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“As long as the world of toys brings out creative products which meet the wishes and preferences of the respective target group, there will be no competition between virtual and physical games,” he says. “On the contrary, they will complement each other. We believe that it is important to introduce digital technologies to children at a very early age to prepare them for life. Our children need both, a teddy bear to hug, real cars to play with and virtual games.”

The statistics prove Mr. Stadlbauer who represents the third generation of the family business right. The current figures published by Eurotoys show that the toy market has been enjoying continuous growth in recent years. In the beginning, video games tended to eat into traditional market sectors but a counter-trend has reestablished a balance between the different fields.

“Carrera and our Mario Kart license are good examples,” explains Mr. Stadlbauer. “Carrera fans race their cars on a physical racing track while Mario Kart fans have a virtual racing experience. For both games you need space and time. Also, Playmobil and Lego fit into this scheme. At present, the playing experience, the brand, quality and value are important purchasing motivators.”

The Carrera brand is the Austrian toy expert’s the top selling product. The company offers two different systems. One for kids up to the age of five or six and one for adults. “In fact, adults are the key target group of Carrera,” says the Managing Partner. “The tracks for adults are bigger and more detailed and offer the ultimate in performance. They are designed to do “motorsports at home.” In a way, Carrera sells dreams. Who would not want to drive a Ferrari or Porsche once?”

As slot car racing is about speed, Carrera’s slot cars achieve a top speed that equals 700 to 800 km/h when projected to real-life size. These high speeds are possible thanks to the brand’s tried and tested slot system which ensures that the cars stay on the rails. Otherwise they would not be able to negotiate the sharp turns without flying off the track.

Of course, Stadlbauer has original licences for its cars and closely cooperates with the automotive and motor sports industry. In addition to the excellent quality of the products and the love for details, Stadlbauer is recognised for its excellent service. When we took on Carrera, we reinvented the brand,” says Mr. Stadlbauer.

Carrera has entered the digital era, too. Most of the systems are digital today. “Thanks to the digitalization of the systems you can run races with more than two cars and also overtake via switch points just before the curves,” says Mr. Stadlbauer. Recently, the company presented a Carrera App to monitor lap times, count laps, set up the car and much more.

“Slot racing definitely does have a future,” says the Managing Partner. “There is a huge number of Carrera fan clubs. In Germany alone, we have over 4,000 members. Carrera is well-represented on Youtube, too. Often, the Youtube input is initiated by the fans. Youtube is an excellent channel to reach the young target group. At next year’s Spielwarenmesse (toy fair) in Nuremberg, we will present some exiting new features and extensions of our Carrera tracks and cars.”

Stadlbauer was founded by Hermann Stadlbauer in 1953 as a regional wholesaler of plastic and rubber products for leisure and sports activities. It was definitely a milestone in the company’s history, when Stadlbauer took on Carrera in 1999. In 2005, Carrera America came to life.

Today, the portfolio boasts several renowned brands such as Pustefix, Playmobil or Timex. With the acquisition of Pustefix in 2010, the company transformed from a mere wholesaler into a producer. Today, the company’s own products contribute around 60% to the annual turnover.

In 2011, the company opened a subsidiary in Spain. Stadlbauer has a staff of 240, of whom 120 are active at its head office in Salzburg, 25 in Hong Kong and twelve in the USA. The remaining 83 are sales people in Germany. Altogether, the business achieves an annual turnover of around 150 million EUR.

Mr. Stadlbauer looks to the future with confidence. “We will push our own products and enhance our international market position in the coming years. We might also integrate other established brands. In Spring 2016, a Carrera World will open its doors, close to Nuremberg. This will be a huge event and party location. For sure, this will give our Carrera figures another impulse. Today, the big OEMs are talking about electromobility. Our cars have always been driven electronically.”

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