Anatomy of a Blockbuster Toy: Little Tikes Cozy Coupe - ToyNews

Anatomy of a Blockbuster Toy: Little Tikes Cozy Coupe

You’ve almost certainly driven one, regardless of whether or not you have a licence. Billy Langsworthy talks to Little Tikes about the success of the Cozy Coupe and its endurance over the years
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Since launching in 1979, the Cozy Coupe has established itself as one of the most widely recognised children’s toys of all time, having sold over 22 million units to date.

One of the most popular cars of all time, there have also been Princess and Royal editions along with Black Cab, Yellow Car and Police Car variations.

In the Northeastern Ohio town of Hudson, a Little Tikes Cozy Coupe is manufactured every minute of every day, 50 weeks a year.

As more and more toy cars become electronically powered or branded with car logos, the Cozy Coupe has remained traditional throughout and this is something Little Tikes attributes to the iconic vehicle’s success.

“The Cozy Coupe is an iconic toy for a very good reason. Children the world over have adored it from its conception back in 1979 to today and those parents and grandparents who have loved the Cozy Coupe as a child will almost inevitably want to provide their children with the same toy that gave them so much joy,” Rachael Springett, marketing manager, Little Tikes at MGA Entertainment tells ToyNews.

“The fact that the toy is still going strong over 30 years is testament to the entertainment it offers children, staying relevant and fun for at least two or three of their most formative years.

“This longevity is extended further, with Coupes often passed down to younger siblings or friends, meaning it often stays a part of the household for over a decade.

“Little Tike’s own ability to adapt and evolve the design of this iconic car as time passes means that the Cozy Coupe is sure to be a firm favourite with families for many years to come.”

Little Tikes puts the enduring success of the product down to the different ways it appeals to both adults and their children alike.

“The brand’s credibility and heritage gives parents a peace of mind, and trust in the durability and safety of the toy, making it a very high value for money toy,” adds Springett.

“For the little ones, it’s the simple fun of driving their own car, having the freedom and the pleasure of getting about under their own steam to explore the world around them and copying what they see mummy and daddy do so often for real.

“The eye-catching bright designs also means that everyone remembers playing in one or being lucky enough to own one when they were children, and parents appreciate the extensive durability and longevity of the product. (The Cozy Coupe is suitable for youngsters from 12 months, right through to toddlers aged five years.)

“This a toy with an immensely impressive heritage that leads to endless consumer demand as fans grow up and become parents and grandparents themselves.” So, 2003 saw the ten millionth Cozy Coupe sold, 2009 was the 30th anniversary and 2013 has seen something special to celebrate the car’s fame.

GIANT CELEBRATION

The dream of big kids everywhere could soon be coming true: an adult-sized Cozy Coupe.

“To celebrate the news that the Cozy Coupe is still the best selling car in the UK - wildly outselling the Ford Fiesta as the UK’s most popular car - and to belatedly celebrate its 30th anniversary, we decided to go big on the celebrations,” Springett explains to ToyNews.

“So big, in fact, that it would require months of dedicated craftsmanship, design skill and the know-how of a dozen toy and engineering experts. We decided to fulfill the dreams of many a grown- up and create the world’s first, Giant Coupe.

“The Giant Coupe is identical to the original in everything but scale - it can easily fit a six foot tall man.”
But, Little Tikes warns us not to get the wallet out just yet.

“We are anticipating a positive response from adults looking to relive childhood fun, but unfortunately there are no plans to sell the Giant Coupe as of yet.”

UNDER THE HOOD

It may look simple, four wheels, a steering wheel, horn and roof, but the design of the Cozy Coupe has been key to its enduring success.

“Designed with a removable platform to protect little feet and a parent grab handle for pushing in the early days, the Coupe has a high back seat and storage in rear for those sunny picnic trips to the park,” continues Little Tikes’ Springett.

“The moving, clicking ‘ignition switch’ and open-and-close petrol cap encourage lots of interactive role-play and the front wheels spin 360 degrees to ensure a fun (but safe) ride.”

The car came from a mechanical background, with the design being the brainchild of a Chrysler designer.

The car's design, described as a ‘cross between a Volkswagen Beetle and Fred Flintstone's vehicle’, was created by Jim Mariol, who had worked as a designer at Chrysler in the USA. The Coupe became Mariol’s greatest ‘coup’ in a career that spanned over 50 years.

And let’s not forget, in this age of electric cars and low- emission zones, the Cozy Coupe is unrivalled in its tiny carbon footprint.

“Powered by little legs, the Cozy Coupe boasts impressive rocking-horse-power and a significant low-end torque.

“It also runs on a variety of extremely eco-efficient fuels including milk, juice and biscuits,” adds Springett.

“While the noise level produced has been the cause of some complaints from fractious parents in the small hours of the morning, considering the Little Tikes zero emissions policy, this is a small price to pay.”

OWNER’S CLUB

In May 2012, following requests from parents around the country, Little Tikes launched the Cozy Coupe Club in the UK.

“This offers parents the chance to add personalised number plates to their little one’s car,” explains Springett.
“The fact that there are already 2,666 members show just how quickly this taken off.

“Last but not least, to keep things interesting, we have also added numerous cars and accessories to the Cozy Coupe line including the Black Cab, Police Car, Princess Coupe, Trailers and the all-important Petrol Pump.”

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