James Wright, well known for his HO product reviews, has put up on his YouTube channel a behind-the-scenes video tour of Lionel's headquarters in Concord, NC. I think it's the most comprehensive look at the current Lionel operation that has been done to date.


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Retired is a misnomer.  Should be detired--less tired, more fun!

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Rescued Trains posted:

Thanks for putting up the link. A very informative video. Does this mean Lionel no longer has a presence in New York city, everything is in North Carolina?

Steve

Yes. Over the last year or two, Lionel has finished consolidating everything in North Carolina. Everything except the retail store is now in one large, two-story building in Concord.

Retired is a misnomer.  Should be detired--less tired, more fun!

Chuck Sartor posted:

Good and informative video. However I would have introduced 2 people that have contact with the public the most....Dean and Katie.

I've found both of them to be really helpful.

Retired is a misnomer.  Should be detired--less tired, more fun!

Chuck Sartor posted:

Good and informative video. However I would have introduced 2 people that have contact with the public the most....Dean and Katie.

Chuck Sartor posted:

Good and informative video. However I would have introduced 2 people that have contact with the public the most....Dean and Katie.

I totally agree Chuck. I worked for some very large Companies. Who wants to see the COO.. I mean at least Kuhn was different. He was one of us. Especially, when all the WONDERFUL product could fill his office. Outside, of that great video. Good to see at least a few jobs are still in the USA.

FROM THE WEBMASTER:

These videos are much more likely to be watched if you EMBED the video here instead of just pasting a link. I took care of it for you.

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Retired is a misnomer.  Should be detired--less tired, more fun!

Very modern and spacious facility. Clearly Lionel spent a boatload of money on this building. Ryan briefly toured the Project Management area, which he said works on development and getting things "right from concept to delivery." If that area isn't under the gun now, they should be!

Looks like Lionel is going into the HO market in a big way. Statements that Lionel is "getting more and more into HO,"  it's "becoming a very big part of our product line," and a "very big part of the engineering team's job and time" are indicative of this new emphasis. As others have opined, it may to be a hint that they see the O gauge market as nearing a peak, and Lionel is getting ready for the future by augmenting it's product line with the most popular gauge, HO, even mentioned that they may get into N gauge at some future time. Then again, it may just be a way to expand their business and increase profits, and nothing more then that. But probably both are true.

Keith L posted:

Some meaningful percentage (??%) of Lionel’s business is from being the official die cast producer of NASCAR.

An interesting observation. Are the NASCAR collectibles having color inaccuracies like the trains? Both made in China?

"Is 4 techs few? How many would we expect?"

If you listen to some folks, they'd say Lionel must need dozens to account for the (largely imaginary) huge numbers of returns .  It's actually reassuring that they need only 4 or so to keep returning failed or dysfunctional new products in a few weeks time most of the year.  According to the video they are making about 50,000 Lion Scale products on-site.  Figure that is probably only a few percent of their production and we're talking millions of individual products I'd guess.  Fun video.

Richie C. posted:

I know the factory is located in the heart of Nascar country near a lot of race shops, but just curious as to why a picture of the #48 Lowes Nascar Champion, Jimmie Johnson (along with his trophies), happens to hang in the Lionel break room ?

Because Lionel makes a LOT more money from the NASCAR products than they do from model trains.

Rich Melvin

Landsteiner posted:

"Is 4 techs few? How many would we expect?"

If you listen to some folks, they'd say Lionel must need dozens to account for the (largely imaginary) huge numbers of returns .  It's actually reassuring that they need only 4 or so to keep returning failed or dysfunctional new products in a few weeks time most of the year.  

"A dealer informed me today that the turn around time is now ten weeks.  Lionel recently had two of their four technicians quit.  My warranty is up mid December.  My Western Allegheny is currently at Lionel for a burned out Cab Light.  My Challenger #3985 is also at Lionel for overheating Steam Generator, new sound, and Out-of-Sync Drivers."

Sincerely, John Rowlen

" No matter how far we travel, the memories will follow in the baggage car."

I too enjoyed the video and appreciate it being linked (and posted) here. Thanks Keith and Rich.

Landsteiner wrote: According to the video they are making about 50,000 Lion Scale products on-site.

I didn't hear that, so I went back to listen again. What Ryan said was they were producing a couple hundred items per day in house.  Which yes, does make around 50,000. But I thought to myself, there's no way they're producing and selling 50,000 Lion Scale items.

Ryan also did say they have increased the in house production staff because the business is so good. But I take it to mean that the "good" part of the business is NOT Lion Scale items, but instead all of the special run club, commemorative, and personalized rolling stock - and most of those are TRADITIONAL types of rolling stock. He also said this part of the business was so good that they were having to pull back on the amount of cataloged items, which I took to mean the cataloged Lion Scale items.

It's also interesting here on this forum, that there are quite a few grumbles from scale enthusiasts about the prices of the Lionel scale rolling stock at around $100 each. They must not care to notice that the prices of the regular cataloged traditional rolling stock items (outside of the newly cataloged 6-packs) are only $5-$10 less per car. Even the US produced Lion Scale items are less costly than a foreign made traditional car with die-cast trucks, and less than a US made traditional car (???).

I would gather with the increase in the cataloged special run items, the licensed items (like some of the Looney Toons, Scooby-Doo, Hot Wheels, etc. boxcars that are US produced) and the personalized rolling stock - again mostly traditionally sized items -  is where the real business is... despite what you read here on the forum. They're also all listed at the on-line Lionel store under "Most Popular."

And at $80-$95 per car, I would imagine these are very good profit items to produce, hence the emphasis on them. Of course, this also means they must be selling too. 

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