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Kato. Are they going to produce Siemens Venture cars to compliment the chargers?


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Shinchipboard

Kato have produced (IMHO) fine Amtrak locomotives and Passenger cars and with the imminent release of "Charger" locomotives I hope we will see The matching Siemens passenger cars. They may not have phases like the Amfleet cars but they have been painted in several liveries already. I know there may be detail differences between Brightline and say Via Rail but if the coaches use the same frame I for one would rather they produced a generic coach in different colour schemes. It's N scale after all and any differences would be hard to see at normal viewing distances. I notice that some have one door others have two but there seems to be a door blank anyway so that makes multi versions simpler?

 

Here's hoping

 

Doug

 

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On 11/25/2022 at 2:33 PM, bill937ca said:

From what I have Kato's production and Kato USA is driven by the wants of the Japanese market.

I don't have any evidence, but that sounds really stupid in my opinion. Just as American trains dominates US market (I know I'm kind of in the middle of nowhere, but I would say that I typically see 5~10% of modelers collect foreign types in shows and clubs), I wouldn't expect a lot of Japanese sales of foreign types when there is a huge amount of local product available.

If you look at the pricing, Kato USA trains are more expensive than their Japanese ones, sometimes double the price, which would further limit sales in Japan. However that also means the items brings more profit when sold oversea. And consider the fact that Kato started making USA trains earlier than they do Japanese trains, I would be really surprised to learn that they make USA trains based on Japanese market.

That being said, the molding & manufacture design and production amounts might actually be driven by the Japanese factory, since they all share the same workers and facilities.

 

(I might be just as stupid so please do forgive me if anything opposite comes up😜)

Edited by Nozomi329
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There have been Kato overseas distributors that have felt their suggestions were never listened too. This is not a new line of thought. The export market is only about 30% of Kato sales. Export would include Europe, UK and USA. An important consideration is that are actually two Kato companies. The first,  Sekisui Metals Co., does engineering and model design. I don't know how much contact they have with the outside world. The other company is a marketing company that sales the models. That is Kato Co. Ltd and presumably Kato USA fits in somewhere with Kato. Co. Ltd.

 

The 50th anniversary in 2007 was actually the engineering company. Model trains came along after Sekisui Metals was founded.

 

https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/関水金属

 

You might have better success with Rapido models as they do periodically entertain new model requests through their Facebook page.

Edited by bill937ca
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From the folks I’ve heard a lot from over the years that have worked at katousa, it’s not been the case that Kato japan decides what to make for katousa, it’s more of a limit on how much they can do. Katousa has been kept at a certain size of the mothership for years and it seems katousa at times felt like they could be bigger in the us market and do more trains. Mr Kato every few years does seem to pick a particular us favorite of his to do and usually in conjunction with some event or society. I think this is just something fun and personal for him (it’s a family run company) as well as a bit of a publicity stunt and gets him some fun trips. But on the whole I think katousa is squarely focused on what will sell best in the us market. 
 

jeff

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4 hours ago, cteno4 said:

From the folks I’ve heard a lot from over the years that have worked at katousa, it’s not been the case that Kato japan decides what to make for katousa, it’s more of a limit on how much they can do. Katousa has been kept at a certain size of the mothership for years and it seems katousa at times felt like they could be bigger in the us market and do more trains. 
 

jeff

Kato is a family held business, not a multi-national corporation or publicly traded corporation.

Edited by bill937ca
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5 hours ago, bill937ca said:

new model requests through their Facebook page

Kato USA used to have a voting program for potential new products. Big boy and the new chargers were among the options if I remembered correctly, although their website restructured and that section is no longer there.

Rapido‘'s N scale progress is probably even slower than Kato...assuming they can get their truck side plates correct.

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42 minutes ago, bill937ca said:

Kato is a family held business, not a multi-national corporation or publicly traded corporation.

Why I mentioned in the post it’s a family held/run company. Katousa is just their us branch of the company. It’s size has been kept in limits to the whole size of Kato total. But katousa runs their business for the North America stuff, but all overseen by Kato mothership. Not your usual setup.

 

jeff

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I’d imagine they’ll see how well the chargers sell before committing to further tooling. But they tend to look at what products compliment their existing range so it probably is likely if there’s a lot of demand for the n scale locos. 

 

USA product seems to be released sporadically and takes a long time for products to be reproduced. 

 

But I don’t think the consideration is for the Japanese market, nor do I think the chargers would sell well here unless to those with specific US outline interest. The older American named trains they’ve done IMO have more international appeal even for those not necessarily into American railroads.

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I'd point out the venture coaches are (currently) amtrak's planned replacement for almost all of their existing fleet, both regional and national.  Should this come to pass it will be a question of if, not when kato makes venture coaches to stay relevant with existing amtrak trains.  I suspect we'll see only national level trainsets similar to the superliner and amfleet coaches, as kato usually does not make region specific coaches for US releases.  It may not happen anytime soon, as it will be years before they replace the existing coaches in amtraks fleet.

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On 11/25/2022 at 9:04 PM, bill937ca said:

There have been Kato overseas distributors that have felt their suggestions were never listened too. This is not a new line of thought. The export market is only about 30% of Kato sales. Export would include Europe, UK and USA. An important consideration is that are actually two Kato companies.

 

 

Would an external modelling company have any luck striking a deal with KATO to supply motor and traction packs?

 

I'm thinking of Arlo Micromodels and their (rumoured) Portuguese N scale collection. It would be nice if they used Asian traction components.

Everyone here in the N scale community praises KATO's motors. They're treated as diamonds.

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KATO USA does seem to do a lot of US stuff -- especially on the locomotive side.  They have all sorts of locomotive styles in all sorts of liveries (railroads).  I am not heavily invested in US railroads, but do have 4 KATO Union Pacific locomotives (SD70Ace and ES44 or something like that) in 4 different liveries and numbers.  I also have several sets of the 53' double stack well car sets in a few names (BNSF, TTX, etc) but otherwise don't do much US.  Looking at the KATO site, they have Amtrack, Metra, Virginia liveries for various types of passenger rolling stock.   Locomotives as well as far as I can see.  (And KATO Kobo custom shop periodically releases customized versions like the Utah FrontRunner).

 

Even though my few US are freight, I don't know much about freight but they do cover a few bases as far as I can tell in various railroads...

 

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On 11/28/2022 at 5:48 AM, Giugiaro said:

 

 

Would an external modelling company have any luck striking a deal with KATO to supply motor and traction packs?

 

I'm thinking of Arlo Micromodels and their (rumoured) Portuguese N scale collection. It would be nice if they used Asian traction components.

Everyone here in the N scale community praises KATO's motors. They're treated as diamonds.

If you go look at Kato's own history website, they started as a subcontractor for other companies.

In Europe they obviously sell a lot of European specified items under "Kato-Hobbytrain-Lemke". Glacier express series have Noch numbers on the boxes. Actually many European brands have some sort of cooperative relations between each other.

I heard that Kato once produced HO Southern Pacific SD45(or 40T?) for Atlas in the US. Kato actually sold complete power units with motor, main frame, and bogies, although based on Japanese trains and not sure if they still do that now.

Edited by Nozomi329
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On 11/25/2022 at 9:05 PM, Nozomi329 said:

And consider the fact that Kato started making USA trains earlier than they do Japanese trains

I doubt that 😄

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Kato was founded in 1957. According to Hiroshi Kato the first train released was a C50 at 1965. Its first North American prototype was done in 1967 for Concor (Alco PA1-A/B), so while they started early in NA protyprs for Concor and Atlas, they obviously started with Japanese prototypes first. KatoUSA came along in 1986 and they started doing their own thing for NA market. Their KatoUSA business has always been kept at like 30% of their total business.

 

jeff

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Yeah I have not seen goodminfo of what they were 1957 - 1965 but I expect it was machining parts and mechs for others. I have some vague memory their first focus was machining from something I read somewhere.

 

jeff

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Shinchipboard

Thank you for all the replies. I can only wonder at the level of interest there is in modern US passenger prototypes in the US itself (in N). It seems like more of a collector's market. There are a hell of a lot of Kato Charger and p42 variants but no toasters or Amfleet cabs. It is hard to run an operation based modern Amtrak model railway off of the shelf.

Maybe the Bachmann venture cars in HO will stimulate the market!?!?!?!?!

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