In a recent report by Bloomberg News (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-03-06/where-have-china-s-workers-gone-.html), we may have reached the point where China is no longer the growth engine of the world. As strange as it may sound, there appears to be a severe shortage of skilled labor in China that has had an adverse effect on the diecast model making business, in particular. Add to that the rising cost of labor each and every year and what results is a brew that could spell serious problems for the collecting community and the vendors that serve them.
Take the Signature line of 1:18 scale G4 limousines as an example, a range of high end historic memorabilia that many people have been waiting patiently to acquire. Last year, we learned that the manufacturer planned on offering the model in matte grey, to go along with their previously released off white and all black versions. Grey, of course, is viewed as the most coveted color of the three since it is most closely associated with The Third Reich’s “grey column” of parade limousines that routinely toured Germany’s cities in the run up to World War II. Last year, we were informed that the item would be ready by December, and would carry a suggested retail price of $89.99. As the holidays neared, we were informed they would be delayed until May 2013, and would weigh in at around $109.99. Now, we’ve been told that the vehicles are being delayed again until September, and will likely sell for around $129.99.
This same scenario seems be occurring with alarming frequency throughout the modelmaking world, as more and more manufacturers are reporting delays, rising costs and continual reasons why they are unable to bring product to market in a timely and cost effective manner. While this doesn’t necessarily spell the end of the collecting hobby as we know it, it does raise several red flags, particularly when the economy is supposedly on the rebound and talk of the Internet Sales Tax continues to gain momentum in Congress.