As a result of the still recent (March 2013) acquisition of Marklin by the Simba Dickie Group, based in Fürth-Stadeln, Germany, many Marklin Z enthusiasts here in the US have been wondering what this means for the future of Marklin in Z scale.
Immediately following the Simba Dickie sale, we contacted Juergen Faulhaber, Marklin Mini-Club Product Manager, for his thoughts on what this might mean going forward. You can read that article here.
A couple months on and we wanted to ask some follow-up questions of Juergen regarding Z scale here in the US and he has agreed to share what he can with Ztrains readers.
As many of our readers know, the Simba Dickie Group, based in Fürth-Stadeln, Germany, has recently acquired Marklin. We know Marklin has been in and out of financial trouble for the past 10 years or so, how does this Simba Dickie acquisition change the course of Marklin’s future?
From our point of view, this is the perfect buyer of the Märklin Group and for any possible changes of the Marklin course, it´s too early to talk about.
Z scale is a likely a small segment of the overall Marklin world, but with the growing popularity of Z scale manufacturers such as American Z Line and Micro-Trains Line here in the US and more recently Rokuhan of Japan with their track system, are there definite plans to increase Marklin’s Z scale visibility here in North America? If so, what are they?
For sure there was a time after Marklin´s insolvency we have to concentrate on our main market which is in addition, not that competitive than the US market. But we clearly see the fast growing US market and we have in mind to “Come back” to this marketplace. But this can only happen step-by-step!
There have been major technological advances in Z scale recently, coreless motors and reliable slow speed running leading the way, but this has not yet translated to Marklin’s Z scale offerings. Do you see a movement in this technical direction for Marklin’s Z scale locomotives?
At the present we are testing new motors in order to be used for Z scale.
In the past, there has been a gap between Marklin in Germany and the end users here in the US resulting in problems with replacement parts, new model scheduled releases and general Z scale information. Michael Sieber of Simba Dickie has said he wants increase the export share of the Marklin group significantly. Does this mean we’ll see an increased Marklin presence here in the US?
We are well aware of the need to expand our presence in the US in general and especially the Z scale market. As we all know, product is king, we are presently carefully measuring our options for new models of the existing tool fund and a new starter set.
Beyond that we are doing some research for a new tooling of an American prototype.
With so many of today’s shoppers and future model rail enthusiasts doing their “window shopping” online, a modest step might be to modernize the US Marklin website. Compared to Marklin’s European websites, clearly, the US website is making no real visual effort to excite and inspire the next generation of model railroaders. Do you see this changing in the near future?
We are fully aware of this. At the present we are checking how to improve and how to get more and by far a better online presence in the US.
For the past several years, not months, but years, we have not seen any progress or attention paid to US Z scalers aside from an occasional re-release. I believe there is enough interest in Marklin to reverse this current perception and again make Marklin relevant in US Z scale model railroading. What would you tell our readers about the future timetable for Marklin Z scale in the US?
It´s quite difficult to give a timetable to your readers. To be honest, firstly we have to finish our improvements for our main market which is Germany and Europe! I am talking about improvements on the products like we have done the Z scale BR 01 with fine detailed, fully working linkage and brake detail etc. Further new motor generation, digital system for Z scale and more major points.
After this major points are done I see the massive need to go back to the competitive US market!.
Category: Raildig Guest