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Re: Realism or lack of it (Was: Märklin Price Increase of 19% for 2005)

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  • Jeffrey MacHan
    Hello Tapani, Thank you for a masterful explanation of the role Märklin has and still plays in the Z universe. You are quite right in that no other company
    Message 1 of 24 , Mar 1, 2005
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      Hello Tapani,

      Thank you for a masterful explanation of the role Märklin has and
      still plays in the "Z" universe.

      You are quite right in that no other company comes close to Märklin
      in terms of capital investment, product lines, international market
      share and revenus generated from "Z". During my discussions with Joe
      Rocchia of Märklin in Göppingen, he mentioned that "Z" represented up
      to 15% of the company's production. Although I am not aware of any
      published figures, Märklin's annual revenues are thought to be in the
      250 - 300 million USD range although the company has publicly
      acknowledged that revenues have been dropping sharply. In any case,
      it is possible that the "Z" portion would be somewhere in the 15 - 30
      million USD. (If anyone has more credible numbers, please jump in).
      NOTE: this is only an educated guess but if this is the case,
      Märklin's "Z" revenues would be about the same or larger than Micro-
      Trains Line's annual revenues.

      But the toy industry is changing rapidly and Märklin is feeling the
      heat from cheaper, overseas production. It now appears that 2/3 of
      toy train production comes from China. In fact, Märklin's management
      feels that the company is faced with "extinction".

      "We have tried as much as possible to keep our production in
      Germany", said Maerklin boss Paul Adams. "So we raised our prices
      and now we find ourselves in a situation where the market no longer
      accepts them".

      Read the entire article here:
      http://tvnz.co.nz/view/news_business_story_skin/461645%3fformat=html

      A 1992 Harvard Business Review article by H. Simon entitled "Lessons
      From Germany's Midsize Giants" examines Märklin's corporate culture
      and helps to explain the current crisis the company is facing.

      <http://groups.google.ca/groups?
      q=marklin+revenues&hl=en&lr=&selm=cf697647.0303011927.5346d72e%
      40posting.google.com&rnum=2>

      Food for thought,
      Jeffrey MacHan
    • Flayrah
      I wouldn t be surprised if Marklin completely stopped manufacturing US prototype equipment. For 2005, there only appears to be one new item, and that s a
      Message 2 of 24 , Mar 1, 2005
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        I wouldn't be surprised if Marklin completely stopped manufacturing
        US prototype equipment. For 2005, there only appears to be
        one "new" item, and that's a re-paint; plus I've noticed some
        dealers are placing the 2003 and 2004 US "starter sets" on sale -
        perhaps an indication that they didn't sell well? If Marklin
        perceives a lack of interest in sales of these items, they may
        decide the market won't support new or additional products.
      • randy smidt
        As far as North American product, Marklin may simply retrench at this point and wait out the exchange rate problem like many other European businesses are
        Message 3 of 24 , Mar 1, 2005
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          As far as North American product, Marklin may simply
          retrench at this point and wait out the exchange rate
          problem like many other European businesses are doing.
          Besides, with all the new releases planned from MTL,
          AZL and smaller manufacturers, Marklin will have a
          hard time competing in the US market this year.

          I think that if MTL came out with a steamer priced
          even as high as $300 and passenger cars, Marklin would
          see sales of North American prototype trains drop to
          almost nothing. Of course, so far MTL has shown no
          interest in passenger trains. I personally model both
          N.A. and German prototypes, so I will still buy
          Marklin product as long as I can afford it. If I
          really want something, I have been know to save up for
          two years or even buy something on lay away.

          The GG-1 is one of the best locos I have (in any
          scale)! But with one new product a year for North
          America (and a very regional, though important,
          product at that) Marklin isn't going to keep up with
          MTL or even AZL.

          One thing to keep in mind is that MTL has stated that
          they are now looking at Z scale as a growth market and
          even AZL is starting to produce more competitively
          priced locos while Marklin still sees Z scale as a
          small portion of their sales. Even IF Marklin's Z
          scale sales surpass all of MTL's N and Z sales
          combined, the attitude toward the product line IS
          different!

          Isn't speculating entertaining! ;-)

          Randy Smidt

          --- Flayrah <flayrah@...> wrote:

          >
          >
          > I wouldn't be surprised if Marklin completely
          > stopped manufacturing
          > US prototype equipment. For 2005, there only
          > appears to be
          > one "new" item, and that's a re-paint; plus I've
          > noticed some
          > dealers are placing the 2003 and 2004 US "starter
          > sets" on sale -
          > perhaps an indication that they didn't sell well?
          > If Marklin
          > perceives a lack of interest in sales of these
          > items, they may
          > decide the market won't support new or additional
          > products.
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > -Z- WARNING! HANDLE WITH CARE! Highly addictive in
          > Small DoseZ!
          >
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          > z_scale-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
        • kd79ctls
          ... I got to say I agree and disagree with all. Marklin is a company out to make money ( the bottom line). If they have to raise prices to pay the bills and
          Message 4 of 24 , Mar 1, 2005
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            ---Hi
            I got to say I agree and disagree with all. Marklin is a company out
            to make money ( the bottom line). If they have to raise prices to pay
            the bills and move factory over to other countries they will. Every
            Company here in America does that and no one here complains until to
            there gone. Why should they be any different.
            I personally think they should have two line like most big HO company
            do. One high end with good engine, high detail and limited runs and
            one lower with somewhat a lower price tag. Then you and mix and match
            the line for different price points and keep all happy.
            I like to have both lower priced engines and higher one. Lower one
            you can modify without thinking of the money you could lose and if
            you take them somewhere you doesn't worry about something happening
            to them. Higher one to collect and run at home as the jewel of your
            collection and your railroad.
            Kevin
          • Tom Fisher
            I don t think anyone has said that Marklin has no right to make a profit or to produce in China. ... __________________________________________________ Do You
            Message 5 of 24 , Mar 1, 2005
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              I don't think anyone has said that Marklin has no
              right to make a profit or to produce in China.


              --- kd79ctls <kd79ctls@...> wrote:

              >
              > ---Hi
              > I got to say I agree and disagree with all. Marklin
              > is a company out
              > to make money ( the bottom line). If they have to
              > raise prices to pay
              > the bills and move factory over to other countries
              > they will. Every
              > Company here in America does that and no one here
              > complains until to
              > there gone. Why should they be any different.
              > I personally think they should have two line like
              > most big HO company
              > do. One high end with good engine, high detail and
              > limited runs and
              > one lower with somewhat a lower price tag. Then you
              > and mix and match
              > the line for different price points and keep all
              > happy.
              > I like to have both lower priced engines and higher
              > one. Lower one
              > you can modify without thinking of the money you
              > could lose and if
              > you take them somewhere you doesn't worry about
              > something happening
              > to them. Higher one to collect and run at home as
              > the jewel of your
              > collection and your railroad.
              > Kevin
              >
              >
              >
              >


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            • Don
              There was a long story in BUSINESS WEEK a few weeks ago that discussed some of the problems General Motors was having because labor was working about a 30 hour
              Message 6 of 24 , Mar 1, 2005
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                There was a long story in BUSINESS WEEK a few weeks ago that discussed
                some of the problems General Motors was having because labor was working
                about a 30 hour week and wanted to work LESS. That just might run the
                cost of goods / pricing up a tad.

                Don

                -----Original Message-----
                From: Jeffrey MacHan [mailto:jmac_han@...]
                Sent: Tuesday, March 01, 2005 12:19 PM
                To: z_scale@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: [Z_Scale] Re: Realism or lack of it (Was: Märklin Price
                Increase of 19% for 2005)



                Hello Tapani,

                [snip]

                But the toy industry is changing rapidly and Märklin is feeling the
                heat from cheaper, overseas production. It now appears that 2/3 of
                toy train production comes from China. In fact, Märklin's management
                feels that the company is faced with "extinction".

                "We have tried as much as possible to keep our production in
                Germany", said Maerklin boss Paul Adams. "So we raised our prices
                and now we find ourselves in a situation where the market no longer
                accepts them".
                Food for thought,
                Jeffrey MacHan
              • harold grady
                Sgt. Tim, those are words very well spoken. Marklin is serious about the American market but not serious enough. What it amounts to is too little too late.
                Message 7 of 24 , Mar 1, 2005
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                  Sgt. Tim, those are words very well spoken.
                  Marklin is serious about the American market but
                  not serious enough. What it amounts to is too little
                  too late. They are not flexible in seeing changing
                  consumer demands. They are extremely rigid.
                  Harold Grady
                  --- sgt_tim7 <sgt_tim1@...> wrote:

                  >
                  > --- In z_scale@yahoogroups.com, "zscaleinfo"
                  > <trains@z...> wrote:
                  > If
                  > > M�rklin pulls the plug, it will be the end of
                  > z-scale for
                  > everyone.
                  >
                  >
                  > I disagree!! And so will alot others. Z scale is
                  > here to stay and
                  > as far as I am concerned, Marklin can close their
                  > doors. I know
                  > that will disappoint many of you, but not me. I
                  > will not purchase
                  > any of their products and Price has nothing to do
                  > with it.
                  >
                  > Marklin has stood around for years only making that
                  > F7 goofy looking
                  > loco while leaving the rest of us begging them and
                  > the world to make
                  > a Modern version of a US locomotive. Finally, AZL
                  > has broken ground
                  > and they haven't stopped running yet. MTL has
                  > recognized this are
                  > are wanting a bigger piece of the action.
                  >
                  > I am a modern U.S. modeller and Marklins U.S. stuff
                  > is rediculous.
                  > Odd couplers, trucks set too far back, doesn't look
                  > prototypical
                  > (Despite what some say), and just doesn't appeal to
                  > me. I will
                  > admit to a select few Locomotives and rolling stock
                  > looking OK.
                  >
                  > Before you know it, and it is coming fast, Marklin
                  > will be fighting
                  > for the U.S. market. It is apparent to me, by the
                  > comments I am
                  > reading about what people are saying at these Train
                  > Shows about how
                  > amazed they are that NEW U.S. Items, modern, are
                  > finally being
                  > produced. Z scales problem is plain and simple, we
                  > are not getting
                  > due media coverage. Give us an hour on National TV
                  > and we, the Z
                  > community, will grow by leaps and bounds.
                  >
                  > I applaud the new comers. So much to produce and
                  > not much
                  > competition. Heck, AZL and MTL are working together
                  > to not step on
                  > each others toes with the U.S. Locomotives they are
                  > producing, MTL
                  > is starting to dedicate more assets to "Z" and their
                  > are smaller up-
                  > and-coming companies out their. If Marklin stops
                  > making Z, it won't
                  > bother me!
                  > My 2 cents to your comment.
                  >
                  > Tim
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >




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                • de Champeaux Dominique
                  ... It s exactly the same for me..... Dominique Découvrez le nouveau Yahoo! Mail : 250 Mo d espace de stockage pour vos mails ! Créez votre Yahoo! Mail sur
                  Message 8 of 24 , Mar 2, 2005
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                    --- Tom Fisher <tfisher10@...> a écrit :
                    >
                    > Why would MTL, which exclusively models N. Am.
                    > prototypes, fail if Marklin went down especially
                    > since
                    > MTL is coming out with its own track?
                    >
                    > I have 1 Marlin tanker and 2 small diesel-hydraulic
                    > locos from Marklin. I could live without them. On
                    > the
                    > other hand, if it wasn't for MTL, Penzee, Robert
                    > Ray,
                    > FR, and AZL, I wouldn't own Z.

                    It's exactly the same for me.....
                    Dominique






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                  • Ralph Scott
                    Actually Marklin is the middle of the road when it comes to European model train manufactures. There are plenty of other large European companies whose prices
                    Message 9 of 24 , Mar 2, 2005
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                      Actually Marklin is the middle of the road when it comes to
                      European model train manufactures. There are plenty of other large
                      European companies whose prices are much higher but so is their
                      quality. Marklin bashers also should remember who started commercial
                      Z scale in the 1st place and the fact that it was aimed at the
                      european maket as 1st priority. It wasnt until repeated requests
                      from the US that the US outline was started. So I think if you bash
                      it too much you will lose it then we will see who stands on their
                      own.
                      If you think Marklin is expensive in the US then then try buying it
                      in New Zealand and then try buying MTL in New Zealand. Its all
                      relative ! - apart from their coupler design ( which can be
                      interchanged with MTL/KD and Jorger) marklin Z is an excellent
                      product with excellent reliability and robustness.
                      Ralph

                      >
                      > Actually, Märklin is still pretty much the only important z-scale
                      > manufacturer. Of course there are smaller manufacturers addressing
                      niche
                      > areas in z-scale product sphere and of course it is encouraging to
                      see that
                      > there are attempts to bring in the market alternative track
                      systems, for
                      > instance, but will they be here to stay? It remains to be seen. Z-
                      scale was
                      > born back in 1972 and the only manufacturer having made a serious
                      commitment
                      > to the scale so far is Märklin. With all due respect, Märklin is
                      the
                      > raison-d'etre for all the small series manufacturers around z-
                      scale. If
                      > Märklin pulls the plug, it will be the end of z-scale for
                      everyone. So
                      > simple.
                      >
                      > But despite of their earlier scepticism of the early 90's, Märklin
                      seem to
                      > have renewed their strong commitment to our scale and we should
                      all be happy
                      > for that. Just look at all those incredible new z-products they
                      have put out
                      > in the past few years, and we speak about truly new products here,
                      not just
                      > repaints. At least I think that products like the German V100, GG-
                      1, NOHAB,
                      > Anhalter Station kit and many others are truly remarkable.
                      Sometimes Märklin
                      > bashing of this list is just so plain silly and totally lacks the
                      realism.
                      > Reminds me of the Grimm's fairytale of fisherman's wife who was
                      always
                      > complaining of what she had no matter how much more she got and
                      ended up
                      > losing everything at the end.
                      >
                      > I don't think that any of us is collecting/operating z-scale
                      trains to save
                      > money. Z-scale is not a mainstream scale and higher precision
                      required in
                      > manufacturing and smaller series reflect on prices too. Also,
                      Märklin has
                      > never been known for making bargain basement products in any
                      scale. I am not
                      > happy with z-scale prices either which on the first look are
                      relatively
                      > high, but I try to weigh the higher price tags against what I
                      actually get.
                      > And my conclusion is that the price may be high, but it is also
                      justified in
                      > view of the true quality and customer support you get. It is not
                      once or
                      > twice that I have been pleasantly surprised when first buying from
                      a certain
                      > auction site older z-locomotives in an apparently bad shape and
                      when
                      > disassembling them for service noticed how incredibly well-built
                      they are
                      > and how they after servicing suddenly appear like brand new. I've
                      seen
                      > locomotives from early 70's, with hundreds of operating hours
                      behind them
                      > and yet, all metallic mechanisms inside were still in a wonderful
                      shape.
                      > Also, how many manufacturers actually can sell you spare parts for
                      > locomotives they made some 30 odd years ago in rare cases they are
                      required
                      > for repairs?
                      >
                      > We all have our freedom of choice, and there are those to whom the
                      price is
                      > everything. To those constantly complaining of the cost of z-
                      scale, I would
                      > just like to say that maybe you have simply chosen the wrong scale
                      in that
                      > case. Z-scale is bound to be more difficult, more expensive, more
                      > challenging but more rewarding too than "easier", more popular
                      scales. But
                      > one needs to have a right kind of attitude, more realism and
                      understanding
                      > the true nature of our scale would not hurt. And US dollars'
                      longtime
                      > downhill against Euro is beyond Märklin's control too.
                      >
                      > As to Märklin's z-scale model policies, of course they are
                      targeting
                      > collectors as well as those of us who like to run their trains.
                      It's like
                      > that with all the other scales too when it comes to high-end
                      manufacturers.
                      > I don't see it as a problem though. I think there is a very good
                      balance
                      > between collectibles and mass production models in Märklin product
                      catalog.
                      > There are buyers for both, has always been.
                      >
                      > Tapani Tuominen
                      > trains@z...
                    • bscaro
                      Hi This thread has taken on a bit of a life of its own . . . but there you go. My original comments are directed more at the way Marklin position themselves -
                      Message 10 of 24 , Mar 2, 2005
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                        Hi

                        This thread has taken on a bit of a life of its own . . . but there
                        you go.

                        My original comments are directed more at the way Marklin position
                        themselves - and it seems to me they are positioning themselves to
                        appeal to a 'club' or elite 'collecting' market rather than
                        a 'modelling' one. That's my perception when visiting their dealers
                        with their show rooms in a number of countries.

                        What I wondered was whether that approach could be sustained in the
                        light of MT's entry into the market in a big way, with a locomotive
                        chassis choice that seems designed to enable them to quickly release
                        all the major EMD models of the 50s and 60s.

                        The idea of Marklin having two lines is one way around that problem,
                        and might be one thing they could do. They already do it to a limited
                        extent with little starter sets that are very reasonably priced with
                        the 0-6-0, one wagon and an oval of track.

                        And maybe not a bad idea, to be entirely selfish.

                        I could care less what Marklin bodies are like as I only use their
                        chassis. [And most of you already know my opinion of the US ones is
                        not high, but let's not go there again.]

                        But, to those who say they wouldn't care if Marklin upped stumps,
                        where would you get steam loco chassis ? Even the MT steam loco used
                        a Marklin chassis !

                        Let's not be unrealistic.

                        Cheers

                        Ben

                        > I personally think they should have two line like most big HO
                        company
                        > do. One high end with good engine, high detail and limited runs and
                        > one lower with somewhat a lower price tag. Then you and mix and
                        match
                        > the line for different price points and keep all happy.
                        >
                      • zscaleinfo
                        ... I think you very much fail to see the reality of model train industry today. If Märklin really closed it s doors and dropped z-scale, it would, first of
                        Message 11 of 24 , Mar 2, 2005
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                          >-----Original Message-----
                          >From: sgt_tim7 [mailto:sgt_tim1@...]
                          >Sent: Tuesday, March 01, 2005 17:30
                          >To: z_scale@yahoogroups.com
                          >Subject: [Z_Scale] Re: Realism or lack of it (Was: Märklin
                          >Price Increase of 19% for 2005)
                          >
                          >--- In z_scale@yahoogroups.com, "zscaleinfo" <trains@z...> wrote:
                          >If
                          >> Märklin pulls the plug, it will be the end of z-scale for
                          >everyone.
                          >
                          >
                          >I disagree!! And so will alot others. Z scale is here to stay and
                          >as far as I am concerned, Marklin can close their doors. I know
                          >that will disappoint many of you, but not me. I will not purchase
                          >any of their products and Price has nothing to do with it.

                          I think you very much fail to see the reality of model train industry today.
                          If Märklin really closed it's doors and dropped z-scale, it would, first of
                          all, hit the consumer confidence in the future of z-scale worldwide. People
                          would start to leave the sinking ship in masses and turn their eyes to other
                          scales, N most likely. If they see that not even the world's biggest model
                          train manufacturer believes in z-scale anymore, it's a very stong
                          discouraging signal. The accessories manufacturers would reach the same
                          conclusion and eventually discontinue their z product lines and focus on
                          other, more lucrative scales instead of a dying curiosity, a minority scale
                          on a way to extinction. The commercial risk of staying in the z-scale market
                          without the credibility and inertia given to it by Märklin, the biggest and
                          oldest model train manufacturer backing the scale would become unbearable.

                          >Marklin has stood around for years only making that F7 goofy looking
                          >loco while leaving the rest of us begging them and the world to make
                          >a Modern version of a US locomotive. Finally, AZL has broken ground
                          >and they haven't stopped running yet. MTL has recognized this are
                          >are wanting a bigger piece of the action.

                          The F7 you mention, is a product from a different era. In the 70's Märklin
                          did cut the corners a little bit by using the same mechanism in several
                          locomotive series which resulted in mildly distorted proportions in some
                          products. In some locomotives it is more obvious than in others. Marklin has
                          redone some of the older locomotives and introduced more true-to-scale
                          successors with updated mechanisms. Most notably the German 216/218 series.
                          If there is a demand and it becomes commercially viable, I am sure they will
                          introduce a new version of F7 too.

                          The product lines of the two manufactures you cite are not comprehensive
                          enough to keep z-scale alive alone in a hypothetical situation that Märklin
                          would leave the world of z. Back in the early 70's when Märklin introduced
                          z-scale, there was not a single accessories manufacturer for z-scale. In
                          order to make z-scale a viable alternative to N-scale and an immeadiate
                          success, which was Märklin's goal very much, they had to offer, not only the
                          rolling stock and a good selection of track segments, but also accessories
                          of all sorts from signals and catenary to transformers and plastic
                          structures kits. Even tiny automobiles in 1:220. Z-scale relies on the
                          availability of readymade products more than other scales due to it's tiny
                          size and support from accessories manufacturer's is essential if the model
                          train manufacturer can not cover those needs.

                          >Before you know it, and it is coming fast, Marklin will be fighting
                          >for the U.S. market. It is apparent to me, by the comments I am
                          >reading about what people are saying at these Train Shows about how
                          >amazed they are that NEW U.S. Items, modern, are finally being
                          >produced.

                          Talk is cheap. The real test is, will the new products sell well enough to
                          encourage their manufacturers to expand the production or will they be
                          forced to pull out after a while to minimize the losses. It is positive that
                          so many manufacturers are showing interest in z-scale, but like I said, if
                          Märklin pulled the plug, the others would think twice whether staying in
                          z-scale makes sense or not.

                          >I applaud the new comers. So much to produce and not much
                          >competition.

                          You seem to have a rather rosy idea of model train business. Even in the
                          world's biggest z-scale market, that is Germany, there are still lot's of
                          products that simply don't exist in z-scale, but would be very welcome and
                          why is that? Because the accessories manufacturers at large simply do not
                          consider it profitable to cater the needs of z-scalers at the same level as
                          they do for N or HO customers. However, I do agree that we should encourage
                          and see positivily the contributions of any manufacturer, big and small, to
                          our beloved z-scale. And that includes Märklin too. Unfounded and highly
                          emotional critizism of one manufacturer does not take us anywhere no matter
                          how passionate we are about our hobby, which basically is a positive thing.
                          Constructive feedback and suggestions to manufacturers work much better.
                          Also, let's not forget that actually buying their products when we can, is
                          the best way to support our hobby.

                          >and-coming companies out their. If Marklin stops making Z, it won't
                          >bother me!

                          Well, it surely would bother me and many others who would like the z-scale
                          to be here to stay for years to come and progress worldwide.

                          Tapani Tuominen
                          trains@...
                        • sgt_tim7
                          ... ........................................... But, to those who say they wouldn t care if Marklin upped stumps, where would you get steam loco chassis ?
                          Message 12 of 24 , Mar 2, 2005
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                            --- In z_scale@yahoogroups.com, "bscaro" <bscaro@y...> wrote:
                            ........................................... But, to those who say
                            they wouldn't care if Marklin upped stumps,
                            where would you get steam loco chassis ? Even the MT steam loco
                            used
                            a Marklin chassis !


                            AZL perhaps!!!!!!!! Perhaps a New company that hasn't been brought
                            to life yet? With a dedication to "Z", a great business Plan and
                            the right investors, a company could be born overnight that could
                            rival both AZL and MTL. Point is, their is such a wide open gap of
                            N. Am. locos and rolling stock that has never been attempted
                            that "Z" could very well grow from 2%+ in total Model Railroading to
                            25% or higher. With limited space and more multiple posibilities
                            with "Z", more people would give up their HO and possibly their N
                            layouts.

                            Think of the miles and miles of "Z" scale track that could replace
                            the thousands of feet of HO and N scale track that is represented on
                            peoples layouts and modules. Layout space remains the same, but the
                            acres of scale space would increase 10 fold. Having more space
                            means needing more "Z" stuff to fill the void. If more Z is
                            produced at a cheaper cost, then people will buy.

                            My personal issue with Marklin- Thanks for starting "Z" in the
                            world, but, you should have made modern US decades ago. I have
                            followed "Z" for nearly 20 years. No modern diesel locos, no
                            buy!!!! AZL changed all that for me. Sell all my N scale and now I
                            am here! Yes, much more expensive, but as they say, Build it and
                            they will buy! :) So many people are seeing what "Z" is
                            developing into here, in the US, and they are getting into it.

                            I say, the collectors can keep collecting, but the ones who are
                            serious about the fun involved in this hobby, go forth and reap the
                            rewards. NTS 2005 here I come!!!!

                            I found 2 more pennies(cents)
                            Tim
                          • David Barnblatt
                            I responded a few days ago about the Marklin debate with no comment from anyone regarding the real issue which is the value of the dollar. Here is my original
                            Message 13 of 24 , Mar 2, 2005
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                              I responded a few days ago about the Marklin debate with no comment from
                              anyone regarding the real issue which is the value of the dollar. Here is my
                              original post:

                              It really has nothing to do with labor costs. It is the value of the dollar
                              to the Euro. In addition Marklin USA operates as a separate entity. Meaning
                              that Marklin USA needs to make money like everybody else. Marklin Germany
                              sells to Marklin USA just like it sells to other shops and dealers across
                              Europe. Take that into consideration, add the lousy exchange rate, Marklin
                              USA's big mark-up and finally the mark-up from the dealer and there you have
                              the huge prices we pay over here for this stuff.
                              This really only effects dealers that buy from Marklin USA and not some
                              internet dealers that buy from partners overseas. It really is not worth the
                              price difference.
                              A good example is, say, a Marklin 8856. Here, at a well known model train
                              shop in LA the 8856 costs $419.98! From a well known auction site dealer in
                              the Netherlands it runs 200 Euro to order it from them outside the auction
                              environment. That's a huge price difference.
                              So I would not blame Marklin Germany but Marklin USA.

                              In addition:

                              A few have commented that if Marklin dropped z scale that they wouldn't
                              care. There are many members of this group, myself included that model
                              European railways. I would definitely be very upset if Marklin dropped z
                              scale. I certainly don't feel that way about AZL or MTL... They are
                              creating beautiful models and expanding z, making it more of a viable scale
                              so every body benefits.
                              For 2005 many are "unimpressed" with the new offerings from Marklin. I for
                              one found a very nice and long awaited Swiss steam locomotive. Pretty nice
                              stuff!

                              David


                              On 2/28/05 3:56 PM, "overdosezd" <overdosezd@...> wrote:

                              >
                              > Michael,
                              >
                              > Wow! Must be due to all that high-priced Chinese labor Marklin has
                              > started using. I just got the 2005 catalog and was pretty
                              > unimpressed. It was full of mostly older sets that must still be
                              > languishing in the stockrooms. Even the GG1 is a bizarre choice.
                              > First off, it's wrong. That particular GG1 had a riveted body. I
                              > don't object to another Z GG1 but I would have rather had a more
                              > commonplace paint scheme. The up side to all of this is that Micro-
                              > Trains is ramping up with the roadbed track and the new diesel.
                              > Speaking of MTL... The March page is up today and features a Z
                              > survey. Please go and fill it in. Maybe if we all fill it out
                              > they'll get some more product under development? And MTL prices are
                              > always nicer than Marklin prices! Don't know how they manage to do
                              > it without that high-priced Chinese workforce!
                              >
                              > Disguszted with Marklin 2005,
                              >
                              > Mark Lieske
                            • bscaro
                              I think you very much fail to see the reality of model train industry today. If Märklin really closed it s doors and dropped z-scale, it would, first of all,
                              Message 14 of 24 , Mar 2, 2005
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                                I think you very much fail to see the reality of model train industry
                                today. If Märklin really closed it's doors and dropped z-scale, it
                                would, first of all, hit the consumer confidence in the future of z-
                                scale worldwide. People would start to leave the sinking ship in
                                masses and turn their eyes to other scales, N most likely. If they
                                see that not even the world's biggest model train manufacturer
                                believes in z-scale anymore, it's a very stong discouraging signal.
                                The accessories manufacturers would reach the same conclusion and
                                eventually discontinue their z product lines and focus on other, more
                                lucrative scales instead of a dying curiosity, a minority scale
                                on a way to extinction. The commercial risk of staying in the z-scale
                                market without the credibility and inertia given to it by Märklin,
                                the biggest and oldest model train manufacturer backing the scale
                                would become unbearable.

                                ******

                                I disagree with this. Take the example of Triang TT.

                                British TT scale should have died by the early 70s after Triang
                                dropped it. Nothing of the sort happened.

                                People started making kits, mechanisms, etches, and British TT became
                                a scale for high quality modelling, freed of the constraints of
                                manufacturers compromises and their need for profit.

                                Modellers became manufacturers, and instead of making high-cost items
                                like RTR locomotives, instead produced generic components such as a
                                range of wheels, chassis parts, motors, etc. Using these parts,
                                modellers started building a wide range of locomotives and cars
                                themselves.

                                Most of the cottage manufacturers were in it for love, but given the
                                right co-operative arrangements of an association set up to support
                                the scale, TT did quite well.

                                In essence, TT ceased to be a commercial scale and became a co-
                                operative effort, a true modelling scale.

                                In fact, when you look at British TT and other scales like 2mm, which
                                is one of a number of examples which have *never* had the support of
                                a major manufacturer -and the compromises in realism which go along
                                with it ! - you see some of the best modelling today.

                                Although it is not guaranteed, it is at least possible that a similar
                                thing might happen in Z if Marklin exited the market.

                                I hope they don't though.

                                Ben
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