Recent interview with Axel Dietz, CEO of Märklin Holding, new owners of LGB/EPL

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Recent interview with Axel Dietz, CEO of Märklin Holding, new owners of LGB/EPL
Posted by Curmudgeon on Wednesday, August 22, 2007 2:32 PM

 Interview with Axel Dietz, CEO of Märklin Holding and Günter Kopp, LGB-Project Manager as published in "Eisenbahn-Magazin" and "GARTENBAHNprofi"

interview 2007/08/03 wrote:

 

.....

English Translation copied with VERBAL PERMISSION of translator, all rights reserved. Original German text below.

eisenbahn magazin: You mention that Märklin acquired "substantial assets" from Lehmann. How are your future customers to understand this business term - are these in real terms mostly the moulds, in order to soonest resume production?

Märklin: Yes, the moulds and tooling are an intrinsic portion of the purchase. We will also takeover some of the machines contained in the LGB assets, but most of all: Märklin will be able to use the trademark rights based on the purchase agreement which was approved by the creditors' assembly. For the customers that means: There are no changes whatsoever regarding the LGB trademark. 

em: What happens with the moulds which are stored in China - are those part of the "substantial assets"? If not, will you go after those moulds?

Märklin: The China moulds are now also in Märklin's possession. We endeavour to find, as soon as possible, a solution for the Chinese production .

em: What will happen to the subassemblies and finished product which are presently located at Saganer Strasse? Will those remainders in the near-term be shipped to the dealers?   

Märklin: We tookover LGB on August 1st and need first gain insight into the previous business dealings. You can assume that we will deliver finished product that is in inventory as soon as possible, as soon as we have the customer and order data which is stored on the LGB electronic data system. In addition the insolvency trustee, attorney Wirth, will be looking to hire some former LGB employees to complete semi-finished product which is stored at Saganer Strasse, presumably until the end of September. Those goods should rapidly be available to the dealers.   

em: Will you continue to sell LGB products in red boxes, or will these models soon show up in gray and yellow Trix cartons?

Märklin: The red boxes will remain. There will be no changes for the customer other than the new address in Nürnberg. Even though LGB and Trix will in future be found at the same location, LGB will keep its own identity under the umbrella of Märklin Holding. We are presently hiring about 20 employees for "Location Nürnberg", they will take care of engineering, marketing, customer service and distribution of trademark LGB.


em: When can one expect a stepless resumption of the LGB production and what will be your first points of emphasis in the broad product line?

Märklin: In future LGB products will be manufactured within the Märklin production network, the plant in Györ, Hungary will play a major role. The integration of LGB into the production will be a large mission for the coming weeks and will take several months. Depending on the logistical complexity this will vary - afterall there are approximately 2000 moulds involved in the Nürnberg takeover. In addition we already started negotiations with former LGB suppliers as regards the resumption of supplies.

em: Do you already have tangible plans on how the LGB product line should develop? Will there be a tightening of the heretofore broad line, will there be new focal points?

Märklin: The "New Item" program which was originally planned for 2007 will be the basis for 2008. Above all we will get the RhB heavyweight coaches to the production stage. In addition we have further ideas for the LGB line, but it is too early to talk about those. But there will be nice surprises.

em: How will Märklin distribute the LGB products? Will the former LGB distribution structure to a large extent be retained or will the customers soon find the models solely at the authorised Märklin dealer?

Märklin: From our side the LGB distribution structure, which the consumer is accustomed to, will be retained. It makes sense to take care of successful Large Scale dealers and their customers separately. We offer the Large Scale dealers a standalone dealer contract just for LGB. Customers and dealers can assume "Business as usual". 

em:  Is there going to be the accustomed LGB repair service like previously with the Lehmann Patentwerk or do you envision a different model for the hitherto highly regarded customer service?

Märklin: Naturally we will establish a separate LGB customer service. But that too will take a few weeks of preparation, that means the newly formed customer service will only start some time during October. At that point we will also be able to announce the new common location for Trix and LGB in Nürnberg; under one roof, but with completely separate organisations.

em: Herr Dietz, Herr Kopp, we thank you for the interview.

 

eisenbahn magazin: Sie sprechen davon, dass Märklin "wesentliche Aktiva" von Lehmann übernommen hat. Was haben Ihre zukünftigen Kunden unter diesem kaufmännischen Begriff zu verstehen - sind das körperlich vor allem die Formen, um bald wieder produzieren zu können?

Märklin: Ja, die Formen und Werkzeuge sind wesentlicher Bestandteil des Kaufs. Wir werden auch einige Maschinen aus dem Lehmann-Vermögen übernehmen,  vor allem aber:Märklin wird auf Grund des von der Gläubigerversammlung gebilligten Kaufvertrags die Markenrechte an LGB nutzen können. Das heisst für die Kunden: Am Produktnamen LGB ändert sich überhaupt nichts.

em: Was passiert mit den Formen, die in China lagern - zählen diese auch zu den "wesentlichen Aktiva"? Falls nicht, bemühen Sie sich um diese Formen?

Märklin: Die China-Formen sind nun ebenfalls im Besitz von Märklin. Wir sind bemüht, für die Produktion in China eine schnellstmögliche Lösung herbeizuführen.

em: Was wird aus den Vor- und Fertigprodukten, die derzeit noch in der Saganer Strasse lagern? Werden diese Restbestände kurzfristig an den Handel ausgeliefert?

Märklin: Wir haben LGB zum 1. August übernommen und müssen nun erst einmal Einblick in die früheren Geschäftsvorgänge nehmen. Sie können davon ausgehen, dass wir lagernde Fertigware so schnell als möglich ausliefern werden, sobald uns die in der Lehmann-EDV gespeicherten Kunden- und Auftragsdaten vorliegen. Ferner werden durch den Insolvenzverwalter, Herrn Rechtsanwalt Wirth, bis voraussichtlich Ende September noch einige ehemalige LGB-Mitarbeiter am Standort Saganer Strasse beschäftigt, um lagernde Halbfertigprodukte zu komplettieren. Diese Ware wird recht schnell in den Handel kommen.

em: Werden Sie weiterhin LGB-Produkte in roten Schachteln verkaufen, oder stecken diese Modelle bald in grau-gelben Trix-Kartons?

Märklin: Es wird bei den roten Schachteln bleiben. Für den Kunden wird sich bis auf die neue Adresse in Nürnberg nichts ändern. Auch wenn LGB und Trix künftig an einem gemeinsamen neuen Standort zu finden sein werden, wird LGB unter dem Dach der Märklin Holding sein eigenständiges Erscheinungsbild behalten. Am Standort Nürnberg stellen wir derzeit rund 20 Mitarbeiter ein welche sich um Konstruktion, Marketing, Kundendienst und Vertrieb der Marke LGB kümmern werden.

em: Wann ist denn mit einer kontinuierlichen Wiederaufnahme der LGB-Produktion zu rechnen, und wo setzen Sie die ersten Schwerpunkte im breiten Sortiment?

Märklin: LGB-Produkte werden künftig im Märklin-Produktionsverbund hergestellt, da spielt das Werk im ungarischen Györ eine wesentliche Rolle. Die Eingliederung von LGB in unsere Produktion wird eine grosse Aufgabe für die kommenden Wochen sein und einige Monate in Anspruch nehmen. Das wird je nach logistischem Aufwand unterschiedlich dauern - schliesslich haben wir in Nürnberg rund 2000 Formen übernommen. Ausserdem haben wir bereits damit begonnen, mit früheren LGB-Lieferanten über eine Wiederbelieferung zu verhandeln.

em: Haben Sie schon konkrete Vorstellungen, wie sich das LGB-Sortiment weiterentwickeln soll? Ist mit einer Straffung des bislang breiten Sortiments zu rechnen, gibt es neue Schwerpunkte?

Märklin: Das ursprünglich für 2007 angedachte Neuheiten-Programm wird zunächst für 2008 den Grundstock bilden. Vor allem werden wir die RhB-Stahlwagen jetzt zur Produktionsreife bringen. Darüber hinaus haben wir weitere Ideen für die Entwicklung des LGB-Sortiments, doch ist jetzt noch nicht die Zeit darüber zu sprechen. Es wird aber schöne Überraschungen geben.

em: Wie wird Märklin die LGB-Produkte vertreiben? Bleibt die ehemalige LGB-Handelsstruktur weitgehend erhalten oder finden die LGB-Kunden die Modelle bald ausschliesslich beim authorisierten Märklin-Händler?

Märklin: Die vom Kunden gewohnte LGB-Handelsstruktur soll unsererseits so bleiben wie sie ist. Wir bieten den Grossbahn-Händlern eigenständige Händlerverträge für die Marke LGB an. Es macht Sinn erfolgreiche Grossbahn-Händler und deren Kunden weiterhin separat zu betreuen. Kunden und Händler können weiterhin vom Gewohnten ausgehen.

em: Wird es wieder den gewohnten LGB-Reparaturservice geben wie zuvor beim Lehmann Patentwerk, oder schwebt Ihnen ein anderes Modell vor, wie Sie künftig diesen bislang sehr geschätzten Kundendienst organisieren?

Märklin: Natürlich werden wir für die Marke LGB einen eigenen Kundendienst aufbauen. Aber auch das dauert noch einige Wochen der Vorbereitung, so dass der neugeschaffene Kundendienst erst im Laufe des Monats Oktober seine Arbeit aufnehmen wird. Dann können wir auch bekannt geben, wo Trix und LGB in Nürnberg künftig am neuen Standort und unter einem Dach, aber eben völlig getrennt organisiert arbeiten werden.

em: Herr Dietz, Herr Kopp, wir danken für dieses Gespräch.

Hans-Joachim Gilbert

http://www.largescalecentral.com/LSCForums/viewtopic.php?id=7741

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Posted by gtrainman1 on Wednesday, August 22, 2007 2:52 PM

em: How will Märklin distribute the LGB products? Will the former LGB distribution structure to a large extent be retained or will the customers soon find the models solely at the authorised Märklin dealer?

Märklin: From our side the LGB distribution structure, which the consumer is accustomed to, will be retained. It makes sense to take care of successful Large Scale dealers and their customers separately. We offer the Large Scale dealers a standalone dealer contract just for LGB.

 

Customers and dealers can assume "Business as usual". 

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Posted by cabbage on Wednesday, August 22, 2007 2:55 PM
David,

Thank you for providing the original German. It explains so much more.

regards

ralph

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Posted by Curmudgeon on Wednesday, August 22, 2007 3:34 PM

As long as you are aware that this was an interview in Germany, by a German publication, for customers in Germany.

The German distribution is what is remaining intact.

 

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Posted by vsmith on Wednesday, August 22, 2007 4:17 PM
If I'm reading that last comment correctly, if Marklin intends to create its own repair services then how does this effect LGBoA functions?, if they are intent on repeating this in the US market LGBoA will retain nothing, not even the right to repair items.
WOW, I guess they really did get the "Whole Enchilada"

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Posted by TonyWalsham on Wednesday, August 22, 2007 7:24 PM

Hi Ken.

I don't see any mention of distributors.  Just dealers and customers.

Have you seen anything official in writing that says LGBofA will be distributing Maerklin/LGB in the USA?

Best wishes,

Tony Walsham

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Posted by Rene Schweitzer on Thursday, August 23, 2007 10:42 AM
Tony,

The above interview was for the German market. We have not heard anything regarding distribution in the American market, LGBoA or otherwise.

Rene Schweitzer

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Posted by vsmith on Thursday, August 23, 2007 1:02 PM
Indeed, my comment above was in regards to Marklin intending to create its own repair network, and using its own distribution network in Europe, Germieland specificly, and my speculation as to what would happen if they repeat that model here in the US and what effect it might have on LGBoA.
-
To clarify my understanding, to date I have read or heard nothing from either LGBoA or Marklin or other "reliable sources" about the status of LGBoA's position or of any negotiations with Marklin.
-
That ball is still way up in the air, and we'll just have to wait to see where it lands.

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Posted by LGBtrains1963 on Thursday, August 23, 2007 4:36 PM
It seems to me that LGB of America will not have anymore to do with the product line (LGB) here in the states in the near future, Marklin had a american seller in New Berlin, WI.. , The reason I say that is because all that was posted on there web-site is now gone, Such as new production of items (0-6-0 Steam Locomotive), the post on trademark rights and where the company would go in the future, I look for LGA of America to change it's name and start a production of it's own line of products.. It would not be so hard for them due to the network of companies they already had dealings with.. I also think that Marklin will not make much american style items in the future.. If someone knows more about all this, they need to post this information here on this sight.... Thanks, Mark Ryan.. P.S. Piko might be the next LGB there looking at, PIKO of America...
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Posted by LGBtrains1963 on Thursday, August 23, 2007 7:39 PM
Back Again,,,, The reason I said Piko is due to the fact that they have got into making loco's and they have a lot of LGB feel and looks.. Marklin Maxi's has had no great sales at all in the United States, even though it is not a bad product, they cost to much and do not have a realistic look at all.... Plus the Maxi's was AC powered... LGB of America needs to let it's customers know whats going on and why has there been no post on there site about the sale of LGB/ELP to Marklin.. It look's to be all up in the air with us in the states.... Thanks, Mark Ryan
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Posted by Curmudgeon on Thursday, August 23, 2007 8:38 PM

Mark-

Very carefully, here.

Märklin got the whole thing.

They will be re-introducing the line as we know it, near as we can tell.

Their other LS stuff is FS 1:32, not in the same league.

The purchase of the LGB line was to complete their line. Prior to the purchase, they had already stated that with or without it they would enter the Garden Railroad hobby.

Don't go believing the rhetoric you hear. It is becoming quite apparent to most that some are attempting to derail this endeavour, and to discredit the new company.

Just hang in there.

The grown-ups are now fully in charge.

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Posted by LGBtrains1963 on Thursday, August 23, 2007 9:26 PM
I think Marklin is a great company, I know there HO scale is very great running loco's and cars and the Z scale as well... But most of there items have not been North American Phototypes in there companies history, But I can say with the Trix buyout there was more North American Phototypes made... I think that LGB needs to make more American Locomotives, Such as a 2-8-4 Berkshire that no one has made in the market, or a GP18 with and without D-Brakes.. There is so many, I know it cost money for all that tooling but I think LGB had feel behind and other companies such as USA, Aristocraft past them up on phototypes.. This fall behind did not happen over night, it has been going on for about 9 to 11 years.. The mogul is a great loco but it was time to move on to another engine.... I collect LGB and I have wished for more new types of Loco's... The Amtrak Genesis looked like it was starting to go that way when the bottom fell out.... I hope Marklin will be open to the American type loco's and cars.... Thanks, Mark Ryan
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Posted by LGBtrains1963 on Wednesday, September 05, 2007 10:58 PM
LGB of America now has Piko G track... It looks more and more as I stated last week on LGB of America on this forum here.. Did anyone read the ad from Watts Train Shop by David Watts in the October Garden Railways? Prices also looked to have jumped up on all LGB items, not just track.... Where does it go from here? LGB of America=Piko of America.... Just a thought!
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Posted by LGBtrains1963 on Wednesday, September 05, 2007 11:09 PM
Why was there no print on LGB in garden Railways other than the ad from Watts Train Shop, I could not find nothing about LGB and what has been going on with that company, LGB got G scale where it is today and also raised the standards of all scales in the way they was made. I think that would be big news in the magazine and would have something in print in the last few months about the matter.. I find this to be very odd in a hobby where we only have about 5 major players (not counting mom and pops) who make G scale trains... It's Just Odd...
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Posted by vsmith on Thursday, September 06, 2007 2:55 PM

The latest issue has a full page add by LGBoA advertising the new line of Piko track, it also had the old LGB logo. Interesting, given Marklins claim to the trademarks, guess well have to see how this shakes out next few months, also the G45 logo was in the lower corner. Sign of things to come? Just wonderin' 

Worried about only 5 makers, ever looked at Z gauge? theres Marklin, Microtrains, and uhhh...hmmm Wink [;)]

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Posted by Mark E on Friday, September 14, 2007 8:35 PM

I completely agree with your observations regarding the obvious absence of information regarding this LGB issue in Garden Railways.  I was happier to see the ad from Watts Train Shop than any other article, letter or column I have ever read in Garden Railways.  Finally, some small piece of information.

Regardless of how you feel about them, this company has been the dominant force in the hobby for over the past three decades.  Granted, there is probably legal stuff that limits what can be said, AND you dont want to perpetuate rumor, but don't act like nothing is going on.

GR should feature a major exclusive interview with BOTH Marklin and LGBoA, and set the record straight. 

 

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Posted by Curmudgeon on Friday, September 14, 2007 10:52 PM

The grown-ups are now in charge.

When they have something to tell you, they will.

I have been told there are some legal issues being worked on, and thankfully we have not been bombarded with spurious press releases as thing work out.

It will all come out in the end.

 

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