SBJ/April 2 - 8, 2007/This Weeks News

Fisher-Price race cars coming soon to a neighborhood near you

Who would buy a race car that goes 5 mph? Fisher-Price believes a lot of parents will.

Beginning in May, Junior will be able to
drive like Dale Earnhardt Jr. as long as
his car’s battery holds out.

The toy company is in the final stages of negotiations to acquire a NASCAR license to produce battery-operated race cars for children.

Beginning in May, Fisher-Price expects to have the cars, produced under its line of “Power Wheels,” available at retail for a suggested price of about $220 each. The mini-vehicles with engine sound effects will normally feature two gears to achieve speeds of 2.5 or 5 mph, plus reverse.

A 12-volt battery and charger will be included, and the car is recommended for children ages 3 and up.

Initial plans call for Fisher-Price to create cars with the authentic look of those driven by Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Distribution will include most of the major retailers, including Wal-Mart, Kmart, Toys “R” Us and others.

“From a kid’s perspective, this is about the fantasy of becoming the driver and role-playing,” said Chris Pardi, director of marketing for Fisher-Price’s line of “Power Wheels.”

“When you look at our battery-operated ride-ons, NASCAR seemed like a logical move for us. When you look at NASCAR’s demographics and the strength and growth of the brand, it’s a very desirable license.”

Pardi said he thought this was the first time Fisher-Price had acquired a license from a pro sports league or series, although it does produce football and basketball games under the ESPN brand.

In addition to the “Power Wheels,” Fisher-Price is working to obtain a license to create “Shake ’n Go” cars with authentic NASCAR looks. These hand-held cars for preschoolers are designed to be shaken by the child; the more it shakes, the faster it goes.

Terms of Fisher-Price’s license were not available.

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