THE Cub Report, 09.17.2012, Version: Revenge Of The Keyboard Pundit
I figured I’d go a little old school this week for you long time readers, here we go…
What’s going on over at HPI? Remember all the uber-buzz about their new gasoline powered 8th scalers that were going to totally change the face of rc? Remember how they were only be a couple months away? They were first announced in early February and we STILL haven’t seen hide nor hair of them. The last we heard about them was a couple months ago at the HobbyTown USA convention- we were told they were “getting close” and “ironing out the last of the bugs” way back then. The latest rumor I hear is they are still months away, perhaps even doubtful to make any 2012 release time-line at all.
After we first heard about the HPI “eXtreme gasoline engines” I consulted two different old school hardcore nitro/gas engine guru’s and asked them if what HPI was trying to do was feasible. Both of my fuel guru’s basically gave me the same reply, “Using a small gas powered engine in that application is a whole lot harder than you think it would be.”, hence the reason we’ve yet to see them sitting in local hobby shops. For HPI to have promised so much about these new engines yet to not be able to follow it up with any foreseeable release hurts all around.
So what about that Ken Block 8th scale electric rally car from HPI that was announced a few months ago? It has also gone woefully past its projected release date and the rumor I’ve heard is that it is still 2 months away from hitting its first hobby shop shelf. And to make matters worse, that car is made up primarily of parts they already have in production for other vehicles. The gasoline engine debacle was bad enough, but now they have to add their second most anticipated release of 2012 to the MIA list? I can only hope there is some serious butt chewing going on across some big glossy tables at the HPI compound about those two huge blunders.
And… should I even get into HPI now being the distributor for HoBao products? I am a firm believer in doing what you do best, HPI is a great manufacture, they are not a distributor. Sigh…
On a slightly different note…
Have you noticed that Associated is really pushing their “Team Associated is your premier name in the r/c car industry” catchphrase lately? I’ve got some news for those guys, this isn’t 1996 any more. Unfortunately Associated has not created any new vehicle categories in a very long time, and the new vehicle categories created by other manufactures Associated has been ridiculously slow to react to. Can it be said that Associated has not pushed the envelope with anything truly innovative for well over a decade? For Associated to truly become the “premier” name in rc again is going to take one thing- leading instead of following. And how could they do that? A high end, new from the ground up uber bash platform could be one way. For whatever reason AE has decided to totally alienate the typical user and that simply can not be good for the bottom line. Also, skipping the B5/T5 (which are a half decade past due anyways) and going straight to an uber scale buggy that blows everything off the map could be another. With a proper marketing program all those “hardcore” AE racer types that would be having epic meltdowns due to the loss of the old school ufo buggy class could be turned right around to all the upsides of a new platformed uber scale buggy. AE was the king for a very long time and could easily be again, but its going to take some bold moves on their part to get back to the top. Otherwise, they better get used to sucking on Traxxas’s tailpipe (and HPI’s, and Losi’s).
And lastly, how about Kyosho America? They are certainly making a big push right now and big props to them for that, but they are fighting an uphill battle. Until they hook back up with one of the big two distributors I’m afraid it doesn’t matter how good or enticing their new products are they will always be condemned to 10th place in the sales wars. Their product line-up is arguably stronger now than it has ever been, quality is perhaps at an all time high, and with proper distribution they could once again be a driving force at the top of the sales charts.
That’s it for this week folks, support your local hobby shops, tracks and bash spots!
YOUR Cub Reporter