By on December 24, 2012

They're smiling now but by the time they have their own kids the nannies will have banned powered toy cars, or forced toy companies to include roll bars and seat belts.

As millions of kids get ready to unwrap their Christmas presents Ford is making a big deal about the fact that in the three years since its uber F-150, the SVT Raptor, was introduced, licensees selling toy Raptors have made them the most popular licensed trucks in the toy industry. With all the discussion about a possible lack of interest in cars and driving by young people now reaching adulthood, it’s interesting to see that toy trucks are still popular with kids, which might bode well for the auto industry.

Licensed merchandise is a win-win situation for car manufacturers. Essentially they get paid for licensees to promote their brands and in the case of toy cars and trucks those brands are being promoted to children, which may establish lifelong brand loyalty. It’s not much of a stretch to assume that a boy or girl who drives a toy Jeep Wrangler as a six year old, might just want a real one after they turn 16. Besides the promotional aspect, the money is non-trivial. Royalties for licensed goods are typically 7 to 12 percent of the wholesale price. For every Powerwheel SVT Raptor that Fisher Price sells at $340 retail, Ford is probably getting somewhere between $12 and $20.

Little Tikes ubiquitous Cozy Coupe. Six million sold as of 2004.

Ford may be hyping the Raptor’s popularity as a toy (and using that as an excuse to hype the fact that real Raptor sales are up 40% from 2011, the SVT truck’s best sales ever) but it’s probably appropriate to mention that the Raptor is the most popular licensed toy truck, not the most popular toy vehicle. That probably would be one of the Little Tikes ride-on cars, which aren’t licensed from any auto manufacturers. Little Tikes Cozy Coupe is quite possibly the best selling “car” in the world at this time. In the 1990s it was outselling the Honda Accord and the Ford Taurus, the best selling sedans then, and continues to sell hundreds of thousands every year. The Cozy Coupe has also been in production longer than most real cars, 33 years and going on strong. Toys can be evergreen products with life cycles longer than that of cars. The toy truck that the Raptor displaced from the #1 spot was the Hummer, a brand that’s been dead (at least for real vehicles) for three years. Thinking about those ride-on Hummers and looking at the Hot Wheels model of a ’63 Studebaker Champ sitting above the number pad on my keyboard, I’m reminded that in the toy world, some brands never really die.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can dig deeper and get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks  for reading– RJS

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25 Comments on “A Christmas Toy Story: Ford Raptor the Most Popular Toy Truck, Maybe Generation Z Kids Will Drive After All...”

  • avatar

    I figure I’d put my two cents in as I’m 20 and i suppose I’m apart of this group that doesn’t like to drive.

    I myself drive. I got my license at 18. Didn’t drive at all through high school.

    I have a friends and about half drive. The other half say they want a car but they don’t even have their license yet o_0. But, they are lazy and expect the dang thing to fall in their lap. I guess bumming rides of everyone they know works better. Even trying to get a ride to a place they could easily take the bus too if they woke up a little earlier.

    The group after that doesn’t care and sees it as a unnecessary expense.

    On top of that i wish i could buy a new car. But, their is no way I’m getting a car loan for a car that will lose most of its value within two years.

    Instead I’ll drive my beat up 1990 f250 diesel. While it doesn’t get the best mileage 21mpg on the highway. AT 348,000 it seems there is always something to fix. But, i do the work myself and its rewarding.

    Done brakes, injection pump, injectors, fuel line, filters, oil, e brake cables, alternator, alternator belt, voltage regulator.

    Out of all of that the injectors, injection pump, and the tool to time it cost me the most and is about 90% of the repair costs.

    I also added intermittent wipers out of my to be scrap / parts truck.

    Next up replace my headlight switch. That crapping out, and my dimmer switch that gets stuck. Replace the headlight switch connector that tends to melt. Also relay the headlights to get better performance and stop the connector from melting. (fyi ford used this switch until 2008 in the e series with the same connector. )

    On top of that i get tons of cash moving crap for people nearly all the time.

    And, back on topic. If i was a kid again I’d love to have one of these raptors.

    • 0 avatar

      ” The other half say they want a car but they don’t even have their license yet o_0. But, they are lazy and expect the dang thing to fall in their lap. ”

      The above line ^^^ and the rest of what you said tells me that you were probably raised the way i was, and that is such and warming thing. Thank you for showing me that at least some “youngster’s” are still interested in cars, driving, working on their cars and the like. This reminds me that i thought the whole “car scene” was dead after i graduated high school (1988) cause right after i would drive by and there was no one backing their cars into their spaces. Anyway Merry Christmas to you and all reading this post today!

      • 0 avatar

        I can’t say their are too many of my age who feel the same. But, its still alive and well.

        People have told me to buy a new car countless times. I just don’t see the need when i have a perfectly good older vehicle that i have fixed nearly every problem with.

        On the look out now for a car something. Not really sure what i want to get but, something old.

        Hope you had a Wonderful Christmas. Happy New Year!

    • 0 avatar
      Polestar R Design

      I bought Bri and Sofia a Blue Mini Cooper S. Enough said. We have an ’08 ditto. They’ll open it when we return home. Merry Christmas all.

  • avatar

    Hi Ronnie! Feliz Natal! May your beard grow long and white as you watch your great-grandkids play!

    “The Cozy Coupe has also been in production longer than most real cars, 33 years and going on strong.”

    Brazil has got the tiny coupe beat! The VW Kombi has been in production for over 60 years and next year won’t see its demise. The Fiat Uno has been basically the same since 82? 83? So 30 years and counting!

  • avatar

    It is not the kids buying them and I bet only a small percentage of those that are receiving them have actually asked for them by name. It is the Dads that are selecting and buying them, many because they can’t afford the real thing.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    Those little FP Ford F150 electrics have always been pretty popular. My wife got one for our oldest son 4 years ago. Same toy but in F150 not Raptor trim. I suspect the Raptor styling hasn’t made them anymore popular than they already were as the F150.

  • avatar

    As to the Gen Z kids interest in driving, I have my doubts.

    My 22-y/o grand son (Gen Y) is with us for Christmas and I asked him if he’d like to trade his ’91 Tacoma for a brand new one (I would pay for it) and he told me he’d much rather have a Samsung Galaxy S III with an unlimited data plan from Verizon.

    That’s what he got from us.

    Nah, the Gen Z kids are just not that much into driving and new cars. Even the littlest grandkids are asking for phones instead of toy cars or toy trucks.

    • 0 avatar

      Honestly I would want to hang on to a ’91 Toyota truck, too, unless it’s a pile of orange dust.

    • 0 avatar

      not true as a 22 year old I bought my first new car last year and would rather see a new car in the driveway than a new phone regardless of the model since a phone can make you network but a car makes you explore! I live for Sunday drives to nowhere or an occasional road trip. everyone of my cars has been an emotional attachment with my last causing me to cry when I handed over the keys…when I was four I had an electric wrangler and sure enough when my tiburon crapped the bed I decided to get what I wanted since I was 6….a jeep two years…90,000 miles, endless trips, days spent fixing every part of the damned thing until the tranny went and the emissions on their way out caused me to wind up in a ford dealership looking at a brand new focus. although I miss that Jeep for it’s go anywhere attitude I do admire the focus it’s everything I want in a car and being what seems to be the only manual in the state of RI makes me feel proud. while a majority of my friends has gotten into trouble or wound up impregnating someone or worrying about the newest iphone, Ihave a successful job, a new car in the driveway, and plenty of good years ahead.

      I do however miss my V8

      fiero= vesper
      tiburon=mary Ann
      grand cherokee= Jenny
      focus= Roxanne yes I name my cars lol

    • 0 avatar

      That’s some interesting insight. I will never understand the attraction to phones. Work gave me an Iphone, it was too much of a PITA to use it so I tossed it in the corner, I’ll use it when I have too (out of town etc). Maybe it all really comes back too “keeping up with the Joneses”, cars used to be cool but a conspiracy of bland put an end to that, now its phones that are “cool” and everyone must have.

      Then there’s the whole a phone is also a tracking device meme, so I suppose the kiddos will fit right into 1984.

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t think I would have picked one over a car at 16, but having a smartphone is one of the greatest conveniences of modern life.

        I have full access to any website, a navigation system, up to date business directories and reviews, and downloadable apps to do just about anything in my pocket available anytime.

        Google maps alone is worth the price of admission. Need to know where the nearest Enterprise Rent-A-Car is? Just type ‘enterprise’ into the search field in Google Maps and get the location plus the number to find out how late they’re open or reserve a car. Feel like Chinese food? Do the same, and maybe even get lucky with a menu link to call in your order and have it ready before you get there.

        Plus, there’s the convenience of having all of your e-mail accounts readily available from anywhere, and for work use being able to snap a couple shots of a car someone is interested in and e-mail them off with a few screen taps.

        A modern smartphone is like having an internet-connected computer in your pocket at all times. It allows you to be productive, efficient, and adaptable to whatever situation may arise, wherever it may arise.

      • 0 avatar

        Thanks for the insight NulloModo. I have heard such things before but phones are too small to comfortably use as computers IMO. I actually have laptop I carry in the car for such purposes, either a 7in netbook and a 12in Thinkpad depending on the car. I personally loath the Iphone’s faux keypad, would have been much better to add a sliding keypad as my brother’s Samsung has. Since to do most of those things you need to type input, I’m not impressed with the Iphone I have.

        Merry Christmas.

    • 0 avatar

      @dodobreeder: “Even the littlest grandkids are asking for phones instead of toy cars or toy trucks.”

      Honestly, if I had to choose between a smartphone and a car, the smartphone wins — and your grandson already has a car. The car and the smartphone are devices with roughly the same utility, but the phone costs a lot less and does more to help my social life.

      The phone also reduces the requirements for the car. Once your phone does navigation and infotainment, a low-end car is the same as a high-end car. Also, breakdowns are less of a big deal when you can check an Internet forum by the side of the road, and then call a friend to come with the right tool or part. Lastly, if you communicate well, you can make every trip in the car count.

      Another factor is that older cars last a lot longer than they used to. So, the downsides to owning an older car aren’t what they used to be. Also, it can be embarrassing to drive around in a brand-new ride that you didn’t earn, when your friends are doing everything they can to earn their own way through life without windfalls.

      It sounds to me like your grandson maximized the value of the gift-dollars you spent on him, and saved you a couple of dozen grand to boot!

      It sounds like your grandson is a very practical and responsible young man!

  • avatar

    I miss my Tonka construction fleet.

  • avatar

    Are you sure that’s a Cozy Coupe? It looks suspiciously like a spy pic of the next generation Smart4two.

  • avatar

    Kids today are so lucky. When I was their age it was Hot Wheels or Corgi/Dinky or the f’ing Rupert the Bear annual. I mean come on! Your an 8 year-old boy and auntie sends Rupert the Bear?!!

    There were wonderful compensations though – I used to whip my sisters bottom hard with a piece of Hot Wheels track. Boy did she scream! She’d taken my favorite Hot Wheels and dropped it down the grate of a road drain…

    If we’d had one of those Raptors we’d be kicking and punching and tipping over.

    Thank gawd we didn’t have Charlton Heston and the NRA in the house.

  • avatar

    What? No pictures of the Disney Princess Escalade? Those cute little mugs on a pink truck with huge black wheels?

  • avatar

    As much of a Ford guy as I am, I wouldn’t put much stock in this, I don’t think this translates into sales in any real sense. I mean, I had a 1959 Tonka/Ford pickup when I was a kid, and I’ve never had the urge to own one new or vintage in my life.

    • 0 avatar

      You may never have bought a Ford pickup, but you admit to being a “Ford guy”. You think playing with your Tonka Ford might have had just a little bit to do with now being a Ford guy?

      I’m a big fan of Jim Hall and his Chaparral racers. I haven’t checked the actual records, but I’m pretty sure that Bruce McLaren’s cars were more successful, overall, than the Chaparrals. The McLaren CanAm cars are beautiful race cars, but I’ll always be fonder of the Chaparrals. I blame Cox and Monogram, .049 engine powered model cars and slot racing sets.

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