Hot Wheels and Walmart, time to think through how many themed assortment models you do.

I am tired of seeing this:


Pegs filled to the brim of themed cars.  Guardians of the Galaxy is a particularly guilty party, but Camo and Spiderman and Justice League and others aren’t far behind.

It seems that 2017 was the year of themed assortments at Walmarts here in the US.  We are now used to seeing them once a month.  Sometimes the theme is a car brand or model, like BMW or Porsche or Camaro.  Other times it is entertainment themed, like those pictured above.  Doing these assortments is a great idea, whether collector-aimed or not.

But this many?

I am not talking about the number of assortments, or the number of models in each assortment.  I am talking about the production numbers.  There are SOOOOOO many!  And with so many produced, there is little variety, and they just hang around way too long.

I am sure they numbers of the these themed models takes a ton of space from the basic models, and I wish it didn’t.  While things are picking up of late, it still seems we are seeing fewer and fewer mainline models in stores.  I have nothing to base that on, other than my own observations, but the pegs are a little more “themed” than they have been in the past.

Keep the themed assortments coming, just don’t produce as much.  Seeing pegs and bins full of these crumbling crinkled cards is getting a tad old.


23 Replies to “Hot Wheels and Walmart, time to think through how many themed assortment models you do.”

  1. I think everyone has had enough of these. I’m sure the store employees love seeing them as well have having irate collectors screaming at them since there seems to be no other outlet for our frustrations. I posted on Instagram about this a month ago as well and tagged every Hot Wheels page I could think of. but maybe your voice will carry more weight to the argument.

  2. Whole heartily agree. We don’t need 700-count dump bins of themed cars. Mini 200-count or so dump bins/shippers would be more then enough. People that truly like the themed cars will get them and they won’t lay around forever.

  3. You realize El Segundo is partly to blame. Completionists will sort everything that the Orange Track/Blue Card brand will produce. (I admit the Han in Carbonite Car looks cool.)
    My store still has Halo and Star Wars themed cars out the Wazzoo. Peanuts took up residence recently and looks to still be hanging once the 2018 First Quarter Reset will happen.
    That said, are themed cars really all that relevant? I am dissapointed in the
    Scooby Do assortment. Why? I was hoping for a premium unscathed Mystery Machine. But this one has Scooby poking his head through the side of the van. Kinda ruins it for me. However this is their way of getting another version out there.
    Honestly, I would be super happy if the company just focused on what makes cars cool. Original color palattes. True graphics. Focus on real designs. Like they used to once upon a time.
    When they do…like the Merc Evo and the upcoming Subie….the effects are down right awesome.

    But thats just my opinion. One that isnt shared in the industry.

  4. Surprisingly Lamborghinis are peg warmers in my area. They have filled the standard pegs here for weeks. Now the camo trucks have returned to fill the dump bin as well. It makes a trip through the aisle quick and easy.

    1. Oh my god, it’s so frustrating hearing that the Lamborghini set is peg-warming where you are. I’ve never seen A SINGLE ONE where I am! You lucky bastard.

      1. I live in a small city, so the basically the only toy store, but, not the only store that sells Hot Wheels, got just one case of the Lamborghini set. The, what seems, only Countach, was gone by the time I got there. I picked up the Revénton Convertible and the Murciélago, the rest still there. The collectors movement is fair, but slow here in the city, even so, I think that the Lamborghini set is very weak on its colors and decorations. Porsche set was really good, brought back the 959 and had the 917K, Mustang and BMW were good enough, but still had some highlights.

  5. I don’t see how some of these themed, movie/cartoon-character castings can be used again, as they’re too associated with the characters they represent. Stuff like this always seemed to me like a money-losing proposition, or at least a really long time to recoup the tooling investment. Speed Racer, anyone?

  6. I’ve seen the 1st edition Camo cars hit the pegs/dump bins TWICE… TWICE!!! Really Mattel? GotG came out in the summer.. it’s now November & there are STILL some hanging.. waiting for desperate homes. The superhero themed stuff may or may not move depending if it’s Batman, Superman or Spiderman, but the point I agree w/is that there are WAY TOO MANY themed releases over mainline supply.
    I’m so glad you brought this to light John. I hope HW’s is listening, but we are a small force.. maybe we need more responses to act as a petition of sorts. Some dump bins have some of these themed packs so demolished & ragged.. the cards are crumbled & battered from being there so long .. I hate to rummage through some of the bins.. so disgusting (read Walmart).
    While on the subject.. I usually see a local Walmart throw in a box or two of past cases from, for example, ‘D’ or ‘H’ from earlier in the year. Seems like someone lost some stock in the backroom or didn’t order the right shipment.

  7. I couldn’t agree more. These pieces of shit are the only things hanging on the pegs at my local walmart. The dump bins have more mainlines, but they’re still filled with those damn things. They should either make them licensed or cut the production numbers on them, because this is ridiculous. Not even the kids want them!

  8. I think the problem is where these (the character cars at least) are sold. If they’re sold on the toy car aisle, no one will notice.

    Sell them in the character apparel aisle, though, and kids will want to have a toy car to pair with their costumes.

    Oh, and if they do, they should make it as cheap as mainline cars.

  9. For the past year the Pick n save in my area has had a much better selection than the local Walmart, or any other store that sells Hot Wheels near me.

  10. Thanks for the article John. This is EXACTLY whats going on in the U.K. too at various retailers and it surely cant be a coincidence that finding new batches of HW basics has become much more difficult than previous years.

  11. It’s so bad where I live, our pegs are cluttered with Batman themed, we even have some Fast & Furious, specifically, the Escort and the WRX

  12. Dump bins locally are filled with cards that are so trashed that they won’t hang anymore. Also the dump bins are just that – a place to dump HW and Matchbox cars. Found a couple good MBs in there. Apparently the local employees don’t give a crap and once the bribing collectors get theirs, it doesn’t matter what goes where. We’re back to 2017 G case and such. Leftovers. Haven’t bought a car from WM in a while. Did score a MB VW Country at DG I think.

    I do look at the themed cars for things I can repaint. I really don’t care about the theme cars. Once opened and displayed, no one in my household knows anyway. Just another car.

  13. This is surprisingly exactly what is going in in India as well, or at least in my city. Most of the toy shops have large stocks of Camaro, Lambo, GoTG, Justice League and such assortments and they AREN”T SELLING ANY OF THEM. They’re literally peg warmers. And the latest mainlines show up randomly here and there in limited quantity only to vanish again. And when I ask about new cases, the only answer I get is “we won’t restock unless the current stock gets over”. Smh….

  14. The Pop Culture is weird way to bring us nice castings usually with faces or scenes of movies and shows, or brands(which are more collecting friendly), the basic ones, are just a way to milk the licensing.

  15. 100% agree with you. Our local Walmarts in Lynchburg, VA have LOADS of themed vehicles, way too many Spiderman related ones so they not only fill the bins but also the pegs with regular models going back way too many cases ago. I liked the HW camo set that came out, but having 100s of them is likely too many. At the same time, however, we can’t get the one TRU locally to update Matchbox but maybe once every six months. Odd. Good observation

  16. My Walmart has a lot of themed assortments, too. But what they have the *most* of is F$&@!%# Car Culture Aircooled SP2s.

  17. LAst night was a bust! WM had about 15 cars in the dump bin and enough cars on pegs to fill dump bin. So packed, you could NOT see what was there without moving 5 – 6 cars per peg. The local employees just don;t care or know. Not their fault other than having no clue how to display merchandise, which should be part of their job. I guess their job is just get it on the shelf. No thought to the consumer. Pretty much all of WMs existence.

  18. I’m glad you wrote about this. I pretty much crossed Walmart off my list of stores I even visit. 1,000 cars in stock with barely any mainlines. I try to find models early at Publix or ToysRUs. If not, I’ll try my luck with the low quantities at Target. But Walmart is a joke.

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