12.01.2021 Press conference 2021

During the annual press conference, the management of Sonneberg-based model train manufacturer PIKO reported on the sales development of the past year and presented the attractive new products program as well as the planning for 2021 to the media representatives.

1.   Sales development in 2020

PIKO owner Dr. René F. Wilfer was visibly pleased to be able to report a very successful year 2020 at PIKO to the guests present at the press conference.

The Corona pandemic has posed enormous challenges to the model railroad industry, both on the procurement side, but especially on the retail side. The associated changes will continue at least into the first ½ year of 2021.

But also, the consumers showed in the pandemic - of necessity - a different behavior. And this provided the model railroad industry with a significant boost: as compensation for all the restrictions and measures, many people once again dedicated themselves intensively to their "model railroad" hobby. For PIKO, this led to a strong increase in demand and track sales rose significantly, which indicates expansion projects at the model railroad layouts of PIKO customers. In addition, however, the model railroad scene in 2020 is likely to have been expanded by many newcomers. This combination of active model railroaders, re-entrants and newcomers boosted the sales at PIKO.

The significantly higher than calculated sales and the associated increased demand, demanded maximum performance from the production, which is why neither short-time work or staff reductions were necessary at PIKO. On the contrary, PIKO had to run extra shifts both in Sonneberg and in the plant in China to satisfy the increased demand. Thank God, PIKO did not have any Corona cases to complain about.

All in all, PIKO ended the year 2020 with an increase of + 14.6 % over the previous year's sales.

In addition to the pandemic-driven concentration of PIKO customers on their hobby "model railroad", attractive and high-quality new products, PIKO's ability to deliver and the very good price-performance ratio of PIKO products also contributed to this pleasing sales growth.

Thus, the positive growth of the last years could be continued in 2020. A growth, which brought PIKO a plus of enormous + 47,7 % in the last 3 years.

As a result, it is not surprising that the Sonneberg model train manufacturer PIKO was able to further consolidate and even expand its position as the third largest model train manufacturer on the European mainland.

In Germany, the largest market for PIKO with a sales share of 2/3 of total sales, the successful development of the last years could be continued with an increase of + 14.5 % compared to the previous year. The German specialized trade is the most important sales channel, with an increase of + 20%.

In exports, PIKO also succeeded in 2020 with a plus of + 15 % above the sales of the previous year.

PIKO was able to achieve significant sales growth in 2020 in countries with their own sales organizations, such as the USA, Poland, Russia and the Netherlands. But also, in the Czech Republic, in Italy, in Switzerland, in Hungary or in France and Belgium, in countries where PIKO products are distributed by importers, sales developed very positively. The Czech Republic was even awarded the in-house title: "PIKO Export Nation 2020". Here, PIKO succeeded in further increasing sales and expanding its market position through intensive support of the local dealers as well as through active marketing and attractive regional innovations.

In recent years, PIKO has thus developed into a reliable partner on the model railroad market worldwide. The trader as well as the consumers honor this through their buying behavior. More and more model railroaders are becoming fans of the PIKO brand and enjoy the well-known good price-performance ratio as well as the excellent quality of the PIKO models in the 4 sizes H0, the garden railroad, N and TT.

An important component of this successful development was and is the good and stable supply of goods to the traders as well as the on-time delivery of the announced new items. Despite the difficult situation, all PIKO employees were able to ensure this in 2020 with great commitment both in Sonneberg, where the complete garden railway range is produced, and in Chashan in southern China, where all N, TT and a large part of the H0 articles are manufactured.

The good sales results in the domestic market as well as in export led to the fact that PIKO made a profit in 2020 and is thus well positioned to face the challenges of the model railway market in the coming years.

2.  New items and plans for 2021

PIKO owner, Dr. René F. Wilfer, used the press conference to present, together with Sales Manager Jens Beyer, the attractive new product package, which includes more than 400 new products in the four track sizes G, H0, TT and N and is thus again very extensive in 2021.

In G scale (1:22.5), for garden railroaders and the largest scale at PIKO, the Sonneberg model train manufacturer is launching the historically famous and extremely attractive "Glass Train". Supplied is a version with and one without sound, each with interior lighting already installed at the factory. In addition, figures are inserted. The pantograph of the model can be raised and lowered digitally.

The mold novelty among the cars is the baggage car Pwg 88 of the Deutsche Reichsbahn. In addition to various attached parts, the Pwg 88 from PIKO impresses with movable doors. The Pwg 88 is an ideal addition to the already released Reko passenger cars and enables prototypical train formations.

The PIKO garden railroad track system gets an important extension. For the first time, there will be medium-sized manual switches in the R3 radius. An important gap in the track geometry is thus closed. The turnouts are located between the curve radius R1 and R5.

In the H0 segment (scale 1:87), the best-selling segment within the PIKO portfolio, a large number of interesting new products will again appear in the digital segment and in the Expert Plus, Expert, Hobby and Classic nostalgie product lines. Some highlights for the domestic and foreign market were discussed in more detail at today's press conference.

The highlight in the 2021 model railroad year at PIKO is the realization of the class 83.10 DR, already the second steam locomotive in the Expert program. The model appears in analog versions for DC and AC as well as a sound version with a factory-installed decoder and steam generator. The available AC version is additionally mfx-capable. And the special thing about this locomotive is: It will be delivered already at the end of February this year!

The PIKO SmartDecoder XP 5.1 was developed especially for the class 83.10 in Expert-Plus version as a further milestone for the digital model railway. The highlight is the intelligent load detection by the decoder: sound and rod-synchronous steam shock (produced by a smoke generator) are controlled load-dependent and via the existing wheel sensorsRail shocks are reproduced in the sound according to the axles present, taking into account the direction of travel, so that in forward travel the forerunner is triggered first and in reverse travel the two trailers. Brake squeal occurs during deceleration and the firebox flickers when the sound (shoveling coal) is turned on or randomly played.

Power management allows for slow shunting and provides uninterrupted power, for example, during switch crossings.

The PIKO SmartDecoder XP 5.1 is the "big-bang" among decoders and exclusively available for the BR 83.10.

In addition to the new steam locomotives, the Expert range this year also includes the newly constructed diesel locomotives of the Rh 2000 of the NS as well as the American BR 65-DE-19-A in finest detailing and with contemporary equipment.

For our neighbors in the Austria, the already eagerly awaited 1044 of the ÖBB will appear, and as a molded variant, an Rh 1144.

For fans of historic and modern electric locomotives, PIKO also has some new models in its program. With the BR E 32 of the DB, another old building electric locomotive of the 20th century appears.

Other interesting color and shape variations are representative of the Vectron locomotives. This ultra-modern Era VI electric locomotive is very popular with private railroads. The Vectron can also be found in other European countries. This model railroad year, the Danish and Czech Regiojet variants as well as the Italian InRail version will be realized in H0.

Model railroaders in Poland will receive another excellent model of an important Polish locomotive series, the ET21 of the PKP electric locomotive, which was part of the daily appearance of the railroad in our eastern neighboring country for many years. Delivery will take place in January.

Model railroaders from Switzerland can look forward to an increase in electric traction with the new PIKO electric locomotives Rh Ae 6/6 Ticino 11401 as well as Rh Ae 6/6 Thun. The portfolio is completed by shape variants of the Re 4/4 I, represented by a red Rh Re 4/4 I and Rh Re 4/4 I 401.

For France, last year's mold novelties will be followed by attractive color variants of BB 8100 and CC 25000 of SNCF.

With the Y cars of the Deutsche Reichsbahn, another important and newly constructed car family appears in 1:87 scale, which had a lasting impact on the train scene in the GDR.

Among the regionally rooted novelties is the Franken-Thüringen-Express (FTX) of the Sonneberg - Nuremberg line. The attractive train set includes two Vectron electric locomotives with Railpool printing. Both locomotives have different locomotive numbers. A special design feature is the printing on the locomotive doors. These will be designed with attractive PIKO advertising, just like the original. The train set is completed with 2 different double-deck cars.

The top of the PIKO H0 models are the locomotives of the Expert Plus line. The finely detailed models are already equipped ex works with a modern PIKO SmartDecoder 4.1 sound as well as the filigree PIKO digital coupler for trouble-free coupling and uncoupling of cars. In addition, the models have an integrated buffer memory for silky smooth shunting runs without unwanted power interruptions.

The Classic nostalgie line, is extended by a US version of the Desiro diesel railcar with its striking color scheme and new roof design.

In the especially affordable H0 PIKO Hobby line, several color and lettering variants of well-known series and cars appear in the proven PIKO quality.

Within the TT segment (scale 1:120), the steam locomotive BR 83.10 of the DR is also implemented. As in the H0 scale, a sound version will appear. The firebox, cab and running gear are illuminated. The numerous other new items in the TT range are joined by an ICE 3 "climate protector". Another new design is the G02 freight car, in versions with and without a brakeman's cab.

In the PIKO N range (scale 1:160), the model of the BR 216 DB appears, which already thrilled H0 model railroaders last year. As in H0, the highest importance has been attached to design, detailing and faithfulness to the prototype. Technically, the BR 216 comes with a modern Next18 interface and LED lighting. This new design is complemented by new molded silver passenger cars.

Due to the good positioning of PIKO in the trade as well as the extensive and attractive new products for the different markets and track sizes, PIKO is planning a slight increase in sales of + 4.5% plus x for 2021.

The growth in the domestic market, fueled by the extensive and extremely interesting novelty package, is expected to be somewhat stronger at + 6% than in the export sector, where PIKO assumes an increase of + 2%.

An overview of the complete PIKO model railroad assortment 2021 can be found on the Internet at www.piko.de as well as in the current catalogs for 2021, which have been available since the beginning of the year in specialty stores or directly from PIKO.

Sonneberg, 13th January 2021

Dr. René F. Wilfer

PIKO owner, Dr. René F. Wilfer, presents one of the H0 highlights for 2021, the class 83.10 steam locomotive.

More impressions can be found here: