Lamley Poll: Would you pay more for Hot Wheels Car Culture if it meant more front & rear decos and other premium treatments?

Just last week I mentioned that I thought Hot Wheels Car Culture was well on its way to being one of the best – if not THE best – lines Hot Wheels has ever done.

Hot Wheels has figured out a perfect collector-aimed line.  5 assortments a year, with 5 models each, with each assortment highlighting a different element of automotive cultures.  The number of directions each assortment can take is endless, and there will always be a something for everyone.  And it appears I am not alone in thinking this is one of the best things Hot Wheels has done.  Car Culture has sold much better than previous lines, and it has generated a ton of excitement among collectors.

But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its flaws.  The most common complaint I have heard from collectors – and one I completely agree with – is the lack of front and rear tampos on many of the models.  While the models do get the premium treatment in many ways – diecast chassis, Real Riders – the decos still follow what is done for basic.  Two, maybe three, tampo passes.  That generally means if there is side deco, there won’t be front and rear deco, and vice versa.  And that is most certainly a bummer.

This Mazda RX-3 from Japan Historics is a great example:

This was a tremendous debut for the RX-3.  It marked the debut of the fantastic new 4-spoke Real Riders, and it looked great in its Advan racing livery over purple.  But one of the signatures of the RX-3 is the front grill and elongated tail lights.  Because the RX-3 had the side tampo prints, the cool front and rear did not:

The model still looked nice, but HOW much nicer would it have been with the front and rear detailing?

So why, on a premium model, did this model not get that detailing?  Cost.  Mattel priced the models in a way they thought would sell ($3.99) in the US, and to do that they couldn’t apply premium deco methods like 4-sided prints or deco wraps.  So we see many “incomplete” Car Culture models, like the RX-3 and Fiat 500:

So now compare the Hot Wheels Entertainment Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint:

This was easily one of the most exciting debuts last year, and it benefitted from being part of the Forza assortment in HW Entertainment, a full premium series.  Two-tone paint, and deco on ALL sides, including the fantastic stripe down the front grill.  And it makes me somewhat sad that the upcoming Car Culture release of the Alfa will most likely not have the front and rear detailing.

But this one looks amazing.  And the Alfa sold well, even at its much higher price point of $5.50.  That price allows for all the premium elements, including full tampo prints AND a bigger blister card, which allows for larger models to be used when needed.  This Ford GT from Entertainment Gran Turismo is another example:

So that got me to thinking: WHAT IF Hot Wheels raised the price of Car Culture to allow for a more complete premium treatment like Hot Wheels Entertainment and Pop Culture?

Knowing Mattel does see this goofy blog occasionally, I thought I would ask, and see what you think.  My guess is raising the price to something like $5.50 would mean complete decos and larger cards, bringing more model variety.

But that also means a full two dollars more, and maybe most of you are fine without the complete deco, as long as it means you buy more with the cheaper price.

I go back and forth, but I want to see what you think.  So, a poll:

Would you pay more for HW Car Culture if it meant more deco and model variety?

Be sure to vote here, and leave your comments below.  I think it is a valid question, and one that might spark discussion at Mattel.  I want Car Culture to stick around for awhile.

65 Replies to “Lamley Poll: Would you pay more for Hot Wheels Car Culture if it meant more front & rear decos and other premium treatments?”

  1. Front and rear deco makes an ordinary model great, and would be a great model excellent. I would love to see front and rears on car culture but when you hit the $6 range you are now competing with the likes of Auto World, which to me for the price you can't beat them. You get full opening hoods, rubber tires, full metal body and chassis, headlights, taillights, and matching display box. Just something to think about.

  2. I'm going to tell you why I voted no. It's packaging, the Forza also got the premium packaging. I rarely pay for those, I passed on the Alfa and hated doing it. They give a bunch of bs about cost. Stop giving so much cardboard and plastic. Their never going to say it cost more for packaging never. Believe what you want but you paying for packaging. Case in point is the Wal-Mart line. Basics in fancy package. Mattel is greedy!💩s

  3. Adult aimed issues have always been higher than regular issues. If you are asking whether I would buy an issue aimed at me as a collector? It really depends on a lot of things IE: Is it something I collect? Do I already have 5 other castings of the same car that I can easily put my own rubber on etc etc etc….Variety is the key. The competition as regained the market with Chase cars in low production numbers in my opinion…Also there has been a drastic change in the Availability of late for any kind of Hot Wheels issues in many locations for whatever that reason is???

  4. For me personally, it is a matter of how much more we are talking for how much extra deco. Plus they would have to NOT be that inkjet looking process. If it was to a point raising it to make Walmart sell them for $4 instead of $3.50, I could get behind that. An extra $5 per case, I could get behind it. But part of the reason Entertainment are as high as they are I believe is not just the extra deco but also the licensing for whatever property is being represented.

    So, I can't vote a simple yes or no, haha

  5. While I would pay more for certain cars. I probably would be less of a completionist. I have bought every car culture release, but there are some, (Chevy Silverado, VW Golf, etc…) that I would have left on the pegs otherwise.

  6. NO. It is real simple. The numbers do not work for an additional $1.50 to add another tampo pass or 2. If this was the case, we would never have any tampos on baseline models, etc because the cost would exceed the value of the car. For $4 it can be done.

  7. In my opinion the biggest let down with hot wheels models is the exclusion of headlight and taillight tampos.. Whether it be basic mainlines or premium models. This gives the casting a sense of realism so i'd happily pay a little extra $$$ for those extras details.

  8. That's one of the best parts of this line, it's cheaper than entertainment which definitely seems a bit overpriced. Some models hang there for a year or longer because of it. I think raising the price is the fastest route to killing the line.

  9. While I personally would happily pay more for higher quality (even $10+, which is what an RLC or some cars on eBay cost), other collectors and the general public might be more price sensitive. My concern is that if the cars are more expensive, we might buy them, but overall sales could go down. This would hurt Hot Wheels' ability to bring more of these fantastic models to market.

  10. IT IS a difficult question. i honestly can't choose between yes or no. sure, a full detailed car is great! but the price. It's already even hard getting my hands on $4 premiums, which are priced DOUBLE in my place (all hw are twice or more d cost here), how much more raising the price. not pointing fingers to anyone but its just the bitter fact in here. and were even near malaysia, BTW!! so it's just difficult question.

  11. Despite the success of the car culture series, I feel that the latest set, Air Cooled, doesn't seem to be selling all that well. My Target has been full of these cars for a while (over a month or more) They have the standard two pegs reserved still stocked full with the exception of one Redliner Mercury Cougar. Then further down on the end of the adjacent aisle, there's two more pegs full of them. They're just not selling. You could probably run your finger across the bubbles and have a decent piece of dust left because of how long they've been sitting there untouched. Hopefully this isn't the case for future sets. But from what I've seen lately, I don't think so. I just hope this doesn't mean my Target will delay ordering them until these pegwarmers start selling anytime soon. We'll see.

  12. They could cut cost by ending or reducing the amount os themes on lines like the Pop Culture and the ones like the Super Mario Bros and The Beatles, which are full of generic models with hideous tampos.

    So, no, because i believe they spend too much money on series that doesn't appeal that much to the collector.

  13. Car culture needs to be a main stay because most of the models are extremely well done. The Japan Historic series was amazing. Track Day, another home run. Even the not as well received Euro Style had some very good cars in it. Car Culture HAS TO NOT ONLY CONTINUE BUT EXPAND! Do not let “stuff” get in the way of the enthusiasts. Real collectors will pay for well done models. Look at your convention models. Good ones go for ridiculous money on eBay.

  14. Car Culture and Entertainment cost the same in Canada. So, yes I would support an American price increase to see full detailing on future Car Culture releases.

  15. This is a hard one. On the one hand I'd say yes: would love to see front and rear deco, more variety. On the other hand no: I would not want a bigger card, love that these are on reg size card and great artwork. I think one of things that is making this line successful is the balance of price and all metal car, with real riders, and good variety in castings not to mention new tools. So I voted no. I didn't see a need to tweak the formula yet.

  16. I get what you're saying in the article but I've signed up to buy every case of CC for this year from one of the online vendors, but I didn't sign up for every case of the Entertainment series for the year because of the extra cost. Those I will pick up as I can appreciate them individually but I fully support the CC line in its current form and want it to continue absolutely. I just couldn't do it at the level I'm enjoying it at now if it meant paying the higher price. I have two of every car guaranteed right now and that's amazing. I can do the fine detail work myself and I know that's not how everyone enjoys this but that's kind of what the Entertainment series is for isn't it? Those are also great but better appreciated on a one at a time level.

  17. Biggest issue I have with ALL the HW premium lines is that the tampos and graphics are sloppy, crooked, or off-target half the time.

    It took sorting through quite a few of the Alfa Romeo's, for example, to find one where the headlights AND the racing stripes AND the logos were all lined up properly. And that model is from their highest priced retail line, priced even higher than Car Culture!

    Quality control needs to be at the level of Auto World before I would consider paying more money for ANY of the HW premium lines.

    Heck…fewer tampo passes on the current Car Culture models means fewer things to be messed up and sloppy!

    Also–if I had the choice–I'd prefer the goofy graphic designs to be deleted in favor of tampoed headlights, tail lights, grilles, and badges. So many of the graphic designs seem to be aimed at kids. Car Culture is an “adult” line, so why not make 'em look like real cars?

    Some of the best looking stuff Mattel makes are the simple, basic Matchbox dollar cars.

    There's a lesson there…



  18. It's definitely a tough question…I fall firmly into the “price sensitive” category of collectors. I don't have much disposable income (yes, even when we're just talking “toys”) so raising the price would be a bummer, but I have to say that I'd probably still be ok with it if it meant getting detailed front & rear tampos. I love the modified Fiat 500, but it'd be KILLER with headlights & taillights & a Fiat badge on each end.

    It's definitely model-sensitive though…the Fiat is a lot more agreeable without front & rear tampo than the new GTI…that VW is GLARINGLY devoid of any kind of pizzazz without tampos. Isn't there a happy medium? Couldn't they have slapped front & rear tampos on the GTI and went without the stripes? I think they should pick & choose a little better while still holding to their cost targets.

  19. I voted “yes” but there is no denying that we are already paying too much for what we are getting, and there is no excuse here. As somebody pointed out, if you increase the price you get into Greenlight/M2/Autoworld territory for, in the end, a lesser quality product, with worse packaging.
    Hot Wheels produce huge numbers when compared to these brands, and have better distribution, and yet they charge more for a lesser product. How does that make sense?
    Have you seen the quality of the the front and back detailing for the Retro line? It is atrocious. Bad, bad, bad. Even Maisto does a better job on their budget lines.

  20. Increasing its base price just for small detail will give mattel market scope outside usa where
    the price of their products are on average twice as in america retaik price

  21. I live in Europe and wouldn't pay more, because Hot Wheels products are already quite expensive. For example, Fast and Furious line prices are almost equal to Majorette premium range. And Majorette has full deco,so for me Hot Wheels price increase would be unjustified.

  22. Definitely. Also, I'd happily pay more for Car Culture if Mattel could sublicense a couple of Ferraris from May Cheong.

    On a tangent, I'd pay more for mainlines if Mattel could bring them back up to even just circa-2000 quality, back when not nearly every car had a diecast chassis and/or opening features but enough did that it was a lot more fun to collect and they did more passes with the tampos on models from that era too (see the debut of the Escort Rally car from ~1998 which had tampos on the damn foglights even).

  23. USA collectors should start to think in the Rest Of World collectors.
    For example, in Europe a Mainline car cost around 2-3€, so Why have I to suffer the cost reduction? The same goes to other lines like Retro Entertainment or Car Culture that cost the same here (between 6'50-9 €).
    So USA guys, don't start crying because the price increase a couple of dollars, we pay more for the same.

  24. My local Toys'r'Us (Australia) prices are: Basic mainline – $2.30, Themed line ie Fast Furious, Super Mario – $4, Car Culture – $7, Entertainment – $8, Pop Culture – $8. So for me i'd say give it the details you'd see in the Entertainment line, price it the same and i'd still buy them. I mean I buy Entertainment cars if they appeal to me.

  25. Same at a few of my local Targets. The Air Cooled are sitting no movement but how about this only three MBX sitting. Now the last case that they had was a majority licsened a couple 4x4s and a couple construction. The 4x4s were not the crappy stuff so I'm guessing that's why they cleared. MBX really changed things up by listening I believe. I don't know who said it above but I've been screaming for veriety. Imo collectors don't want a bunch of the same models in different colors. As far as tempos look I'm not buying a price hike on that. Compromise on the side tempo and work in front and back. Again the entertainment line is overkill imo. The packaging is bulky and unless you open them or by multiples their hard to store or pack away. Great models no doubt but they sit. There are Star Trek still sitting that should say something right there. The Beatles line sitting except for a few. Seems they get into these lines and are banking on them to be big sellers. Why not listen to your main consumer and give their ideas a shot. Seems MBX did just that and it's going well. I'm a little concerned about distribution but I'm going to stay patient.

  26. Any true collectors will be satisfied and excited if more details and deco were added on..the problem is, in one special country, there is a bunch of clowns whom smuggles it out & will price it out exceptionally higher making collectors as their stepping stone coz their fore fathers and fore mothers had their share in paying for the raw materials used to design the casting… (sighzzz)…

  27. Here in Brazil a better suited question would be “would you pay EVEN more for HW Car Culture?”…
    The Entertainment price nowadays is BRL 35-40 (or around 12 USD in direct conversion).
    Air-Cooled, only the second batch of Car Culture which officialy arrived here (none of the 2016 ones did) is sold at 32,99 BRL (11 USD).
    Yes, there are import taxes and shipping costs to be paid, but I think Mattel is still earning some extra money here…

  28. The sloppy tampo issue is exactly what I was going to post. It really sucks having to spend all that time and effort sifting through peg after peg to find a decent tampo. It's bad but somewhat understandable for the basics to have messy tampos (and worse at the same time since there are so many more to sift through) but for the premium ones that are produced in less quantity to suffer the same problem is unacceptable.

  29. Car Culture has moved to the Thailand plant and therefore issues will be minimal.
    Even as a Malaysia made series, the only Car Culture mix that I really had quality issues with was the Redliners.

  30. I voted Yes before reading the comments here. And after reading them I have doubts if my answer still a Yes. I do conclude that the problem is not the current price nor the models, nor the series. It is actually the Mattel/HW personnel choosing the tamps and the designs. Either they don't do market research to see what the collectors expect or like or even when they do have that data they decide to ignore it. Sales could be way higher than current if tampos selections were better… and more sales = better models at lower prices…

  31. I don't think front and rear tampo's would change which models from the line I buy. It usually a casting based decision. Although I would pay more for full tampo's. I was moving my collection last night and really noticed the difference from the likes of the car culture line where the missing tampo's stand out to the drag strip demons and racing lines from a few years back which look complete.

  32. No. As I dive deeper into the diecast hobby, I find myself caring more and more for true scale. Even if Mattel were to up its front/rear decos and other premium bits game, the loose 1/64 scaling will keep me from purchasing more Hot Wheels. In no universe should a Fiat be almost as long as a Datsun 240Z, for example.

  33. That would be great to have front and rear tampo's on the Car Culture series! I would expect to pay a little more…i know it's not so much the cost of additional tampo's, but the process of the application.
    What I would like to see is more detailed vehicles with doors & hoods that open, engines, tampo' s on tires, etc. They should have more cars like that and available in stores, not just through RLC.

  34. Hey Corey, i'm talking about the Beatles' series with the generic models, plastic wheels, etc…

    The one with album covers are fantastic!

  35. I agree CJ, I live in a small town and at this moment can go to 3 different stores and purchase all 5 cars from the Air Cooled series. Don't get me wrong, I am glad everyone has the opportunity to purchase them right now, but what bothers me is in the beginning the Japan Historics NEVER made it to any stores around me. It wasn't due to others buying them up, but they just didn't make it to the stores. I know most of the major collectors in my area, and employees at stores that never seen them in our stores. I was excited to have the opportunity to get a set of Japan Historics through a buddy on Instagram who hooked me up with a fair trade, which I appreciate! We were both happy and I didn't have to give an arm and let for.

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