There’s some great news for fans of Japanese diecast. Tomica cars will soon be available in the United States, at Walmart stores. “Having sold more than a half a billion units around the world, Tomica is known for luxury premium design, stylized details and more moveable parts than other diecast collectibles,” Tomy International’s PR team’s Scott Goldberg said in an email. It’s true Tomicas often have opening doors and great detail, but the for the current generation of collectors, unlike in the 80s, the real draw is the subject matter — Japanese cars.
This isn’t the first time in recent memory that Tomica has tried to make inroads to the US market. In 2010, they made a return to the US market after a 23-year absence, but they were exclusive to Toys R Us stores, but the iconic toy retailer was gutted by investors in 2017. Before that, Tomica were available in the us from 1974-83, rebranded as Pocket Cars.
For the initial Walmart roll-out, Tomica will be available in two waves of six vehicles each. According to Tomy International’s website, three of them will be a Subaru BRZ, Suzuki Swift and, unaccountably, an Isuzu Giga Fried Potato truck. According to Mac Ragan, the three remaining cars in the first wave include the Mazda CX-5, Toyota GR Prius, and Nissan GT-R. UPDATE: the second wave will include: Mitsubishi Outlander, Toyota C-HR, Lexus RC-F, Nissan Note, Subaru Impreza, Hino truck with pandas.
Of course, that’s a far cry from the 120-vehicle lineup that is available in Japan (and that’s just the basic cars, to say nothing of the endless special editions, premium, and Limited Vintage cars). This is likely a “testing the waters” scenario to see if there’s a future for Tomica in the US. The cars will retail for $4.99 each and will be available this month.
Not really interested in Tomica mainlines, what I’d really like to see is proper distribution and promotion of Tomica Limited Vintage outside of asia. That stuff is JNC dream material.
You forgot to mention Tomica Premium
Don’t particularly care for premium either, it’s nice enough, but it’s not consistent scale. TLV is on another level, which is reflected in its price of course. The subject matter is often more interesting from a retro japanese point of view too.
Give it time. Maybe it’ll happen in our lifetimes.
Until then, see Chris’s post below for one source in the USA.
I’m not in the US, but I’d see TLV getting outside Asia on an official level as an encouraging start. Maybe the F40 release (which is spectacular, even if not a JNC) will give the brand a bit of a push. In Europe for example, hobby shops can be a bit snobby about 1/64, seeing it as a “toy scale” (which is silly, I appreciate unscaled 3inch toys cars too, just prefer scaled, and what’s wrong with collecting “toys”). A distributor I buy from in the Netherlands has starting offering one or two TLV releases, hope he adds more in time.
The licensing issue is odd because I definitely have a Kinsfun Mazda Premacy windup and go car that I bought from Walgreens on my desk at work right now.
With Wallmart in the game, maybe we will have common sense pricing from the resellers at car shows like JCCS.
I ordered a few Tomica cars from Amazon Japan. I started planning to pick up some of the Tomica Town Build City stuff as well…but I could see that spiraling out of control quickly…my wife retaliating by going to Kohl’s…and soon we have an empty bank account. So I stuck with just an AE86, ST165, 2000GT and 86 for the time being. But those pictures are getting me tempted again.
Any isuzu bellett available?
Welcome tomica, we just came back from Tokyo with 12 tomicas, and as of today, I got from Walmart the giga potato for my son and the Suzuki for me, but please Tomy bring the police cars on black and white do not change the colors
I was very excited about this until I read $4.99 for main line cars. That’s a bit hard to swallow. I’d only want to pay that much for Limited or vintage models. Which is why I only ever bought two Tomicas when they were available at TRU.
Tomika Limited issues go for from 500 yen to 1200 yen in Japan. That’s about $5 to $12 US.
$4.99 is just a little bit more than what they sell for in Japan, so quite reasonable really.
New TLV and TLV-N are more now than they used to be, with MSRP starting at around 2,400 JPY, or just over $22 USD, although better prices can be found if you shop around (but you will still need to factor in shipping).
Nice to have increased access to Tomica in the US since the demise of Toys R Us (the Lane Motor Museum, in Nashville, TN, sells some Tomica models in their gift shop) though one does hope Tomica doesn’t suffer the same fate in dealing with Walmart as Vlasic did with the infamous gallon jar of pickles :/
Thanks for the mention!
keep in mind that toys r us has resurrected
The timing should be right for Tomica to establish a permanent presence in the U.S. market. The increase in demand for diecast Japanese cars has been climbing rapidly in recent years.
Now for the shameless plug…
Lane Motor Museum in Nashville, Tennessee is an authorized retailer for Tomica Limited Vintage and Limited Vintage Neo series. We currently have 13 models in stock. We don’t have an online shop, but you’re welcome to visit us Thursday-Monday, 10-5, and buy to your heart’s content and see our collection. Be sure to visit on a weekend to have a chance to take a vault tour and see another 300-350 cars and motorcycles. (Click my name for the website.)
Here’s a list of the first 12 vehicles…
Suzuki Swift Sport
Toyota Prius Sport
Isuzu truck with Giga fries
Hino truck with Pandas
*Isuzu Giga with Giga fries (seems legit)
The only odd choice there is the Suzuki; all the others are cars seen on American roads (and the novelty trucks). I’m surprised they didn’t go with something like a Honda Fit instead.
Strange pick I think for the US market. Most American kids don’t know these cars and in the case of the Prius probably hate it. Why not their American cars, Ferraris, Lambos, Porsches, etc. These are what US boys are dreaming about not an Imprezza or Prius!
Ten consecutive hallelujahs from this Japanophile atheist!!!! The best news I’ve read all week. I’ll buy three of each one release here–one for the 5-year-old, one for my office display, and one extra to simply encourage Tomy to keep the taps flowing. Bring us all the cars!
Jazzed beyond belief.
P.S., my son also loves Plarail, Tomy 🙂
Just an observation but those Lego like figures will not fit in the cars.
I bought a bunch of Tomica JDM cars in Japan in 2017 and they don’t look that great compared to Hot Wheels and especially not M2 Machines.