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.
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