Spielwarenmesse: Interview with MULTIPLEX: Model construction and the dream of flying

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Interview with MULTIPLEX: Model construction and the dream of flying

from Ulrich Texter

Being close to your customers and to the retail trade is essential in model sport. In its 56-year history, the firm MULTIPLEX has always succeeded in setting the standard with innovative products like radio control systems and ready-to-fly models made from high-tech foam. But are innovations and a commitment to “model sport” sufficient to survive in a keenly contested market? Thomas Peter, Marketing Manager at MULTIPLEX, told us about the current state of affairs.

Spielwarenmesse®: Mr Peter, the term MULTIPLEX is used in, for example, telecommunications, when several signals are bundled and transmitted at the same time via a medium. In giving the firm this name, was the intention from the start to make clear that MULTIPLEX stands for high-tech and sport-orientated top performance?

Thomas Peter: MULTIPLEX is one of the pioneers in the field of remote control, and the name stands for quality, German engineering skills, sustainability and service focused on our customers.

Germany’s best known economist, Hans-Werner Sinn, spoke of the German bazaar economy, because many goods that Germany sells globally incorporate components produced abroad. Your boast is Engineered & Made in Germany. Can you really say that?

T.P.: We’ve still got them at MULTIPLEX – products 100 % Made in Germany! But of course we’ve also got products where some of the components or services come from outside Germany, which is what we commonly find in the modern economy. Our priority is ensuring that our products stand for independence plus a distinctive character.

Quatrocopters are currently among the favourite high-tech toys, but they aren’t there in the MULTIPLEX programme. Is there a reason for that?

T.P.: In Germany we sell exclusively the TRAXXAS brand. And with the Spielwarenmesse® innovation in 2014 – LaTrax ALIAS – we also have quatrocopters in our product range.

MULTIPLEX talks about “model sport”. Are you worried that you could run out of sportsmen, because encouraging the upcoming generation for your brand has fallen by the wayside?

T.P.: This question addresses two issues: model making/model sport and enthusing the next generation. One hundred per cent model making doesn’t exist any more. We’ve got to have products in our range that have a high degree of prefabrication. But despite that we’ll continue to offer model construction kits and have the right product for the customer who wants to build his individually designed and equipped model. Which is not a model off the peg! Beginners or people coming back to the hobby can find what they are looking for in our RTF range and, thanks to the compatibility of MULTIPLEX systems, move up from there. Optional gyro-systems make flying easier, and our free flight simulator is ideally suited for training.

Looking through your catalogue, we came across a number of “kids products“. How does MULTIPLEX’s encouragement of the upcoming generation differ from that of your competitors?
 
T.P.: We organize starter days with specialist stores and model-flying schools. When we do this, we always try to involve the specialist retailer so that he retains his customers long-term and they stay loyal to the MULTIPLEX brand.

Traditional companies are slipping into insolvency, some have been taken over
and other companies are entering the market. It’s as if the cards are being reshuffled. Where do you see MULTIPLEX in this process of consolidation and restructuring?


T.P.: We – MULTIPLEX and HITEC – see ourselves as a stable partner of the specialist retailer, standing by him in difficult times and offering a high-quality and independent product range.

With the MULTIflight plus Set, you are offering a system that enables the buyer to carry out dry-runs on a PC and then to demonstrate what he has learned on an actual model. Is this the way to encourage the younger generation to take up model sport?

T.P.: Yes – it’s an important tool. Nowadays it’s no longer just the model flying clubs that train people for model flying sport. This puts everyone in a position where they can familiarize themselves with RC flying and continue to the point of perfection. This will motivate new customers to have a go at the fascinating hobby of model flying and then, we hope, to continue with it long-term!

 

Author of this article:

Ulrich Texter

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