Matchbox 2017 Preview, Part 2: ’16 Toyota Tacoma & Fiat 500X…

This is Part 2 of several posts showcasing the EP and 3D prototypes Matchbox brought to show at the Gathering earlier this month.

Here are two more models that are in the EP phase – meaning the casting is done, and it moves on to getting any final touches, and then color and deco.

The first is the 2016 Toyota Tacoma, and the second the Fiat 500X.  The Tacoma is a surprising choice, considering an earlier Tacoma was released just a few years ago as a Life Guard truck.  This Tacoma carries the new body style and grill, and also has an accessory – in this case, a tent.

Accessories seem to be the thing in the auto world, and it is cool to see Matchbox tapping into that with both the Brookwood and now the Tacoma.  Like the Wagon, the Toyota sacrifices its interior to get its accessory, and also like the wagon, it is removable.  No interior is a bummer, but I think this model is far more interesting with the tent.  Plus, with Matchbox dedicated to metal bodies for all models, especially licensed, I can take this with no problem.

The Fiat is also a surprise.  Seeing a Fiat isn’t surprising, but the 500X is.  A little more obscure, but with Hot Wheels already producing a fairly stock 500, this is welcome.  And it looks rally-like, especially with its roof rack.

So here they are, two more models to look forward to in 2017, and based on where they are in development, it shouldn’t be too long before they hit the pegs…

17 Replies to “Matchbox 2017 Preview, Part 2: ’16 Toyota Tacoma & Fiat 500X…”

  1. Not bad. It's good to see the newest Tacoma being made from Matchbox just after their first one two years ago, especially since the truck underwent a nice design refresh. The Fiat is a nice touch too. Hopefully, they'll give it the traditional front and rear tampo treatment, because if they make it into a rally car, chances are it will be decked out in graphics and the front/rear treatment will be ignored.

    By the way, I hate to sound like a know-it-all, but the title has a typo. Tacoma is spelled Tacome. Just thought you might want to be aware of that.

  2. I agree. I rather have interiors over accessories. Also, I don't really like the praising tone over metal bodies. Guess what, I don't think they would sell many models with plastic bodies, anyway.

  3. I think they do deserve praise. There is a lot of context behind it, but with the price points Walmart demands, a certain faction within Mattel pushing to cut more and more costs, plus a debate on whether what collector's think matters, this team made metal bodies a priority and battled for them. Yes, it is sad that they have to battle for it, but that is how things are. They would love to raise the price on these to be able to add more detail and make Matchbox a more premium line, but they can't. This specific team, a small group within Mattel, is listening to collectors and doing all they can.

  4. Well said, John.

    Also, I would like to add that I would kike to see more interiors in the cars, but I can live without the ineriors if there are no options. Die-hard collectors like myself can remember when the earlier Matchbox models had no interiors; just a hollow body and a baseplate. Oh, and the regular wheels and axles, not today's wide wheels and wire axles.

    I am the type who strongly believes that you cannot truly appreciate the present without appreciating the past.

  5. “but with the price points Walmart demands” Isn't it a pity that the world's largest retailer (with a potential market base of around 200 million people) can dictate to the world's second largest toy manufacturer (with a potential market base of around 7 billion people) that the price point of a toy cannot be increased by 10 cents to provide far better quality.

    In a few years' time the models, both MB & HW, will have to be all plastic to keep under the unchanged ~1969 $1.00 price point in the good old USA, because it is the only place that matters. It will be interesting to see the sales figures then.

  6. As the world's largest retailer, Walmart can dictate price point-or place of manufacture-to its vendors, and the vendors will comply if they want to sell their products there. That doesn't mean everybody will go along with the plan, however.

    I can recall from a 2003 business article about the president of Snapper lawn mowers summoned to the Walmart headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas to discuss sales. the Walmart rep suggested that sales could be increased if production was moved to China. The Snapper president listened to the presentation, and then responded by stating why his company WOULD NO LONGER do business with Walmart. Snapper felt it was better to continue doing business with the independent dealers that supported the brand while keeping people employed, instead of sacrificing that for cheap overseas labor and a fast buck.

    Walmart began selling Snapper products again in 2014, and yes, they are still being built in the US. Perhaps Mattel should lean harder on Walmart, not the other way around.

  7. I can live without interiors, look at the Skyline and Mercedes UCC Coffee promotional series (available at Japan Booster of course). Highly detailed castings in mostly black colours but no interiors yet superior to most of Mattel castings.

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