DETROIT, MI – While major American car makers General Motors and Ford are phasing out SUVs and larger model cars and moving to the small car market, Hot Wheels, a division of Mattel, announced today it will move up from the tiny car market it dominates and begin making small passenger vehicles. Called “Cool Wheels,” the cars will be about the size of a Honda Fit, made from die-cast lightweight aluminum and – like their toy counterparts – run on gravity and centrifugal force, thus requiring no fuel whatsoever.
“Since the only moving parts are the front and rear axels attached to rubber wheels, we can build a Cool Wheels car in about five minutes,” said Max Freemint, CEO of Cool Wheels and owner of one of the largest Hot Wheels collections in the world. “That means we can begin shipping new models immediately.” Freemint revealed that the company already has over 10,000 orders from buyers in San Francisco, a perfect market for the tiny car. “Gravity takes you to work and a strong grip on the rear end of a cable car gets you home,” says Freemint.
People living in flatter cities will have to wait for the optional orange plastic track, scheduled to be available third quarter 2008. It will be attached to the roof of a garage, allowing the garage door to lift the lightweight car to the top. With the custom torsion bar suspension providing a nearly frictionless wheel spin, a Cool Wheel released down the slope can go 50 miles before needing to find a hill or a loop-the-loop. Drivers with longer commutes can purchase the battery-powered Supercharger which fits in the trunk and provides dozens of high-speed power boosts using two AA batteries, not included.
“Our target market is guys who were kids in the 70’s and 80’s and played with Hot Wheels,” says Cool Wheels marketing director Vince Colgrate. “They’ll love the flames painted on the sides and the quiet ride that allows them to make their own hot rod noises while driving.” The $500 base price makes Cool Wheels attractive to teenagers and the lack of an engine or any other parts requiring maintenance makes it the perfect car for women who hate dealing with auto mechanics. Colgrate does not expect to sell many cars to drivers over 50, whose main memory of Hot Wheels is stepping on them barefoot in the dark. If sales exceed first year projections of 250,000, Mattel may follow up with a larger version of the Matchbox toy car line called the Hatchbox.
Calls to Ford headquarters for comments on the Cool Wheels announcement went unanswered, although one reporter claims he heard sobbing in the background. An anonymous executive at GM says the company is hoping to compete in this market by ripping the engines and drive trains out of the hundreds of thousand of unsold Suburbans and Hummers currently sitting in dealer lots.