THE Cub Report, Version- What Is This Hobby Coming To?
Hummmmm… the rc world is so boring, I wonder what we should talk about this week…
Oh ya, I guess I can talk about the one and only thing the rc community is melting down over right now, BigSquidRC’s March Bashness! Ok, so ya, March Bashness kicks ass and you really should be voting until your fingers bleed, but I guess there is this other little thing people are talking about, Traxxas Buying HPI.
So no… it’s not “official”, but then the rc world is notoriously quiet about actual business matters, and Traxxas is without question the best at keeping things hush-hush when they want to. But, and there is always a but, the rumors kept getting louder early last week, and by week’s end, there was no way they could be kept quiet anymore.
I have no “scoop” here, if you are looking for all the details you won’t find them here, but I have talked to a friend at HPI. Sadly he seems to be as much in the dark as all the internet smack talkers are. You know who the smack talkers are (usually that is me… LOL), the ones that are predicting doom & gloom, the ones that say that HPI is now officially dead and they will never release another new product or any spare parts for that half dozen HPI trucks you have sitting in your garage. I really have no idea what will end up happening with HPI, like any other industry they could be wiped off the face of the Earth, or they could come back stronger than ever, all that can be done right now is wild speculation, which is my specialty.
In my “bigger picture” view of things, I hate to see any company in our biz suffering. I love this hobby wayyyy too much to see it in a state of decline. I was in the mobile electronics business during the 90’s, where I watched powerhouse companies like Orion, Crotchford Rotgate, and Precision Power go from innovative, American made heroes, to worthless shells of their former selves in a matter of months. I remember the pure terror that car audio shops went through as they watched their industry dissolve from one where people were putting plenty of food on their table and constantly expanding, to a point where they literally couldn’t give way the latest Alpine CD players.
Of course rc has been a much longer lived industry, one that wasn’t as much of a “fad”, nor one that was easily crushed by OEM car manufacturers, so it is inherently much more stable. However, ever since the economic crash of 2007, rc, along with hundreds/thousands of other industries, has been on the downswing. And while the numbers say that 2016 is better than 2015, nearly a decade of slow sales was enough to even bring the once mighty HPI to its knees.
For all the doomsday people who think HPI is dead in the water, I think they should look at other companies like Associated, Losi, Axial, and even Horizon. AE is still alive and kicking, Losi greatly benefited from being bought by Horizon, and even Horizon seems unfazed after changing hands last year. Will you still be able to buy a set of Savage a-arms a year from now? Only time will tell, but I’m guessing that it won’t be a problem. In fact, my guess is HPI parts will be much easier to get next year than this.
While the workforce at HPI America has dwindled significantly in the last two years, the people they still have there are outstanding at what they do, as are a bunch of people over at HPI Europe. I for one hope the best is to come for them, whether it be with a modified version of HPI or elsewhere…
So there ya have it ya bunch of rc lunatics, get out and support your local hobby shops and bash spots when ya can.
YOUR Cub Reporter