elcome to our Product Roundup index which is segmented into various sections for ease-of-use. Our New Arrivals section lists, by month, products we've received over the course of the last 12 months. The Products in Transit section denotes those items that have been released by the manufacturer and are currently en route to our location. Our upcoming release schedule is designed to provide you with up-to-the-minute information concerning product due out over the course of the year based upon information provided to us via the manufacturer or distributor. Our New Additions section is designed to show you those new items we've added to our product portfolio on a month-by-month basis. Lastly, our Back Order Tracker lists those items that are currently on back order without having to look them up product by product, while our Sold Out section denotes those items no longer available for sale.
When it comes to upcoming releases, keep in mind that these are anticipated ship dates, which can and oftentimes do fluctuate based upon changes to the manufacturer's release schedule. Moreover, we typically do not list re-stocked items on these pages so we suggest you periodically check the product listings to see when an out-of-stock item is once again available.
Finally, we wanted to point out that these are highly prized collectibles produced by companies that feel the need to get it right before they are released to the public. After all, a lot is at stake for these manufacturers. As such, initial release information should be taken with a grain of salt, since they are oftentimes nothing more than best guess estimates based upon preliminary information.
A Few Words About the Shipping Process
In the first of our series of articles discussing the diecast industry at large and the part we play in it, we thought it would be a good idea to discuss product release dates and some of the criteria used to determine them. To begin with, we at The Motor Pool would love to be able to peer into a crystal ball and determine, with the utmost certainty, the release date for every product we carry right down to the actual date of delivery. The truth of the matter is its impossible to predict when an item will come out for any number of reasons.
For starters, we don't make up ship dates just to put something down on our site only to disappoint our clientele at a later date. When a new product is announced, be it officially or unofficially, we ask the manufacturer/ distributor -- point blank -- when the item is expected to come out. Sometimes they have a good idea when it will be available based upon the information they themselves have in hand. On the other hand, there have been plenty of instances when the manufacturer doesn't even know when the product will make it to market simply because there are too many factors to consider. As a result, we're sometimes forced to list a vague shipping time frame such as "fourth quarter" or "winter" simply because no one in the supply channel knows the exact date the product will come out.
From the manufacturer's standpoint, each time a new item is added to their product portfolio a diecast mold has to be made and production time has to be scheduled at the factory. Besides the usual mix of issues, labor and parts shortages can creep into the equation, which is becoming a more exacerbating problem in the Far East where virtually every diecast product is now made. Once the item has been produced in sufficient quantity and passed quality inspection, the shipment then has to be transported by boat to the nearest port of entry (POE) in the US, which oftentimes is either San Diego, Los Angeles or San Francisco. This process usually takes around four weeks. Next, the goods have to be offloaded and pass customs, which, understandably, has become more stringent after 9/11. In some instances, product has been hung up in ports for several weeks if the original paperwork isn't in proper order and licensing issues come into play (remember, the customs officials are constantly on the lookout for counterfeit products).
Next, the goods have to be transported from the port to the manufacturer, which can oftentimes take several days to complete, especially if holidays are involved and transport issues become mitigating factors. Afterwards, the merchandise has to be sent to distributors and retailers, which again can take several more days to accomplish. In the end, the retailer eventually gets their shipment, albeit weeks if not months after the product was originally made in the Far East.
If the item is a heavily requested product, such as a 1:72 scale Dragon or Hobby Master tank, it can take us several days to review and process all of our orders and put all of the shipments in the mail. Here again, we simply do not press a button and out pops 100 ready made boxes all set for shipment. This step in the process can take awhile if we need to contact the customer to review their billing information with them.
To sum it all up, everyone along the supply chain is doing their utmost to bring the product to market in a timely manner. Unfortunately, there are far too many things to take into account which can, and oftentimes do lead to delays in getting the product to your door. We hope you understand all of the obstacles that need to be hurdled each time a new item comes out and certainly appreciate your patience when you place your orders and wait for your deliveries.