy.
Should be "I don’t like, I don’t buy"; but a poor review has the same weight than ten compliments and sometimes the same criterion can be very subjective.

Diego Ripoll – Cartrix/Mitoos CEO
Fans already do too much. I do not think you can ask them more. The real fans are still there, impassive absorbing the few novelties that manufacturers dare to put into production.
But what needs both the industry and the leading brands of the slot are massive sales to justify strong television campaigns -although if it is only for Christmas - to make massive customers where are going to arise new fans for slot so the hobby is kept alive with renewed lifeblood ...

Davide Vallese - BRM ModelCars

Transmit The Passion.


 
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