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Ebbro Models Bankruptcy Brings Up Important Questions for Diecast Market

As comedian Goerge Carlin once said, “You can’t have everything, because where would you put it?”

As much as diecast collectors want to acquire as many models as they can, in reality, we only have so much shelf space in our displays. And retailers, be they online or brick-and-mortar, only have so much room to carry inventory. So occasionally, a model car company goes out of business.

MARonline logoEbbro, a Japanese diecast maker, recently declared bankruptcy, according to an article from Model Auto Review Online. MAR Online’s article is a worthy read with more details than we’ll discuss here, but let’s talk about what happens when a company like this goes under.

First, we don’t take any joy in reporting this kind of news. Ebbro made some terrific large-scale Lotus and McLaren Formula 1 kits, as well as a range of mostly Japanese 1/43 cars. The cars weren’t cheap but were priced temptingly for serious collectors.

Price points are of course important to survival in the hobby. Collectors are willing to pay a small fortune for a limited-run model of an unusual car, but only to a degree. And only so many collectors want models of certain obscure vehicles. On the other hand, it takes as much work to create molds to produce one copy of a model as it does to use it to make hundreds or even thousands of copies. 

Gauging desirability for an obscure model is a tricky subject. Sure, you can make a model of the ever-popular 1957 Chevy BelAir, but there are hundreds to choose from already, so is there enough demand for one more? On the other hand, there aren’t a lot of 1960 Nissan Cedric models out there, but how many collectors even know what that is?

Ebbro reportedly lost some of its licenses to other diecast brands, which must have put a squeeze on their finances. On the other hand, it’s not uncommon for a company to buy molds and licenses from a defunct company, so maybe some of their models will live on from other brands.

Ebbro had in recent years been promising a slew of new products, only to have delay after delay stretching years. Once a company gets a reputation for overpromising and underdelivering, retailers and consumers lose interest.


Right now, their website seems to have gone dark. There is an Ebbro retailer on Amazon that has quite a bit of product for sale, but now you have to wonder if these cars are actually in stock or if they ever will be. We don’t want to cast aspersions on how legitimate any online listings are, but if you’re shopping for Ebbro, be aware of their circumstances. Also, the prices may drop in a clearance move, or they may go up due to rarity.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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