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1958 - A Year to Forget

Part 15

Victory had by now reached a critical phase in its development. It was still a very small company and its resources were becoming ever more stretched by the growing demand for its products. The additional burden of the VIP slot car sets took things to breaking point. During the autumn of 1957 the board considered various options finally deciding that the best way to cope with the companies expansion was to go into affiliation with a larger, more experienced operator. So it was that in January 1958 Victory announced just such a partnership with the Trix Company of model railway fame. Trix would handle Victory’s future distribution and marketing, leaving Victory to handle design, development and manufacture.

The partnership proved to be an ill-judged and costly mistake. The Trix model railway company had been running at a loss for some time when in 1957 it was acquired by another company called Ewart Holdings. The Ewart Holdings group had embarked upon an ambitious course of change and expansion entirely financed by further loans and overdrafts. Despite spending a lot of money converting the Trix model railway system from AC to DC and thus making it compatible with other similar gauge systems, sales and profits had further declined. By the end of September 1958 the banks had become dissatisfied with the groups performance and decided to call in all their overdrafts. Unable to meet their debts, the banks petitioned for a winding up order and Trix went into receivership. All of which left Victory high and dry in the run up to Christmas with very few orders on the books, struggling to reorganise sales and distribution.

Although Victory had a considerable claim against the official receiver, finances were very tight and the company ended what would certainly have been a boom year otherwise with a net loss

Testimony to a very ill-judged partnership

If the problems with the Trix partnership weren't enough, Victory also found themselves suddenly in direct competition with Tri-ang, one of the worlds largest toy companies. Tri-ang had introduced a very similar range of 1/20 scale battery powered plastic model cars under their Minic label beginning with the MGA in November 1957. Unlike Victory's models the Tri-ang cars weren't promotional items but as they were all current British cars must have raised the question amongst the car manufacturers 'Why bother to pay Victory for their services when Tri-ang are doing it for free?' With a huge worldwide turnover, Tri-ang could afford to produce loss-leading products wherever it saw potential growth and with diminishing sales of its Minic tin-plate toys, needed to find new lines for that factory. The Minic 1/20 range benefited from Tri-ang’s ability to invest in the very latest manufacturing equipment and without doubt put an end to further promotional model cars from Victory.

 

The competition!

 

1959 - Road to Recovery

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