Majorette is celebrating its 50th anniversary! The French brand for toy cars has
been part of the Simba Dickie Group since 2010. Division Director Markus Hirsch gives us an insight into the past and present of Majorette.
You’ve no doubt come up with something really special to mark the anniversary. What can children and
fans look forward to?
Markus Hirsch: At Christmas time there will be a special set with 15 toy cars, five of them coloured in gold. In France there will be a competition to win a real Citroën. We will also be giving away trips, for example to the Porsche and Mercedes museum in Stuttgart/Germany, and various non-cash prizes. We have also developed extra branding for all anniversary articles.
What were the most important moments in the 50-year history?
Markus Hirsch: Emile Véron founded the company in 1961 and initially sold model railways, and then from 1964 onwards model cars as well (see box). In 1980, the company took over competitor Solido. A production site in Thailand opened in 1987. From the 1990s onwards, Majorette had various owners, and since 2010 has belonged to the Simba Dickie Group. We still produce in Thailand today: we operate a factory north of Bangkok with 600 members of staff. Following a flood, 2012 saw the Simba Dickie Group invest heavily in new machinery and tools. We possess excellent production expertise in our state-of-the-art factory. Our product range is very broad. We not only produce model cars, but also monster trucks, motorcycles, aeroplanes and much more. One particularly popular product at the moment are our Klikcarz. A variety of accessories, such as the toy trains from Marvel, parking garages and play carpets round off our product pectrum.
Where is Majorette best known?
Markus Hirsch: In France, every child knows Majorette. The brand is also very well known in western and southern Europe. There are also long-standing branches in South America, Russia and the Middle East that have established Majorette very well in the local markets.
What have you done since the 2010 takeover to raise brand awareness for
Majorette in other countries?
Markus Hirsch: The Simba Dickie Group has branches around the world and
our employees are tackling this very strongly from the sales side. What’s more,
we have expanded our product mix to make it appealing worldwide. The range
used to focus largely on France, comprising mainly of Renaults, Peugeots and Citroëns. We continue to focus on these, but we have also internationalised
the product assortment. There are now German, Asian and American cars. Furthermore, we have made major inroads in the licensing segment, for example the Spiderman cars. And there are the Klikcarz, which allow children to build cars themselves by combining various parts in any way they like.
Why are children so fascinated by cars?
Markus Hirsch: They want to re-enact what they see on the street. And Majorette offers everything that goes with this, such as car parks, fire stations and petrol stations from the modular product world Creatix. The huge allure of cars also lies
in their speed: anything fast is appealing to children!
Majorette founder Emile Véron, who
was born in 1925, started out as an
entrepreneur in a garage – and ended
up managing a company with 3,000
employees. In 1961, he founded toy
company Rail-Route, which launched
the Majorette cars in 1964. Because
these quickly became popular, he renamed the company after them in 1967. “He loved manufacturing products in huge quantities and at the lowest cost, so that he could make as many children
in the world happy as possible”, says his son Alexandre. Véron established subsidiaries in eleven countries and set up a factory in Thailand. “He was more
of an entrepreneur than business man”, says Alexandre Véron. “And he valued his employees extremely highly.” In 1992, he left Majorette and went into politics. Emile Véron passed away last year.