Last week Rody Roem has announced that TechnoPower will close its doors in December 2011. This is a very sad news when you consider all the time, effort and money that have been invested in the company. With that being said, I’m not really surprised to see a R/C engines companies in such difficulties.
Have you ever taken the time to count how many engines companies there are in the R/C industry? In less than five minutes, I’ve wrote down the name of 25 companies and some are missing! When I’ve started in nitro RC, there were about five popular companies to buy an engine from. Now, 15 years later, the market has totally exploded. In fact, I believe there are way too many companies that offer engines. The .21 size engines market is the biggest segment and this is explained by the huge popularity of the buggy and truggy race classes.
Now, what will happen in the next months or years? No one really knows it but I won’t be surprised to see few others companies closing their doors. In the engine segment, there are many companies that sell re-badged engines. This means a company buys an engine, sometimes with their own specifications, from a manufacturer and then sells the engine with their name on. This is the easiest and cheapest way to sell an engine. Most of the times, those engines manufacturers are located in China or Taiwan where labour is cheaper. Only few companies produce their own engines from A to Z. These companies do the entire R&D, designing, machining and testing of all their engines. This is what companies like OS Engines and Novarossi do, just to name few. This also explains why their products are usually a little more expensive than a re-badged engine. I won’t talk about quality here, we all have our own opinion about price vs quality.
If your plan is to buy an engine in the 200-250$ price range, good luck! This is the most prolific segment and this exactly the segment engines companies invest the most of their money and R&D.
With a new engine announced every two months in a saturated market with a fragile economy, I wonder what will happen.
What are your comments on the engines market? Share them in the comments box below!