Matchboxes are back, bringing an exciting new collection to South Africa

Along Preteshursin April 4, 2021

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Johannesburg-Mattel, the owner of Matchbox, known for its authentic and realistic vehicles and diorama playsets, will reopen its brand in South Africa in 2021. To celebrate this opportunity, Matchbox is celebrating Europe’s most iconic car makers in the United Kingdom and Germany. , France, Italy, Russia. The new Europe or “Best of …” line features 100% licensed vehicles with realistic details from renowned car makers such as Land Rover, Audi, Mercedes-AMG and Porsche.

From the humble beginning

Matcbox was founded in 1947 by a childhood friend of Leslie and Rodney Smith (not relevant). The two became acquainted with each other during their tenure in the Royal Navy during World War II.

When they returned from the war, they combined Leslie’s “Les” and Rodney’s “Knees” to create Lesney products and set up a store in an old closed pub, Rifleman, in Edmonton, north of London. However, Rodney Smith left Lesney Products in 1951 and pursued other interests. As a result, Jack Odel has become a perfect partner for Leslie Smith. Odell worked at a die casting machine tool that manufactures and sells die casting equipment, but soon joined Lesney products full-time.

Replica of the first matchbox vehicle

Anne, Odel’s daughter, had to bring something smaller than what fits in the matchbox to school. He created a miniature version of the large Aveling Barford Road Roller that fits in a matchbox. It was the first product number on the 1953 matchbox die-cast line.

Change of ownership

Despite intensifying competition from brands such as Hot Wheels and Micro Machines, Lesney built a Matchbox in the 1950s and early 1990s to grow into a large brand. In 1992, Tyco bought the brand for $ 135 million, but in a relatively short period of time, Tyco itself was acquired by Mattel for $ 755 million.

Since taking control of the Matchbox brand, Mattel has continued to connect with the Matchbox collector culture through a variety of collectibles. The brand has also worked with Nickelodeon, Warner Bros., Coca-Cola, the NBA, several feature films, and television studios to create collectable cars and trucks. In 2009, we announced the success of an interactive, large-scale talking robot line using work trucks such as the construction truck “Rocky.” These robot trucks got up, talked, sang, and danced.

Matchbox for everyone

Part of the 2021 Matchbox Basic Series vehicle [Pic: Lamley Group]

Roberto Stanichi, Global Head of Vehicles at Mattel, said:

“This year’s brand renewal has focused the brand on identifying the value that makes Matchbox very lasting and encouraging children to explore through realistic play and enhanced design. With captivating diecast details and relevant playsets based on the world children see around, matchboxes provide tools for even more open-end adventures through play. “

In developing the new “Best of … Car Assortment”, the Matchbox design team worked closely with local car manufacturers to determine the best model to represent each country. From the Audi R8 in Germany to the Renault Kangoo postal service van in France, popular models based on cultural preferences were selected along with vehicles such as fire trucks and ambulances.

The latest Matchbox Best of Europe vehicles and playsets are already on sale at major toy stores if you want to add them to your collection.


Matchboxes are back, bringing an exciting new collection to South Africa

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