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Discussion Starter #1
The Nascar Authentics line has always had distribution issues, no question about it, but this past year was by far the worst year for the line since Lionel took it over from Spin-Master. I simply can not believe Lionel, the distributors, and the stores are this bad at getting the waves in. It is so boring and very frustrating to see the same cars in stores over and over again. I can not tell you how many times I've seen full cases of Wave 7 in stores because I've lost count (and this is after I had a really hard time finding Wave 7 to begin with, it took me about 3 weeks after retail release to find the full wave). Some stores in the country, however, have not seen anything beyond Wave 6, or even Wave 4. Almost all stores have some Wave 3 or 4 peg-warming cars and it is JANUARY 2020! The Target stores around me were especially bad for most of the year, being many waves behind and not seeming to get any new cases for months at a time.

This time last year (January 2019), 2018 Wave 10 had hit stores and was pretty widespread. Soon after, Waves 11 and 12 (the worst wave of all time) showed up. This year at the start of January, Wave 9 has shown up in some places, but for most of the country, it is a mess of Waves 4-7 right now. There is no excuse for this. Lionel ran WAY behind this year, starting with Wave 5. For whatever reason (I assume Chinese New Year production stoppages), there was a 2-3 month (or more in some cases) gap between waves 4 and 5. I did not see any new cars from mid June all the way until the end of September as Waves 2-4 hogged store shelves, not going anywhere. I have been collecting Lionel's Nascar Authentics since they started, but I only started taking it seriously in late 2016/early 2017. This is absolutely unprecedented. The spring is all ways a very slow time for diecast releases, but it completely baffles me that this gap hit during the summer. It seems as though Lionel, the distributors, and the stores have never recovered from this. I don't know what games/shenanigans/occurrences/problems happen between these three elements, but it is 100% obvious that the supply chain has major issues that have worsened significantly in the past year.

With 2019 waves 3, 4, and 7, I noticed a distinct pattern. I would notice that the wave was starting to show up in stores (via Instagram, Twitter, etc.), but I would find absolutely nothing new for quite a while (sometimes 2 weeks, sometimes over a month). Then, all of a sudden, I would find most, if not all of the wave. I would be happy that I got the cars, but then, stores got more.....and more.......and more cases of the same wave. These waves would sit on the shelves for what seemed like an eternity (probably at least a month or two) and barely anything would sell. I have a theory that whenever a bunch of one wave suddenly shows up across several stores in my area, it is going to be a long time before I see anything new. I'm not sure if Lionel produces certain waves more than others or not, but it could be the case. My nearest Wal-Mart probably got five or six cases of Wave 4. Sometimes there are waves like 5 and 6 that are in and out as quick as they came, but then I'll find whole cases of them at Target months after they came out in Wal-Mart, but even that is a complete game of luck. Let me go on about that....

I understand that there is some luck involved with collecting these. I can not drive to stores every day trying to look for these cars, and I am likely not the only person hunting for these in my area. It is, however, very frustrating when scalpers buy up all the exclusives and then sell them on Ebay for $20+ each (sometimes as high as $100). What frustrates me the most is that the time a wave is stocked is completely random. You could go to one store and find all of Wave 7. You could go to another store five minutes away and find a mix of Wave 3-5 peg-warmers, or that store could have nothing at all. It is an absolute game of luck. With how awful and delayed the distribution has been this year, this randomness just adds to the frustration I and many other collectors have. It seems like some stores refuse to stock anything unless there is nothing on the shelves, while others have trouble getting the cars to the store from Lionel & the distributors. Perhaps some stores just forget to order them.

2019 was an awful year for the Authentics line (in terms of distribution), and I certainly think it could get worse in 2020.
 

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The distribution issues are on the retailers. Lionel just ships the cars to them. What Lionel should do is offer full sets for sale on their website to take care of hardcore collectors. They were doing that then mysteriously stopped and so far have refused to start doing it again. Why they wouldn’t offer a product that people are asking for is beyond me, but they do a lot of things that make no sense.


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CraZy LuDiCrOuS
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Unfortunately, this story is not new. Back in the days of Racing Chapions this was a common issue. You could walk into any Walmart, Target, etc. and find the same peg warmers for months. If they got anything new in, certain cars would be gone immediately. Flippers would get to the stores when the cars were put out or having an inside contact at the stores or the store employees buying the cars instead of putting them on the pegs (or hiding them so they can purchase them legally without others getting them first).

Having worked at a Target for 6 years, the flippers know when the cars (NASCAR, Hot Wheels, Matchbox), sports figures, etc. are stocked were at the store when it opened. I have seen them yell at co-workers and accuse store employees when there wasn't a Hot Wheels Treasure Hunt on the pegs when a case was put out (this was back when Hot Wheels quit putting TH's in every case). I have also been the employee that would strategically place certain cars that I wanted so that the flippers wouldn't find them and I could purchase it on my break 30 minutes after the store opened (everything had to be on the pegs or shelves on the sales floor for at least 15 minutes before we could purchase anything). I bought cars for my personal collection, not to flip.
 

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I've noticed that something has been off this year with both NASCAR Authentics and Action (Lionel). The Action cars have been slow to release this year so I don't know if anything happened behind the seasons at the beginning of the year but in July when I went to the Chicago race, I was surprised with how many diecasts were not available, even for popular drivers...
 
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I thought something was wrong a few months ago that we were getting so many 1/87 releases(which no one asked for). I assume its cheaper/quicker to produce them compared to the 1/64's. The 1/64 line has sucked this season. Aside from distribution issues, how can you not make Logano's standard scheme? He only won the title last year. Nothing for Christopher Bell or Cole Custer either. All of them had cars produced so it would have a matter of repacking those cars in Authentics packaging. While I do like the various trucks we've seen the selection hasn't been on point like in past years. As for stores and their shipments, they were getting cases of wave 3 in October. Some stores have gotten newer waves in while wave 3 sits there or slowly disappears. I can't imagine the industry as a whole is in great shape which may have something to do with the slow releases. Chase Elliott special finishes probably keep the lights in Lionel's offices on.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Unfortunately, this story is not new. Back in the days of Racing Chapions this was a common issue. You could walk into any Walmart, Target, etc. and find the same peg warmers for months. If they got anything new in, certain cars would be gone immediately. Flippers would get to the stores when the cars were put out or having an inside contact at the stores or the store employees buying the cars instead of putting them on the pegs (or hiding them so they can purchase them legally without others getting them first).
Can't say I'm surprised. These are the same types of people that buy up a bunch of the trucks and exclusives to resell them on Ebay at outrageous prices. I was very lucky to find the Crafton and Briscoe trucks in Wave 3 (the first case I found). In the many cases of Wave 3 I saw afterwards, there were no trucks to be found. There were numerous times where I saw the entire wave except for the trucks (of course).

I've noticed that something has been off this year with both NASCAR Authentics and Action (Lionel). The Action cars have been slow to release this year so I don't know if anything happened behind the seasons at the beginning of the year but in July when I went to the Chicago race, I was surprised with how many diecasts were not available, even for popular drivers...
Something is definitely up behind the scenes. Chinese New Year significantly impacts production every year, which means that barely any cars come out from March - middle of May or so, but I don't think Chinese New Year alone explains what's been going on. The Authentics line never really recovered from that ridiculous gap between Waves 4 and 5 (on top of the gap between Waves 3 and 4). The market was (and still is at some stores) flooded with Waves 3 and 4. I think part of the issue (for Action anyway) might be the amount of DNPs (which were horrendous for 2019) in the 1/64 Action (Lionel) line. Normally, October - December would've been a gold mine of new 1/64 releases but barely ANYTHING came out due to how many DNPs there were.

Somewhat related to this, in my area (southern California), Target has dropped the ball big time on the Authentics line ever since Target left Nascar at the end of 2017. Before then, they were keeping up with Wal-Mart, sometimes even ahead of them. It would be much easier for me to collect these cars if all the Targets around me weren't waves behind what is currently out. Many stores had nothing for months. I'm not sure if this applies to Target stores across the country, but it certainly does to the ones around me. They finally caught up to Waves 6 and 7 very recently, but I'm sure those won't be going anywhere soon. When a store gets cars that have been out for months, barely anyone buys them because the initial demand has died out by that time, so the cars sit there for an eternity, gathering dust and warming the pegs.

It doesn't help that we aren't going to see new Chevy 1/64s for 2020 until at least June due to a new mold being needed for a minor nose change. Not only does it suck that we have to wait so long for them, but this likely means that 2020 waves 4 & 5 (my guess) could be pretty bland. We'll get a lot of Hendrick schemes (that don't change) then as well as other peg-warmers such as Austin Dillon's DOW car. Waves 4 & 5 should normally be picking it up with the releases. We should be past the boring, unchanged primaries at that point, but that won't be the case this year.

I thought something was wrong a few months ago that we were getting so many 1/87 releases (which no one asked for). I assume its cheaper/quicker to produce them compared to the 1/64's. The 1/64 line has sucked this season. Aside from distribution issues, how can you not make Logano's standard scheme? He only won the title last year. Nothing for Christopher Bell or Cole Custer either. All of them had cars produced so it would have a matter of repacking those cars in Authentics packaging. While I do like the various trucks we've seen the selection hasn't been on point like in past years. As for stores and their shipments, they were getting cases of wave 3 in October. Some stores have gotten newer waves in while wave 3 sits there or slowly disappears. I can't imagine the industry as a whole is in great shape which may have something to do with the slow releases. Chase Elliott special finishes probably keep the lights in Lionel's offices on.
The 1/87 line is even more of a game to find than the 1/64 line. Many stores around me don't even carry the 1/87s. Out of 8-10 stores in my driving range, only 2 of them carry the 1/87s. As for Logano's standard scheme, that baffles me too. I understand not making his AutoTrader or Pennzoil schemes, but even though the Shell car has been released several times, Logano won the championship in 2018. I'm even more surprised we didn't get his 2018 Homestead win in the Authentics line. I was actually looking forward to it. I'm surprised we didn't see Bowman's Nationwide scheme as well (in the 1/64 series).

I am concerned about the industry too. If the shipping and stocking was more consistent, then I'd be a lot happier with the Authentics line. These issues have gotten worse every year. 2019 was worse than 2018, 2018 was worse than 2017, etc.. It doesn't help that the western half of the US sees waves weeks after the eastern half sees it (and the eastern half sees it several weeks after the Lionel Retail store gets them). Why Lionel doesn't just send out the wave nationwide as soon as they announce it on The Fix is beyond me. I love getting these cars (when I actually find them), but all the issues with finding them really angers me to the point where I've actually been discouraged from going out and hunting them. As long as Lionel has a monopoly on the market, however, I don't see them going anywhere.

I don't know of many other diecast companies that have issues like Lionel (although someone mentioned another company from a different country in another thread actually being years behind with their cars).
 

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Here's the problem that starts all of this as its been mentioned is Lionel is a monopoly and there is 0 competition. So basically we can have all the issues we're having currently with lots of DNPs, trouble finding these waves, trouble finding cars at races, so on so forth and Lionel can careless to fix these issues. I literally didn't find wave 4 til Mid July and I didn't come even close to wave 5 til mid October..... I literally found wave 6 cars 2 days later but little did I know that was the last time I would find wave 6 until I got Suarez and Deegan for Christmas. I went to Martinsville in October, the selection for diecasts was utterly embarassing to say the least. Wave 7 I got lucky on 1 try and found all of it. Wave 8 I'm still missing the Kyle Busch Truck and Chase Elliott, but I was able to get the rest for Christmas. Just finished wave 9 on new years eve thanks to having most of the wave from cracker barrel for Christmas. But my point is though is that SOMETHING has got to change. Prices are going up, quality is going down, and the care from the company is going down. Our main issue is Lionel doesn't care to listen unfortunately. I've collected since 2008 and I don't know how much longer it'll last if it continues like this.
 

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It's been really poor year for die-cast. Up until about a month ago I was unable to find anything newer than wave 3 in any Target or Wal-Mart near me. I found cars from waves 4, 5 and 7 but I don't recall ever seeing anything from wave 6 or anything newer than 7. I've been able to find the Briscoe, Crafton and Rhodes trucks. The Rhodes truck was tougher to find than the other two. I never saw the Daytona truck anywhere.

I never had much trouble finding Racing Champions die-cast around me. A lot of the stores around me had a lot of it in stock. Even the trucks weren't that tough to find. There used to be a department store called Venture around me that was the best place for me to find truck die-casts. They always had a pretty good selection of them.
 

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It's been really poor year for die-cast. Up until about a month ago I was unable to find anything newer than wave 3 in any Target or Wal-Mart near me. I found cars from waves 4, 5 and 7 but I don't recall ever seeing anything from wave 6 or anything newer than 7. I've been able to find the Briscoe, Crafton and Rhodes trucks. The Rhodes truck was tougher to find than the other two. I never saw the Daytona truck anywhere.

I never had much trouble finding Racing Champions die-cast around me. A lot of the stores around me had a lot of it in stock. Even the trucks weren't that tough to find. There used to be a department store called Venture around me that was the best place for me to find truck die-casts. They always had a pretty good selection of them.
Wow I hadn't heard the name Venture since I was 5 or 6 years old.
 

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Unfortunately, this story is not new. Back in the days of Racing Chapions this was a common issue. You could walk into any Walmart, Target, etc. and find the same peg warmers for months.
My brother I walked into a K Mart back in those days and found 35 Shelly Anderson 1/24 scale dragsters on the shelf. We counted them. They had no other 1/24 NHRA cars.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Update: 2020 is off to an awful start. After finding three Wave 8 cars back on December 29th (1 Flying J Daytona Win, 12 Money Lion, and 14 DeKalb - bought the first two), I have seen nothing new since then after numerous hunts in stores, including two Wal-Marts today. The pegs are getting emptier but no new stock has come in. It's obvious (where I'm at anyway) that Wal-Mart hasn't received any new cases for several weeks now (not even any new cases of Wave 7). Wave 7 came out OVER two months ago but some stores in my area haven't gotten Wave 8, yet some people back east have found Wave 9. I don't even try Target out here anymore because they will literally sit on one wave for months on end and then jump ahead several but still be way behind. I seriously have never seen distribution and stock this bad and widespread ESPECIALLY at this time of year. It drives me nuts that some stores got up to five cases of Wave 7 over the past 2 months but Wave 8 is practically non-existent. At many stores you can still find random assortments of usual peg-warmers from 2019 Waves 2-6 (mostly Chase Elliott and William Byron cars). Seeing these cars in JANUARY is completely inexcusable. Lionel seems to produce most of the Hendrick cars as if their drivers are as popular as Jeff Gordon or Dale Jr., but they're not
 

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I think the problem is actually at the distribution level. I work at a Walmart in TN and when I look it up, it went from saying a new case would be delivered Jan 30th (which it's been saying for like 2-3 weeks) to now some time in February. The last wave we received was 8 though.
Don't get me started, I could go ON AND ON about their piss poor distribution and that GD Daytona wave. We sat on that Daytona wave almost all year. Never saw anything from wave 2-6. I finally had to manually order more to get them flowing again.
 

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I know about the Daytona wave the Dillon dow, Byron liberty, and bowman cars been filling the pegs since july when they finally put them out we havent seen anything new here at the 2 walmarts in pa since july and they did a new reset in the toy department in one of the walmarts & went from 6 pegs down to 3 & filling the 3 pegs with all the dayona
cars so I give up had to find the ones I wanted in the waves at target since july I give up on Walmart here
 

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I know about the Daytona wave the Dillon dow, Byron liberty, and bowman cars been filling the pegs since july when they finally put them out we havent seen anything new here at the 2 walmarts in pa since july and they did a new reset in the toy department in one of the walmarts & went from 6 pegs down to 3 & filling the 3 pegs with all the dayona
cars so I give up had to find the ones I wanted in the waves at target since july I give up on Walmart here
 

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Also Authentics missed several important drivers even though they just did their throwbacks and Patriotic schemes. Joey Logano never got any cars made in Mustang form except for his throwback, there was no Kevin Harvick Jimmy John's Mustang, no Ryan Preece, and no regular Alex Bowman Nationwide scheme either. Overall, it's just been a slow year for diecast and for 2020, I see a lot of re-dos and re-hashes of schemes so it could be worse. But you sometimes have to understand what's important. Life comes before the hobby and I'd rather pay my bills and have food on the table because that's the important thing than anything else.
 
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