There are a few questions I get regularly, and one of the most common is “Why not Majorette?”
It is a great question. And I don’t have a good answer. I should show Majorette. It makes perfect sense with what I collect and what I like to feature. The fact is, for the way I collect, it is less about chase pieces (although those are nice) and more about mini replicas of cool, real cars. That is why I make no apologies about rooting for a return to realism for Matchbox and ogle over new Hot Wheels like the BMW 3.0 CSL (more of that tomorrow).
Of course that realism goes much further with Tomica Limited Vintage and Kyosho, which I love collecting, and I have found some gems from Auto World, Greenlight, and just recently M2 (more on that in a bit as well). I am also looking forward to what will be coming from Johnny Lightning and Racing Champs.
But back to Majorette. If you are not familiar with Majorette, they are a diecast brand based in France, and their models can be found in many countries outside of the US. Years ago Majorette had a large presence in the US, but not anymore. And I have no idea if there are plans for a return. I wish there were.
I have gotten a little grief for going gaga over some of the new realistic Matchbox models and not saying a thing about Majorette. That is fair. Because those that collect Majorette are correct. Majorette has been doing some fantastic stuff for a very long time, and it definitely deserves some space here.
I have tried to keep Lamley focused on what I like to collect, and while I have a handful of Majorettes, I don’t have as many as I’d like, as they are hard to acquire if you live in the US. I need to change that and pursue more. There are so many cool Majorettes out there, and many would look so nice in my collection, so I am after a few. My Lamley co-founder David Tilley has been on the lookout for me in the UK, and already has put a few aside to send over:
eBay of course is an option as well. I will do what I can to get more and feature them here.
Majorette models are less the premium type of TLV and Auto World, and more toy car-type like Hot Wheels and Matchbox. And while the Mattel brands choose to stay committed to the $1 price point here in the US, Majorette has stayed old school with moving parts and, one of my favorite features of Matchbox back in the day, shocks. That probably means they would sell here in the US in the $3-$4 range, and while you and I might buy them, it is hard to say if the general public would. Just look at Tomica’s massive failure at Toys R Us a few years ago.
Opening parts have never been a big deal to me. Sometimes they take away from the look of the model overall, but that is the collector and displayer in me talking. There is no doubt they add play value. Shocks? I love the bounce of the shocks. I love the smooth way wheels on shocks roll. Some Majorettes do suffer from a little too much gap in the wheel wells because of it (Let’s just say the Mercedes SLS looks better from above than at a full side profile.), but for the most part they look good.
There is another thing I really like about Majorette, and it is a simple detail that I think our friends at Mattel could adopt. They separate the licensed models from the fantasy. Multipacks, for example, feature either all licensed or all fantasy cars. They even call their unlicensed cars “Fiction”. Doing that also allows Majorette to emphasize multipacks more. Assortments are specific, so you don’t have to look at various packs to find the least abusive assortment like you do with Hot Wheels 9-packs. I would say that the percentage of multipack sales vs singles is much higher for Majorette.
|Size comparison with Matchbox|
A big difference in approach between Majorette and the Mattel brands? Majorette tends to keep it current. Their licensed vehicles are mainly of cars that have been released in the last couple of years. New pickups, new sports cars, new racers, new street cars, new SUV’s, etc. Obviously Matchbox and Hot Wheels do some current cars, but their licensed releases are a mix of old and new. There is of course some crossover, but I think the brands fit nicely together, especially with Majorette’s emphasis on European brands.
So over time I have added a Majorette here and there. I have utilized friends overseas, and occasionally everyone’s favorite diecast seller on Instagram, @the_toy_pimp (check his feed out if you haven’t). My Majorette collection isn’t large, but it merits a some pics here on the blog. And I hope it expands quite a bit. All of my pics below are of models I have acquired the last few years, including some special edition models.
But first, as great as the models I have are, Majorette 2016 is even better. Carmakers from Europe (of course), Japan, and the US are all represented.
Some of the models that are out or will be out:
Yes, I want all of those. To join the collection I already have:
46 Replies to “The beautiful diecast works of Majorette…”
What's the last car?
Hmm, I see lots of hits and lots of misses. Not a fan of modern Euro cars though, so not much there for me.
How great at LONG LAST to see Majorette, regardless of whether you like the brand or not, there is not disguising the fact that they are the most up to date brand around, with virtually all the models still in production by the real manufacturers.
And as someone that gets fed up to the back teeth with the same mustangs, camaro's etc being done month in month out, getting some real cars that you, your neighbour of the person up the street has, is great – i have purchased about £50.00 worth of Majorette over the last few weeks and we are off to France next Friday where my twice a year model purchase with inevitably mean i bring back about 300 diecast…. cant wait….
Yes, it's a french concept car
Hello friends. Majorette is hard to find in Portugal too.
You miss at least 6 europeans cars:
Renault Clio Sport
Renault Megane Sport Coupe
Renault Megane V6 Trophy
Toyota Hilux Pick up
In Spain is hard too
In Canada the only stores that I can think of that carry Majorette vehicles are Harts Department Store and I believe Rossy's Department Store as well.There's no such stores in my hometown (Fredericton,New Brunswick) but I recall about a year ago heading to northern New Brunswick (the town of Tracadie-Sheila)where there is a Harts and Rossy's Dept Store and I certainly recall Harts selling Majorette vehicles including a model of a passenger plane.
Majorette are the best… specially when you consider than in Chile they cost the same of a Hot Wheels or a Matchbox, and that has always been the case (even more, they were a little cheaper in the 80's).
I found a whole load of them went I went to Singapore and seriously most of their models are good looking from afar but are far from good looking.
Porsche 911 GT3…
Red Bull F1
Citroen DS3 WRC
Jaguar F Type
Vw Beetle / Beetle Cabrio
I Think the factory is there and the big market for Majorette…
To bad because in Europe we love majorette!
Majorette enjoys mass-market distribution in Thailand as they are produced here. They are available in every department store, supermarket and 7-11 convenience store – take note Matchbox! Personally I don't care for the brand but my four year old son likes it due to the opening doors. I have noticed that the paint chips much easier than that on his Hot Wheels cars and they don't stand up to rough play as well as Hot Wheels.
The most recent Majorette releases I have are the Silverado, Audi A5, Hilux and Amarok, and I purchased them from a seller in Malaysia. I used to buy them regularly when they were widely available in the US up until 1996, and I used to get the dealer catalogs each year from the distributor in Miami, and was on a first name basis with the receptionist.
Majorette did attempt a comeback in the US back in 2014 when parent company Simba Dickie set up an office in New York. Majorettes were available briefly in the Northeast, but Simba didn't put much effort in pursuing the market and ended up closing its doors. This would be a good time for a distributor to pick up the brand and give it the push it needs.
Nice post of this famous french diecast brand.
I collect them since I am a kid, and have almost every single model of it (at least, each model not each color which is near to impossible).
Majorette was born in Lyon, and then with difficulties in the mid-80, was meant to disappear. Production finally ended in Asiatic countries.
For the last few years, we saw a reborn of Majorette.
It is now a diecast brand on the german Dickie Group (Simba Dickie Group).
They had very very big difficulties a few years ago, when the factory has been flooded because of earthquake and tsumani.
Now, they have settled new production again with great new products.
It is now quite easy for us in France to buy them at a very low price (around 1.50 to 2€ each unit, a little more for Racing and SOS).
And the quality is good. In fact, you can have the Premium line for 2€ to 2€50, which is the price here of a Hot Wheels…
Premium lines (they call it premium cars) include the lastest Jaguar F-Type, blue 308 Peugeot, and others and others …. in big blisters with opening parts maintained by pieces of plastic.
Another interesting thing : while Majorette's factory incident, they had no cars to offer and it was the real desert in stores.
So they took molds (I mean models) from the LOYAL BRIGHT brand. We then had Impreza, Cayenne, New Beetle RSi etc, which were quite ugly and very small.
After the recovering, real new models were back : VW The Beetle, Renault Scenic, Mitsubishi ASX… And then and then.
Here in france we talked about the great return of Majorette.
I think some models still currently into the catalogs are not real Majorette molds, like the 997 Porsche, and the (ugly) Audi R8. Easy to recognize, they are screwed into the baseplate and not riveted, they are quite small and they have no shocks / suspensions.
I can't wait to find the yellow AMG-GT, and the New Twingo.
You mentioned Tomicas failure at Toys R Us a couple years back. I dont think that had anything to do with price point. I think it had more to do with demographics. I was thrilled when they hit the market again since I had been a child when the Tomy Pocket Cars were on pegs back in the late 70s. Back then even, they were endcap products and not with the rest of the diecast cars at TrU. This time around they packaged the cars with the highly detailed little cities for the toddler and preschool set. They were locked away with Fisher Price toys in the Babies section of the store. Diecast lovers couldnt find them. Thos of us who did were dissapointed in the lackluster selection they shipped over. Especially when their website and blogs like yours showed an amazing array of highly detailed JDM and American castings that rivaled most of the higher priced brands here in the states. I bought a few. A GTR is one of my prized *gets*. But over all, this Japanese toy maker has no clue how to tap this American market where I am certain they would clean up.
Of course it makes sites like Japan Booster and Wheel Collectors the go-to stops for such brands. But still…there is an untapped market Tomica could nail down with high profits if they could stand to be seen on the same isle with Mattel.
Thanks Lamley for featuring these, especially the Limited edition. Went through the comments, here is my reply. 1) they have no problem resisting to my 4-yrs old playing hard with them, he loves the bouncy suspension and opening feature. The black GT3 RS I featured on my IG was not straight out of package, it had been played with for over a year… 2) yes, continental Europe is where I tap the pipeline, I have relatives living on the French/German border 3) the demographics in the US are there for foreign brands, especially for Tomica who makes awesome JDMs. The problem goes deeper than that but I would be slapped with a “Cease and Desist” if I talked more about it, you can read between the lines. Until then, grey market importers like Japan Booster and Wheels Collectors will be making money hand over fist. 4) IMO, the brand is being treated like a bastard child by Simba Toys, I love what the guys are producing in Thailand, but the management and distribution network is terrible. I hope it will be here to stay and treated more seriously going forward.
Thanks, that car is just perfect
In your opinion, i will beg to differ, they are superior to a lot of Mattel rubbish, and i would rather have one Majorette than a box full of Mattel generics – they are very very realistic, have working suspension, opening parts, decent paint, and the new ones ALL come with a poster, you dont get that with anything from Mattel.
Majorette should be shown here a lot more than they do, it gets very very boring to see that same old stuff week in week out, Mustangs, Camaro's and so on, and what a breath of fresh air to see cars that are on your street, rather than in a museum, or racetrack.
I disagree – they are available all over Europe, and have just been signed up to appear in TESCO, and are doing some serious sales from them, it has already been noted above they are available in other countries so i cant see how the distribution is terrible, when it is far superior to Matchbox.
Although Majorette is not for me I can only praise them for the fantastic job they do marketing their products in Thailand. They provide free posters detailing the models in their range to all the toy departments and they also provide toy departments with huge racing ramps for kids to race their newly bought diecast cars on. I forgot to mention in my previous post that Majorette is also available in three nationwide book chains in Thailand. I wasn't knocking the quality of Majorette cars in my previous post – they a quality product for the price, especially with opening doors and suspension. In a way Majorette is everything I wish Matchbox would be. As a parent, I wish they would also copy Majorette's idea of putting a mystery car in a plastic egg.
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So that explains why the models were so different couple of years ago. I was starting to collect back then and when I saw them at the store didn't pay too much attention. Then one day I was the real deal – BMW Z4 with shocks, plastic headlights and removable roof. I was hooked. Too bad their distribution in Eastern Europe is so bad. Recently the stores increased the prices for Hot Wheels and now Majorette is the cheaper brand!
John Mower, you are in Europe, there is nothing to argue about on distribution from your standpoint. Outside Europe and South East Asia, the distribution IS terrible. I am not knocking on the company or their products, it is my favourite brand, but distribution (even in some parts of Europe) could be greatly improved. Same goes for Tomica, Norev, Kyosho and other premium foreign brands that are not available retail in North America.
Colin, I agree with you. I don't get kickbacks or free boxes, so I can keep my integrity and tell it like it is, although I love the brand going back to the 80s, I am no cheerleader for Majorette. I agree that there has been some QC issues here and there on some castings (I posted on my IG a Man City Bus that my son managed to rip in half for example, I had a mirror falling of a BMW Z4), they could use a bit more variety in their wheel selection and some castings (like the R8 featured above) cannot withstand similar offerings from the competition (Matchbox, Tomica). Having said that, I do like a lot of the castings they have been coming with lately: new licensed castings, Limited Edition, Rally Cars, Racing Transporters…I am hoping for the best going forward.
In Japan, Majorette is packed with a chewing gum and sold as “candy toy” in the supermarket. it may be okay for the maker, but as a diecast fan it's kinda hard to track down a specific cast…
Is that black Toyota FJ with the white top a Matchbox or Majorette?
It's a Majorette.
Thank you! Probably hard to find, I bet.
And the same applies to the nonsense that infiltrates MB and HW – full of Americana that anyone outside your nation cares not about.
Licensed castings, opening parts, excellent promotion and readily available in most markets – and you still want to root for the shambles that currently is matchbox?
I am suprised you have made a mention to this brand – maybe you have taken notice of the good stuff on Farcebook…………
Majorette shone in their rally cars. Their Citroen WRC cars rock, and the Ford Fiesta RS WRC cast is a gem. They MUST get an official license from WRC themselves.
I acquired an awesome blue Subaru WRC rally w/gold wheels from Majorette and it is a decent model. They do rally right!
Mitsubishi Lancer WRC, Citroen C4, Citroen DS3, Citroen C4, Renault Megane, Mini Countryman, Subaru, Peugeot 206, Citroen C2 all from WRC (modern…) of course they made the Audi Quatrro, Lancia Monte Carlo, Toyota Celica, Renault 5 Turbo, Renault 5 Maxi Turbo, (yes, they are diferent!) and in the future maybe the Vw Polo Red Bull from this year!
WOW,..these cars are really what our hobby is all about,..details
details and more details,..GREAT STUFF!
i more into their rally concept cars..the decal are fanstactic..
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This was a great post Majorette is so missed here in the US. These models remind me of past MBX glory. Moving parts realistic models, miss the heck out of quality like this. As a kid the opening doors and moving parts were a big draw. It is ashame that the US market is over policed.
This is not a sustainable way to achieve weight loss so realize that if you are restricting your calories Perfect Garcinia Cambogia your body is thinking that it's going through a famine it thinks that it needs to survive this period of time that food is not available…
Majorette cars have always been available in Australia, I think I had some as a kid but never bought them as an adult collector as the wheels have always looked cheap and not suited the models as they're usually skinny.
When is someone gonna do something about this?
Audi S4 RS4 A8
70-75 Chevy Caprices
70's 80s Buick other than the 87
BMW M5 M3 M6
just something i noticed and think is really cool, the ford mustang headlights look like they light up. put your thumb over the windscreen and they turn off.
where can you buy these at
Anyone in the UK, try PoundWorld or Morrisons supermarket to get Majotettes. In the last year or so I've got at least 40 of them from those two places. Can anyone suggest other UK shops I might try?
I miss my little yellow 405 rally car I used to play.