I would like to share the highlights from "Kato Sales Meeting".
This Kato sales meeting is a monthly event held at Kato headquater to preview new product and also the opportunity that Mr. Hiroshi Kato, who is a president of Sekisui Kinzoku (KATO) hears business update and request from retailers.
I am attending this event from March 2014 but have not shared the detail. I will try to share the update every month as much as possible from now on.
1. Market Overview
Some other retailers reported sales decline this is because of sales tax increase. Consumer made purchase before end of March before the tax rate change and it caused sales deciline on April. This was especially obvious on HO product as their price is higher and impact of tax increas is also big.
2. Product Showcase
Prototype of following products (shown on photo)
- E7 Shinkansen
- Orient Express
- Seibu Series 101
- E655 and special carriage
- 651 Swallow Akagi
- Series 181-100 ASAMA
- Series 10 sleeper coach "Nichinan #3"
Still not finalizing as product. Some cars having different color... very very small difference.
C57 Steam Locomotive
E655 Nagomi with Imperial flag parts
Series 181-100 ASAMA
Series 651-100 Swallow Akagi
Finally they finished front signboard (last month the model still showing "Super Hitachi")
3. Layout with turntable
Later displayed a layout panel with turntable. This layout will be used on Shizuoka Hobby Show.
This outer oval is just using M1 oval track set. The turntable can fit within the layout. The roundhouse shown is not a product. Just temporarily handcrafted by KATO engineer for reference. KATO is now developing roundhouse product and it will be released sometime like in August or September time.
Straight and Curved track
KATO is now planning for a track with inspection pit. Can be laid under roundhouse.
There were some request from other retailers on new or re-run like following.
E351 Super Azusa
E233/231 Tokaido Line
E231/209 Sobu line local (but Kato rep. said this sobu line trains tends to sell very slow from past experience somewhat)
If you have any product you want KATO to produce or re-run, please let me know. Of course I can't guarantee they do but at least I can let them know there are demands for the item.