Earlier this year rumors were spreading that Tomica would be entering the European and North American markets once again. Soon after the rumors were confirmed, and by summer, Tomica products were popping up in Europe. Word through the grapevine was that Tomica would go on sale in the United States by the end of September.
As September started I was getting ready for the Japanese Classic Car Show which I volunteer at every year. About one week before the show I learned that Tomica USA would make their debut at the car show - fantastic news. Unfortunately the day before the show it was announced that TOMICA USA wouldn't have their display on time (it was stuck in another part of the country). On Sunday September 12th the car show took place, and while TOMICA USA did not have a display booth, they did provide the organizers with product to display and to be given away during the raffle drawings that took place throughout the day. By the end of the day there were a lot of happy adults and kids walking away with Tomica products.
It was my friend Jeff Koch that helped to arrange to have TOMICA USA at the Japanese Classic Car Show (Jeff is a writer for Hemmings, home to a number of automotive publications. He is also an avid diecast collector, and at one time worked at Johnny Lightning). I contacted Jeff to see if he could help me get in touch with TOMICA USA. Since I am active on the Tomca Fan Club forum and a few other diecast forums, I had an idea that it would be nice to do an interview with TOMICA USA and perhaps get a few questions answered. So, about 2 weeks ago I got in touch with the folks at TOMICA USA and while they were very busy getting ready for the official launch of their product line, they agreed to do an interview. I sent them a list of questions and patiently awaited their reply. Yesterday I received an email from TOMICA USA with answers to some of the questions and I'd like to share the answers here. I know this isn't strictly Toyotamobilia news, but since I am a big fan of Tomica and since Tomica does make Toyota models, I felt it was worth sharing with everyone!
I present to you my...
TOMICA USA Interview Part 1
• Toyotageek: After a 20 year absence, what brings TOMICA back to North America?
TOMICA USA: Tomy is looking to be a global market and enter many countries. Tomica turned 40 this year and we believe this is one of Tomy’s strongest brands to penetrate the market first. In the United States, we will be combining Japan’s Tomica diecast line with Pla-Rail’s train system, under the Tomica brand. Tomica’s road and rail system is a unique product that will allow limitless building potential and appeal to boys of all ages. In the past, Tomica was launched with only diecast cars. We strongly believe the combination of roads and rails under the Tomica brand will appeal to kids and add much more excitement. Tomica is the 1st brand in the process of introducing many more brands from Japan.
• TG: Is a product list available for the first 27 SKUs (and is MSRP available)?
TOMICA USA: We have 100 Tomica display tables going into 100 TRU stores around the nation. Each display table will have a brochure that contains all 27 items. Our website, www.Tomica-USA.com is also scheduled to launch in October.
• TG: When will the TOMICA-USA website open up?
TOMICA USA: www.Tomica-USA.com website is scheduled to launch in October. We have a great site that will cater to the collectors as well. There’s a sign up section where you will gain access to “My Garage.” My Garage allows you to keep track of all the cars, trains, and Tomikids you have collected.
• TG: On your Facebook page, there was news about a TV shoot. I assume this is for commercials? When can we expect to see them and will they be on You Tube?
TOMICA USA: The TV will begin airing October 11 nationwide.
• TG: It has been rumored that Toys R US will be the sole retailer - is this true?
TOMICA USA: Yes, Toys R Us has the exclusive rights to Tomica this year.
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TOMICA USA also has a Facebook page - please check them out for more up-to-the-minute news.
Below are photos of actual product that was at the Japanese Classic Car Show.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of my interview!
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