Community Buzz

The Return of Hot Wheels?

When will Hot Wheels return to India? The most discussed & debated topic among the Diecast Collector Communities across India on Social Media groups & community pages alike.

1st April 2020 – The fateful date when BIS (Bureau of Indian Standards) norms were enforced by Government of India (GOI) on all toys for kids under 5 years being sold in India. Suddenly, there was ban on bulk importing of all toys without ISI (BIS) mark. I presume that this is done by GOI with below intentions:

  • Restriction on sale of toys of substandard quality as some of the cheap imported toys were found to have toxic colors/chemicals or un-certified small parts being harmful for children.
  • Encourage domestic toys manufacturing industry under Make-in-India campaign.
  • Encourage multi-national toy manufacturers to set up factories in India.
  • Save on foreign exchange by reducing imports.

While the actual toys which are meant for small children didn’t face any huge impact as there are many other alternatives available for kids; it’s the diecast collectors’ community that was hugely impacted by these restrictions.

Most Indian diecast collectors start their journey with inexpensive brands of Toy Vehicles like Hot Wheels, Matchbox, Majorettes, etc...”

Most Indian diecast collectors start their journey with inexpensive brands of Toy Vehicles like Hot Wheels, Matchbox, Majorette, etc. Toy brands like Hot Wheels/ Matchbox/ Majorette which are Collector favorites & labelled as +3 years were suddenly banned and there wasn’t any alternative available on pegs for them. What’s even more ironic (or call it moronic) is that, all these brands have highest quality of international standards in manufacturing having QA certificates issued by premier quality standards institutions, were being restricted by GOI for not having an ISI mark.

Photo by chanaka

Some collectible cars which are labelled for people above 5 years of age were always on expensive side as they have too many small parts and higher detailing. Collectors’ community and more so ever, the budding (newbie) collectors had a hard time buying expensive collectibles of Hot Wheels and Matchbox by importing them from countries where they were freely available. Consequently, the price they had to pay was anywhere between 2.5 to 5 times of the normal price in India before the ban.

“When will Hot Wheels return to India?”

On social media groups, where most of the Indian Collector’s Community have presence, anyone discusses about only 1 thing, “When will Hot Wheels return to India?” Numerous rumors floated around that. Some people used to just mention some random month when they are expected while some said, “Reliance Group (Hamleys) is in process to partner with Mattel for India”. Some even said that “Mattel is starting production of Hot Wheels by setting up a factory in India”. While there is still no confirmed news about the big giant Mattel, what’s really surprising is that, Majorette (which had a smaller presence in Indian market) getting ISI mark and thus gaining 1st-mover advantage and firm ground with good amount of sales in the Indian market. Full lots of Majorettes which were imported in November 2022, was instantly picked up by distributors who sold the stock to retailers at their own terms (without credit) and retailers too gaining by getting instant sale to fresh-stock-starved collectors across India.

Now still there are many other rumors floating around like, “Hot Wheels will be re-introduced in Dec 2022!”, “New lot of Majorettes arriving in Jan 2023!”, etc. but whether those are just rumors or facts, only time will tell!!!

“Only time will tell…”