AF Berkshires

You guys should go back and read what Ryan Kunkle told be at the beginning of this thread.  Here it is again from the email he sent me.

_______________________________

Bill,

Got your message but don’t have time to return your call today. The Legacy Berk run was cancelled for the reasons outlined to the dealers. Tooling costs came in much higher than anticipated and when spread across the order numbers the cost of production was prohibitive. We’ve looked into other alternatives over the past several months and ultimately had to come to this decision.

Thank you,

Ryan

____________________________

These were not BTO, as someone suggested, and there was around 6 months to order one. This was not on Lionel.  The market just didn't order enough to make it affordable for Lionel.  So in affect it is on us. 

Lionel does not exist to make us miserable.  We do it to ourselves.

Wow… That explains why I couldn't find them anywhere this weekend. I wanted to order a couple extras. This is what keeps me from staying with S as my main modeling scale. You just have no idea IF or WHEN anything will get made.  What huge bummer.

-Jonathan

leikec posted:

... the bottom line for Lionel, MTH, and others is pretty simple--if you don't make it, people won't buy it.

Jeff C

 

As relates to the "bottom line" of a business and production choices, if people won't buy it, you don't make it.

That's pretty simple, too.

KD

dkdkrd posted:
leikec posted:

... the bottom line for Lionel, MTH, and others is pretty simple--if you don't make it, people won't buy it.

Jeff C

 

As relates to the "bottom line" of a business and production choices, if people won't buy it, you don't make it.

That's pretty simple, too.

KD

Certainly it is...but on the other hand it isn't as if it's a secret that S scale is a small market.

Perhaps S scale isn't viable under any circumstances, but it was immediately obvious to me when this locomotive was announced that something was weird about the price point. Anyone who follows the industry at all would have been skeptical of the math underlying the pricing--just look at Rapido's pricing on their HO scale Royal Hudson by comparison. Now think about their probable production forecasts versus the most optimistic possible outcome for a Legacy S scale steam loco...

If an industry outsider like me could see the problem you'd think that the bean counters at Lionel would have noticed right away. 

Jeff C

It is a shame, I would settle for a Flyerchief NKP Berk if it had a Mars light.  They cancel stuff like this but yet make trash like Mega Trax.   Someone at the Circle L ranch needs to be fired and a proper model railroader instead of a college bred bean counter brought in.  If they want to the scale to grow, then better and consistant support is needed.  

Silly NT's...I have Asperger's Syndrome! 

artfull dodger posted:

It is a shame, I would settle for a Flyerchief NKP Berk if it had a Mars light.  They cancel stuff like this but yet make trash like Mega Trax.   Someone at the Circle L ranch needs to be fired and a proper model railroader instead of a college bred bean counter brought in.  If they want to the scale to grow, then better and consistant support is needed.  

They don't care about growing the scale. They will sell anything they can make a profit on. Of course that is good for business and the bottom line, but it could be bad news for enthusiasts. I honestly believe that if they felt that they could make the same amount of profit by just licensing out the Lionel logo they would stop making trains all together. Call me cynical...

-Jonathan

jonnyspeed posted:
artfull dodger posted:

It is a shame, I would settle for a Flyerchief NKP Berk if it had a Mars light.  They cancel stuff like this but yet make trash like Mega Trax.   Someone at the Circle L ranch needs to be fired and a proper model railroader instead of a college bred bean counter brought in.  If they want to the scale to grow, then better and consistant support is needed.  

They don't care about growing the scale. They will sell anything they can make a profit on. Of course that is good for business and the bottom line, but it could be bad news for enthusiasts. I honestly believe that if they felt that they could make the same amount of profit by just licensing out the Lionel logo they would stop making trains all together. Call me cynical...

Plus, they're taking on other risky ventures.  Mega Tracks flopped, the HO Polar Express cratered and was blown out by the big dealers, I'm not sure if adding Bluetooth and track (which is not compatible with other brands of HO track) to them is going to help (along with the other three sets using the HO PE stuff.)  Plus they recently bought the Model Power/Mantua HO line from MRC to try again to seriously break in to HO with very likely high-priced average HO.  Then there's the recently opened Lionel Store in the Concord Mills mall.

All of which probably have drawn resources away from the Flyer Line.  If HO fails (again) and the store doesn't do well, I expect we might see a head or two rolling down the street.  And if there winds up being another management shake up, it's back to square one with Flyer.

Rusty

dkdkrd posted:
Roundhouse Bill posted:

 

These were not BTO, as someone suggested, and there was around 6 months to order one. This was not on Lionel.  The market just didn't order enough to make it affordable for Lionel.  So in affect it is on us. 

Lionel does not exist to make us miserable.  We do it to ourselves.

Absolutely spot on!

Pogo agrees....

pogo

I'm still trying to figure out if I'm misery or company...

Rusty

Folks, you are beating a dead horse, people didn't support/order enough, so Lionel backed out - very understandable.  Lionel is coming out with new stuff and people are buying it - they react to what people actually buy, not want. 

All the chest beating and bleating does nothing but discourage others from entering the  S hobby.

You get more flies with honey then vinegar. 

Roundhouse Bill posted:

You guys should go back and read what Ryan Kunkle told be at the beginning of this thread.  Here it is again from the email he sent me.

_______________________________

Bill,

Got your message but don’t have time to return your call today. The Legacy Berk run was cancelled for the reasons outlined to the dealers. Tooling costs came in much higher than anticipated and when spread across the order numbers the cost of production was prohibitive. We’ve looked into other alternatives over the past several months and ultimately had to come to this decision.

Thank you,

Ryan

____________________________

These were not BTO, as someone suggested, and there was around 6 months to order one. This was not on Lionel.  The market just didn't order enough to make it affordable for Lionel.  So in affect it is on us. 

Lionel does not exist to make us miserable.  We do it to ourselves.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

There is another factor that is easy to miss in the Berk cancellation, we touched on this earlier in the thread, but here is the take away:

Ryan's letter says 'Tooling costs came in much higher than anticipated and when spread across the order numbers the cost of production was prohibitive'.

With the much higher tooling costs, maybe Lionel would have made little or nothing selling the Berks at the price they cataloged, regardless of the orders, so they pulled the plug. The orders may have been ok for $499 production, but was not for whatever the much higher tooling cost was.

So we shouldn't beat ourselves up over how many were ordered at the price Lionel originally pitched without knowing the rest of the story.

Mike

Roundhouse Bill posted:

A last several people are making real sense with what they are writing.  Lionel is a business not a hobby for its owners.

If Lionel is a business, then someone dropped off big time and got their sums wrong, shouldn’t be any excuses really. It doesn’t matter how many orders they took it was always going to be cancelled regardless, so why give people false hopes for so long?

If they picked a sale price at the beginning with a view to costing it all later then shame on them for bad decision making, very unprofessional.

Roundhouse Bill posted:

UKAFLYER - Not true on setting their price too low on purpose.

I was told Ryan that they got a great production price from the manufacturer.  It was an unexpected increase in the tooling cost that couldn't be covered by the number of orders. 

I never said the price was set low on purpose. You actually confirm that the price was set on an initial build contract but the builder has goofed on actual costs later on. 

What was the unexpected costs that caused the cancellation? Perhaps the contractor should have honoured the original price and absorbed the additional costs as it was his mistake. As I said above it was bad planning not to have calculated the costs at the beginning.

It still rankles me that those who ordered the Legacy Berkshires had to find out in a way, way, way round about manner that the project had been cancelled. Why wasn't the news broadcast here by Lionel where so much interest was shown? 

Stuff happens in the business world and costs are flexible until they aren't. But to ignore the very customers who showed interest in the project seems short sighted.

If things don't go as planned then announce it with all the fanfare that the project was announced. One doesn't have to divulge company insider info but honesty up front and later goes a long way towards future customer interest.

I've seen  "Ready...Shoot!...Aim!" in the model train world before. It's nothing new. Just let people know as soon as possible that things have changed and "project X" is cancelled.

What happens to a potential "alternate sale" of a similar product (Flyerchief Berk) if the customer is kept in the dark about the cancellation of the originally ordered Legacy model? Seems like a "Lose-lose" for everyone.

Personally I have a PE FlyerChief Berkshire already and a FlyerChief Meteor Northern to boot. Did I need the Legacy Berk? No. Was it a great buy? Yes. Will I mope about it? No. I just ask Lionel to let people know what's going on in a timely manner.

Mark

 

I'm not upset that Lionel didn't make a post announcing the Legacy Berks were cancelled.  It wouldn't change the fact they were cancelled.  Them's the breaks.  Just disappointed they were cancelled. 

However, I won't be picking up a F/C Berk either.  Testing a friend's loco in January satisfied my curiosity about them.

As I mentioned earlier, I'll just move the money I set aside for the Berk to my GDD passenger car fund.  If those get cancelled, well I'm sure I could find some place to eventually spend the money.

Rusty

Folks, some have criticized Lionel for their contractor in China raising the price after quoting.  For any of you who work for companies that contract with China, you know that this is not uncommon.  They also "lose" molds that belong to customers. That's what destroyed HO company IHC, after they moved all the molds/manufacturing to China, and couldn't get them back.

Many companies are now moving production from China to Indonesia or Viet Nam because of the difficulties with China.  The Chinese don't seem to care, as they are repurposing manufacturing to autos and the military, both of which are growing significantly.

Cadillac Mike posted:

Sunset made the lovely Pennsy L2 Mikado in the Philippines a few years back.  I was hoping it would be a trend with them but sadly does not seem to be.  It was a great model but to my knowledge they didn't make anything else there?

In S scale?

Good grief...

What does the S scale forum average--about three posts per week? Heaven forbid if we broaden the topic a bit to cover something that, when you give it two seconds thought, is actually relevant to the AF Berkshire debacle...

Jeff C

 

"What more can be said about the Legacy Berkshires now that they're cancelled."  He sez...

Some final thoughts about the cancellation of the Legacy Berks.

I'm skipping the facts and fictions about overseas manufacturing.  Those have and will continue to be discussed as the detriment and benefits of modern model train manufacturing in various threads and forums ad infinitum.

I'll take Ryan's explanation at face value and not assign blame: Not enough orders and increased costs of practically all new tooling killed the project.

However, I think these two issues contributed substantially:

Duplication of effort:  After two runs of the FlyerChief Berks, only the American Railroads and RF&P locomotives were "new" roadnames in Legacy.  The other four roads were well represented in the FlyerChief versions.  Granted you're dealing with a well known NKP prototype, so in the strictest sense that sort of limits other roadname choices to NKP and something visually similar. 

However, I can't help wonder if wandering off into fantasy-land a little might have made the difference.  Illinois Central, Louisville & Nashville, Santa Fe and others all rostered their own classes of Berkshires.  Southern Pacific got some second-hand B&M Berks.  While the wheel arrangement with these are the only common link with an NKP Berk, maybe adding some of these roads and eliminating some of the duplicates might have helped in the pre-order department.

Optics: When I first looked at the 2018 Volume 1 catalog, I wondered why there were four pages of FlyerChief Berkshires.  I didn't give it a second thought until someone mentioned it here on the forum that the first two pages were of Legacy models.  Now OK, shame on me for just lookin' at the pretty pictures and not reading the description, but anyone casually glancing through the catalog probably came to the same conclusion.

It's well known Lionel (and MTH) use Photoshop for cataloging purposes.  As the Legacy Berks were to be more detailed cousins to the F/C Berks, this may have been an instance where the O Scale Berkshire could have been Photoshopped to better represent the S Scale model.  I don't know if any of the CAD drawings were available when the catalog was printed.  If so, maybe they could have been included to help differentiate the Legacy version from the FlyerChief versions.

Rusty

 

 

Optics: When I first looked at the 2018 Volume 1 catalog, I wondered why there were four pages of FlyerChief Berkshires.  I didn't give it a second thought until someone mentioned it here on the forum that the first two pages were of Legacy models.  Now OK, shame on me for just lookin' at the pretty pictures and not reading the description, but anyone casually glancing through the catalog probably came to the same conclusion.

Rusty

I, too, just looked at the pictures, and did not realize that the initial 2 pages showed Legacy locomotives.  I just thought that these were new FlyerChief locomotives with new numbers and the addition of 2 new roadnames.  If I had not read that they were Legacy locomotives in this forum,  I would have persisted in that misguided belief.  

LittleTommy

I own 2 of the Flyerchief Berks and think they are great locomotives.  I'm not hung up on the cast-in handrails and other details, but I would have liked Legacy TMCC and a more capable sound system.  I wonder if Lionel will consider doing a version with current castings and upgraded electronics?

Scott Griggs

Louisville, KY

Flyer 52 posted:
Roundhouse Bill posted:

You guys should go back and read what Ryan Kunkle told be at the beginning of this thread.  Here it is again from the email he sent me.

_______________________________

Bill,

Got your message but don’t have time to return your call today. The Legacy Berk run was cancelled for the reasons outlined to the dealers. Tooling costs came in much higher than anticipated and when spread across the order numbers the cost of production was prohibitive. We’ve looked into other alternatives over the past several months and ultimately had to come to this decision.

Thank you,

Ryan

____________________________

These were not BTO, as someone suggested, and there was around 6 months to order one. This was not on Lionel.  The market just didn't order enough to make it affordable for Lionel.  So in affect it is on us. 

Lionel does not exist to make us miserable.  We do it to ourselves.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

There is another factor that is easy to miss in the Berk cancellation, we touched on this earlier in the thread, but here is the take away:

Ryan's letter says 'Tooling costs came in much higher than anticipated and when spread across the order numbers the cost of production was prohibitive'.

With the much higher tooling costs, maybe Lionel would have made little or nothing selling the Berks at the price they cataloged, regardless of the orders, so they pulled the plug. The orders may have been ok for $499 production, but was not for whatever the much higher tooling cost was.

So we shouldn't beat ourselves up over how many were ordered at the price Lionel originally pitched without knowing the rest of the story.

Mike

Mike,

Your post makes sense, and I would have been happy to pay more for the Legacy Berkshire given the opportunity.  

It's too bad that the cost of tooling and manufacturing the Legacy Berk wasn't known when the MSRP was set.  

That way Lionel could have made money and I could have had a Legacy Berkshire to add to my Challenger, my Y-3, my Polar Express,  my Flyer Chief/Bluetooth Berk, and my ES44 and SD70 roster.

And as was previously stated it is too bad that all the other improvements to the Legacy Berkshire were not better communicated. That could have had a big effect on the pre-orders.

Aflyer

 

 

I don't see why they couldn't have put external handrails on it like the postwar locos. Fill in the fake handrails on the mold, drill some holes and use cotter pins, like postwar. That would not have cost more, but would have looked a lot better.

Then there would be something new to complain about.

RoyBoy

SXE

Lionel has made several comments that the tariffs have not effected Lionel’s production and importation of our trains, and if it did, I would think Lionel would be willing to let the consumer know that the reason for a cost hike is out of their hands due to a tariff. 

Ben

NASG&CASG
banjoflyer posted:
Rusty Traque posted:

BTW.  Where were all the Flyer people that wanted a Legacy steam locomotive?

 

Right here. Ordered the Legacy RF&P Berkshire.

Mark

I ordered the RF&P as well, from C Ro.

Art

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.  -  Clarke's Third Law"

banjoflyer posted:
Rusty Traque posted:

BTW.  Where were all the Flyer people that wanted a Legacy steam locomotive?

 

Right here. Ordered the Legacy RF&P Berkshire.

Mark

I ordered the RF&P as well, from C Ro.

Art

I ordered the P.M. Berk, just canceled the P.M. caboose I wont have use for.

Ray

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Roundhouse Bill


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