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Old 11-02-2006, 07:40 PM
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Hey Paul! Stay safe, man!!! Give me a shout and let me know how things are going.

And now back to the show........

Something I've noticed that has hurt Tamiya support around my LHS is that it is getting harder and harder to find Tamiya parts from the BIG distributors. My LHS does quite a bit of business with the BIG two, and therefore is less willing to buy out the backdoor of Tamiya USA (Aliso Hobby Distributors) to support only the Tamiya locals. That, in turn, forces us to look online for parts support. And when you go online, you'll naturally be drawn to the lowest price and not care as much if it's coming from overseas.

Another problem comes from the dealer cost on most of the high-end kits out there from these distributors. Case in point, I paid about $50 less for my MSX from an online dealer (not overseas) than DEALER COST from Great Planes. My LHS didn't stand a chance. Back in the day my LHS had an equal number of Tamiya kits on the shelves as any other brand, with the best spare parts selection around. But now it's more of a custom-order situation with less than competitive prices. The shelves are stocked full of whatever brands the distributors are pushing and offering the best volume deals on.

In fact, I would be willing to bet if there were no TCS races in the south and/or our local Tamiya support dried up, they wouldn't stock any Tamiya kits, tires, etc. They sell because people want to have a TCS-legal kit for that one TCS race a year within driving distance. If we lose Memphis down here, you can probably put a fork in it.
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Old 11-02-2006, 07:53 PM
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Old 11-02-2006, 07:53 PM
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That seems to be the most common complaint from the LHS about Tamiya parts and kits. Unfortunately but understandable, distributors naturally only purchase what sells and phase out other kits/parts over time. They determine this by interest garnered from the LHS calling in to pre-order certain items. I can get into more detail, but i'm getting off topic here.

TCS class popularity changes year to year, with certain trends lasting 2-3 years at a time. Interestingly enough, class popularity varies from race to race within the same year. Mini class was most popular across the board for 2006 (probably because of lower costs). The average TCS race has 80-110 racers (not entries). The idea is to geographically locate to optimal shops within key areas so that a Tamiya employee can be present at every race.

If anyone has a LHS in the South East or other prime region, just email customer service and then Tamiya can follow up on it. Shoot me a PM if no one answers your inquiry. Although I can't promise anything, I can assure that it won't go unnoticed.
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Old 11-02-2006, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by larrio
That seems to be the most common complaint from the LHS about Tamiya parts and kits. Unfortunately but understandable, distributors naturally only purchase what sells and phase out other kits/parts over time. They determine this by interest garnered from the LHS calling in to pre-order certain items. I can get into more detail, but i'm getting off topic here.

TCS class popularity changes year to year, with certain trends lasting 2-3 years at a time. Interestingly enough, class popularity varies from race to race within the same year. Mini class was most popular across the board for 2006 (probably because of lower costs). The average TCS race has 80-110 racers (not entries). The idea is to geographically locate to optimal shops within key areas so that a Tamiya employee can be present at every race.

If anyone has a LHS in the South East or other prime region, just email customer service and then Tamiya can follow up on it. Shoot me a PM if no one answers your inquiry. Although I can't promise anything, I can assure that it won't go unnoticed.
Larry the biggest issue is that the two major distributors that Tamiya RC items can be purchased, don't like to / won't do a special order. Making it even harder to get parts. With the introduction of Tamiya's distribution, once the shop gets set up it is great, if the shop can get items in a timely matter. IE: their order is along side the large orders if the distributors. Not waiting till the distributor order to get pulled.
How can you expect the mom and pop shop to wait for 2 weeks for an order for a customer that wants to race a car. They can stock many items 6 deep to keep up with Tamiya and 2 week shipments. And at the same time it is hard for a racer to wait for a couple weeks for a part that is broke. They then look at switching to a car that is easier to get parts for.
Take that in mind with the TRF501X, And pass that along.
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Old 11-02-2006, 08:58 PM
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Larry,
I will go out on a limb and assume that you are connected to Tamiya in some way, given the defensiveness and your location . We all love the hobby, and for the most part Tamiya, thats why we are on here ranting. Back at the beginning of the year I decided to build a TA05 from my TA04. I planned to run it in GT3 at Trackside, with a couple of shakedown sessions beforehand. I purchased soome parts from ebay because of budget, and the stock parts I ordered through my LHS. The ebay stuff arrived from overseas very quickly, and some of the stock stuff arrived shortly after, but a couple of parts took weeks to arrive and one never showed at all. Fortunately a very generous racer at Cinncinati had a spare that they gave me to allow me to make Trackside, however I had no practice with the car until I got to Milwaukee. I understand that there were some staffing issues in the wherehouse at TA, but all I know is I was left high and dry. Obviously I got over it and are still a Tamiya customer, but it outlines the frustrations that alot of us go through to race these cars. Our local shop somewhat gave up on keeping alot of Tamiya products in stock because they went in so many directions: TA,TB,414 etc, that he didnt know what to stock. He will do special orders for us , but as described above, it takes a hell of a long time. I order 2 and 3 of everything at a time to make sure I am covered, but it gets expensive, and I sometimes get stuck with stuff that I dont need.
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Old 11-03-2006, 12:56 AM
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I race with minimadman and want to back up what he posted. Here at our local club, there appears to be two types of racers. One segment races the extreme high end cars and travels to large races across the country. The others race Tamiya cars and prep for the TCS races. This last year, we had a SPEC class in addition to the mini class. The SPEC class was really popular with new and existing racers. Tamiya has been very important to our club and another nearby club. We do not have an indoor track, so our season is limited to the summer months. This last year several people sold out and some sold high end cars and started racing Tamiya cars.

If you go to our LHS, in touring cars, Tamiya is is a significant part. Tamiya USA support is essential to the local racers. The guys that race Tamiya cars are good helpful people. The popularity owes a great deal to the TCS series. We did have two TCS races within 3-4 hours. That has been cut in half. So, we hope for more TCS races.

Last edited by volracer; 11-03-2006 at 10:38 AM.
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Old 11-03-2006, 04:35 AM
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Do you guys in the US only have 1 Tamiya race series?! The TCS? Here in Japan they have the national series. You can go to any event but there are only 2 events in the year that you can go to to try and qualify for the world championship - your local national events.

What Tamiya also have here is the Tamiya Challenge. These are just events run by the local track/hobby shop owners. My Local RC store has one Tamiya race a month. So we get a bunch of local series, and a national one.
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Old 11-03-2006, 08:17 AM
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We do not have a Tamiya Challenge in the US. It is my understanding there are several regional TCS races in chich if you finish well you are qualified to enter the National Championship.
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Old 11-03-2006, 08:28 AM
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BP Shadow: yes, I'm the marketing coordinator here at Tamiya. One of two people in our large department (the other one is Fred)

Although I should note that my comments on this forum are personal in nature and don't represent anything on behalf of the company. I've worked in sales and customer service at Tamiya and i've seen all aspects, complaints, problems, etc that customers/dealers have with our parts. It's a on-going process and I share everyone's frustrations. The issue is complicated and we could talk about this all year long. Let's just focus on the TCS issue on hand since this is what the thread is about.

I think bottom line is that racers want more TCS series and more spread out to lower travel costs and add convenience. If you know of a place, have them call Tamiya or forward Tamiya the information to call them.

bozla: the population density per square area in Japan is a lot larger than the U.S. It would be hard to source another series over the entire U.S. in addition to the current show schedule and shipping/advertising/sales duties at the Tamiya America facility run by less than 30 people
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Old 11-03-2006, 11:04 AM
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Larry,
I hear ya loud and clear. You guys do a great job despite all the bitching on here. I have known Fred for going on 15 years and have a high degree of respect for him and Gary Demory. Knowing the way things are going over there makes it that much more admirable. Is there a way to track product sold by store? If there was that may be a way to determine where the hot spots are. It is a shame that Japan doesnt think highly enough of TA to give you a real budget to hire appropriately.
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Old 11-03-2006, 11:05 AM
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I would just like to throw this in as a long time Tamiya fan and also as an insider in the industry both from in and outside of Tamiya.

Tamiya has done the TCS for a long time and it is more then just a marketing tool it is part of Tamiya's philosophy and a way to give thanks to it's loyal customers. Tamiya did not create the series to boost sales, the sales where already there. They did it as a way of saying thank you for all of the years it's customers have supported them.

Also many local LHS have begun using TCS rules to run there own races outside of the TCS making there own virtual challenge series allowing their regional racers to practice for the regional events. From the feedback I have seen these self imposed Tamiya races have been met with great success and the customers as well as the hobby shop have benefitted. Just like ROAR, TCS can be used as a rule book to provide a great race. Even 5 guys in a parking lot could go by Tamiya rules and have fun while also practicing for a TCS event.

Tamiya is working very hard to get the parts into the customers hands but to be honest the industry is a state where many manufacturers are now having to jump through hoops to find ways around and through a new issue that is becoming hard to deal with from the manufacturers perspective.

This is where is gets a little preachy..Remember manufacturers are not in sole control of there sales they provide the best avenue they can to make sure parts available customers. They would not purposely do something to prevent sales obviousely, but many Dist. and LHS have their reasons why they prefer to promote other brands. Is this simply because of demand? I would say not entirely much of it has to do with Dist. pushing there own propriotary brands first and also the lack by LHS to do the extra legwork involved to purchase from numerous suppliers. Most retail stores in the US are not a chain of propriatary goods (think Gap or Ikea or Apple stores) many are like say a Walmart, Best Bu, Radio Shack or a Grocery store deal with many dist. and manufacturers to provide selection. Unfortunately many LHS are not in it for the love of the hobby they are business first and foremost and would prefer to write one check a month and make a profit from whatever is the most readily available to them without the need to do any reasearch on there part. Let me stress not all LHS's are this way but many are and they sometimes succeed because while you are upset they don't have your part they could care less because they just sold 2 monster trucks and micro RTF helicopter in the time it would have taken them to help you. Many hobby shops want to be toy stores for bigger wallets plain and simple and they want to allign themselves or have alligned themselves with certian Dist. who are also manufactures to increase profits. Is this fair? Actually, yes it is, it is the American way free enterprise.

Does simply switching to the brand that is easily carried solve the problem?

It may solve your immediate problem but what happens in the long run?

How many "toystores" will be willing to hold races?

Just something to think about.

Last edited by MrBlack; 11-03-2006 at 11:21 AM.
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Old 11-03-2006, 03:31 PM
  #4257  
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Larry:

Couple of thoughts from a long time TCS'er.

Racing here at Trackside weekly, I'm obviously spoiled. From attending other TCS race locations, one of the things that was always a concern was having the necessary parts and supplies. Even here at Trackside, we racers still need to plan long in advance, even with Scotty's great shop. I start stocking up on spares about 2 months in advance of any TCS race I plan to attend - its the only way to know that you'll have what you need via LHS Trackside (always there first), Great Plains/Horizon, Speedtech, overseas, etc.

I don't know how feasible this is, but please give this some serious thought despite the work it may require. We're still at least 4 months out from the first TCS 2007 race and there should be sufficient time to put this together.

How about about having a "stock" race promotion package available to the LHS sponsoring a TCS race available directly from TamiyaUSA (Aliso Hobby). This "stock" package I'm thinking about would consist of a reasonable number of spare and hop up parts for each current car line likely to be at the race. This stock display would be shipped to the LHS 2 months prior to the TCS race, "on account", payment due 30 days after TCS race, and Tamiya takes back unsold. The keys here are 1) it is in the hobby shop two months ahead of time so there is a good chance at sales and promo of TCS event (this can't be a last minute deal), and it helps the LHS by increasing their sales to cover the expense of having a free race day for the TCS event, 2) that it have the full line of needed parts, 3) that it be a standardized package with all parts - a no brainer for the hobby shop owner, not having to sit down and figure out all the likely part numbers for each of the chassis.

Included in this stock package would be at least one of everything you need to build the chassis being raced, but multiples of the likely to be needed due to breakage items (arms, belts, etc). Also make sure it ncludes at least one of every "bling" blue annodized goody for the chassis (the high ticket items that a hobby shop is reluctant to bring in for fear of being stuck with that $70 motor plate for a TA-05 for example). The more bling, the better, those are the high profit items.


In addition to the "stock" parts package, you would also ship out a good number of sets of tires, inserts and rims likely to be used at the race location (i.e. indoor tracks get a huge amount of type A's for sedans (last year trackside ordered in 100 pairs of A's and they were gone very quickly). Same account terms, return unused. Base your numbers of sets on the past entries to that TCS race.

When Tamiya promotes the TCS series (magazine ads, the great posters you started last year, etc) include in the ad and on the poster something like:
"Your TCS race location will have a special full line inventory of almost every Tamiya part and option you'll need to race starting two months before the event - check out the selection now!"

On the TCS website, point out the new stock parts package to all those considering entering, and remind them again when you send out entry confirmations. Let each of the LHS holding the TCS race know that they will have this coing as part of their holding the TCS event - for both planning purposes, but also to promote Tamiya products. You should actually probably require the LHS to take the "stock" package as part of taking a TCS race - I doubt any shop would object, but they do of course have to make room in store to display the stuff, so they need to plan for this in advance as well.


I know that Futaba recently did something very similar to LHS this summer.(not connected with a race). It was a promo to agree to take a huge selection of servos, radios, etc, all on account, pay for what was sold and return unsold 120 days (or something like that). Key was you had to take the whole package with all the servos, radios,etc- no pick and choose. Really was a no lose proposition for the LHS, got to display a bunch of stuff, but no worry about retained inventory. I know this was a tremendous success at Trackside, they sold great numbers of Futaba stuff that they most likely would not have sold but for the promo package deal.

Yes, I realize that this would take a bit of work to do the first time - sitting down with someone familar with a particular chassis and figure out what you need multiples of, and how many, but you do that work only once for each chassis. Yes it means that TamiyaUSA has to make sure they have sufficient stock of high demand items months before the TCS race, but you should be doing that anyway. (The "annual" tire shortage before TCS Nationals comes to mind). Yes, it means that Tamiya would have to pull the order from the warehouse, but also have to take back the return selection, inventory it, put stuff back in warehouse (or ship it out for the next TCS race that is 2 months to go after replenishment for that which was sold). Yes, this sounds like a project, BUT, I think if you talk to the LHS owners that took the Futaba package they will tell you they had a great response and sold a bunch of Futaba stuff they wouldn't have otherwise sold.
Sorry for the long post, everybody - its the lawyer in me! (My son always asks "are you posting another novel, Dad?")
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Old 11-03-2006, 05:47 PM
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Reading most of these issues about parts supply reminds me of an old saying. "Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part". Maybe racing 1:1 scale trained me differently becuase you don't have a parts supplier sitting at the track. I can understand a newbie showing up at a track unprepared becuase they don't have the knowledge or experience to know what can or usually does break. There are very few tracks to race in my area that have a hobby shop attached. Since I don't like to go home as soon as I break something, I have the essential spares in my pit box to fix it at the track. Having spare parts is part of racing. Between the local LHS, companies like Speedtech, and even good 'ol e-bay, parts are usually available, if you plan in advance.
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Old 11-03-2006, 06:23 PM
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Dave, the SUPREME COURT has heard your brief. ( brief right)
Actually Dave, very valid. It may be work, but in the long run good for the LHS, Tamiya America and the racer.

How many times have we had to shop on-line just to get what we needed before a race to "stock-up" as Kevin CBR instructs. I've lent and or sold more than a few sets of tires, arms or other misc parts during a TCS to help a fellow racer (as long as it wasn't my last one ) as well as borrowed a few parts myself. (thanks Lee & Don) The real problem is most of my stock-up, get ready parts (I also prepped 1:1 scale in the past) have to come from e-bay or over sea's because the LHS doesn't have the parts far enough in advance or doesn't regulary order direct from TA. Trackside will put in a BIG parts order a few weeks before their TCS event, but as soon as the 'planners' see the parts come in, they tend to over buy for fear they will be sold out. (100 pair of A's in two days, and the race was the third day) This of course is a self-fufilling prophecy. That is why we are allways asked if we will sell our extra tires, wheels, shock towers whatever.

Point is, every part that is ordered on the 'net' or other channels that do not obtain their supply through TA, TA realizes no revenue, your LHS gets no traffic or sales so doesn't stock what it doesn't sell, and other racers end up with no parts on the rack to do a repair. This is where the popular chassis of the month comes in. The LHS has to stock parts for way too many manufacturers and way too many chassis's. There is only so much rack space and capital to fill those racks. The nice thing about Tamiya, they don't change to ALL new parts with their new versions of chassis.

As well as many of you on this thread, I run EXCLUSIVELY Tamiya chassis's year round. Many of us weathered the "plastic crap" comments of the distant past. Now that Tamiya has chassis's that can and have won the worlds, you would think more of the US drivers would run Tamiya. Tamiya pretty much did invent the 4WD sedan class.

That's all I got to say about that......... My momma allways said.........

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Old 11-03-2006, 06:45 PM
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Hey Dave,

I'll print out your proposal on Monday.

Just FYI, every year a sales rep is assigned to a specific LHS running the TCS race. There is a standard issue order form collaborated by the sales team for an entire package breakdown by chassis for nearly every kit and part sent to the LHS. This happens two months in advance although at times the LHS tends not to stock up too heavily until about 4-6 weeks into the race. Then by the time sales really start moving about 1-2 weeks into it, parts start to run out and heads start to roll trying to shove parts out in time. This was the case when I was assigned to the Tennessee race @ Hobbytown USA.

We've tried to do a sell what you can and return policy before with terribly results. However I will bring up the points you mentioned when the time comes. We bulk up on fast moving items (tires, inserts, bodies, etc) about 4-6 months in advance but inventory is a tricky thing, its like trying to predict the stock market.

I think I need to open a hobby shop for last minute items during the TCS season.
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