Today, Hot Wheels, the number-one selling toy in the world* with nearly 500 million units sold every year, celebrates its 50th anniversary.
Conceived in 1968 by an innovator, a rocket scientist and a car designer, Hot Wheels 1:64th scale die-cast cars were designed to look awesome and perform. Five decades later, the brand has evolved from a simple, yet beloved, toy car with orange track system into a franchise that offers fans of all ages multi-channel play experiences.
To celebrate this anniversary, Hot Wheels is introducing a year-long lineup of live experiences, new products and compelling content.”For 50 years Hot Wheels’ intuitive vehicle play-pattern has contributed to its success as the number-one selling toy in the world,” said Chris Down, Senior Vice President and Global Brand GM, Hot Wheels. “Since its introduction in 1968, the brand has evolved from a simple toy into a true lifestyle brand that champions the challenger spirit through gaming, digital content, partnerships and live experiences spanning multiple generations and ages — this has allowed the brand to remain relevant to kids and adults and see record growth over the past three years.”
Hot Wheels will be creating live experiences to bring kids, fans and collectors together across the globe.
- The Hot Wheels Legends Tour: Hot Wheels is launching the largest Hot Wheels travelling car show in search of a custom car worthy of being made into a Hot Wheels die-cast toy. The tour launched at Hot Wheels headquarters in April 2018 and will be visiting 14 Walmart stores across America. One winner will be chosen from each stop to win a spot for their car to be shown at the world-renowned SEMA Auto Show where one vehicle will be chosen and immortalized as a Hot Wheels.
- Hot Wheels Challengers: A multi-year marketing program designed to demonstrate our brand purpose, to ignite the challenger spirit in kids everywhere and champion up-and-coming youth action sports and motorsports athletes in their pursuit of greatness by providing opportunities to compete in inclusive, open competitions. Through these contests, kids are challenged to lean on determination, grit and perseverance; skills that apply to all aspects of life. The Hot Wheels Challengers includes:
- The Hot Wheels Junior Series Built by Woodward: In partnership with Woodward, the premier action sports and lifestyle camp, Hot Wheels will host an eight-stop regional competition for skate and BMX. The series invites kids from around the country to compete, challenge themselves, meet new friends and will culminate with a final event – the Hot Wheels Junior Open Built by Woodward, held at Woodward West in Tehachapi, CAin fall 2018.
- The Hot Wheels INDYCAR Junior Grand Prix Powered by K1 Speed: This junior racing event is a karting competition for kids 8 – 14. The top-three finishers in each qualifying race will win a trip to the Grand Prix of Sonoma and the chance to compete in the final championship race at K1 Speed San Francisco in September 2018.
- Hot Wheels Athlete Sponsorships: Hot Wheels has also signed leading young athletes across BMX, skate and karting that embody the challenger spirit, including professional skateboarder Zion Wright, top amateur skateboarder Gavin Bottger, professional BMX rider Sean Ricany, top amateur BMX rider Kaden Stone and emerging kart racer Sebastian Wheldon. We’ll be partnering with these athletes to create original content throughout the year so they can inspire kids to take on new challenges and achieve their goals.
- Beto Carrero – Hot Wheels World: The largest theme park in Latin America, Beto Carrero will open an immersive brand experience with a dedicated Hot Wheels themed area within the park. The area will feature over 7.5 acres dedicated to Hot Wheels, including a live-stunt show, themed restaurant and retail shop with plans for additional experiential attractions.
- The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis: Hot Wheels™: Race to Win™ Exhibit will return to the world’s largest children museum on May 19, 2018. Fans will get a firsthand look at the thrilling science, speed and safety of motorsports with Hot Wheels cars and tracks, positioned alongside full-sized racecars, artifacts and memorabilia.
This year, Hot Wheels has re-architected its toy line, based on consumer insights, to resonate more broadly, with appeal and challenges appropriate across ages, stages and interests.
- Hot Wheels 50th Originals Collection: On May 18, the official birthday for Hot Wheels, the brand will release replicas of five Hot Wheels originals from the “Sweet 16” with legacy graphics, original packaging and original detailed Spectraflame™ paint, Redline wheels and a collectible button. Each car will include a code where one-winner in the United States will win a life-size 50th anniversary Hot Wheels Camaro.
- Hot Wheels™ City: For the youngest Hot Wheels fan, the brand is introducing Hot Wheels City, a system of play that blends imaginative vehicle “push-around” play and classic “crash-and-bash” action.
- Hot Wheels Augmoto™: Using augmented reality and connected play, Hot Wheels Augmoto is a smart-device-controlled track-set that adds unprecedented control and gaming to a physical Hot Wheels racing experience.
- Hot Wheels Rocket League: Hot Wheels has seen tremendous success in the gaming space, and in 2017, the brand partnered with Rocket League to put Hot Wheels vehicles in the world-renowned game that mixes driving with soccer. The Hot Wheels integration was so successful that the two-brands are releasing a physical version of the game as an RC arena set (Hot Wheels Rocket League RC Rivals Set) in holiday 2018 and additional in-game DLC later this year.
The Hot Wheels 50th anniversary celebration will include an array of products and partnerships that pay tribute to the brand’s iconic heritage from best-in-class partners that share our values and bring authenticity, credibility and expertise in their categories that resonate with our fans.
- Hot Wheels 50th Anniversary Edition Camaro: The first Hot Wheels toy created was a 1968 Custom Camaro, and to celebrate its anniversary, Hot Wheels partnered with General Motors to create a life-size version of the die-cast. Available for purchase in 2018, the full-sized 50th Anniversary Hot Wheels Camaro includes exclusive Hot Wheels features like a Crush-Orange paint job, referencing iconic Hot Wheels orange track, unique interior and wheels, and commemorative Hot Wheels badging.
- The Evolution of a Diecast: The Hot Wheels evolution video created in partnership with Race Service, will honor the more than five-decades of Hot Wheels die-cast design and performance, along with the toy’s influence on the auto industry and ties to pop-culture. This new video launching on May 18th is the latest installment in Donut Media’s successful evolution series which highlights cars and brands that have revolutionized car culture.
- Nico Rosberg: Hot Wheels will partner with 2016 Formula 1 champion Nico Rosberg. As a brand ambassador, Rosberg will help amplify the brand’s purpose to ignite the challenger spirit and celebrate the Hot Wheels brand history and deep-rooted ties to racing.
- Hot Wheels + Volcom: Two companies born in California, Hot Wheels and Volcom, combine forces to show that the creative spirit comes in all colors, shapes and sizes. Volcom, a brand known for supporting action-sports, art and music are collaborating with Hot Wheels on an exclusive line of boys clothing that captures the challenger spirit. It is with this free-wheeling and youthful exuberance that this collection was created. The line will be sold at www.volcom.com and Nordstrom starting October 2018.
- Hot Wheels Illest: Illest, the popular street wear brand, has partnered for the third-year with Hot Wheels and released exclusive merchandise sold at the Legends Tour Hot Wheels HQ kick-off event in April 2018 in El Segundo, CA.
Hot Wheels 50th Commemorative Items
To mark the anniversary, a number of collector-worthy Hot Wheels items will be released.
- The Hot Wheels Book by Assouline: This ultimate collectors’ book encapsulates Hot Wheels history through photography. It chronicles the origins and technical evolution of the toy, and where Hot Wheels brand is today. The book will be available in June 2018.
- 50th Anniversary Commemorative Coin: In Australia, the team will be releasing a 50th anniversary commemorative coin. The coin will be nearly 100 percent silver and feature two Hot Wheels cars and the 50th anniversary logo. Only 5,000 of these coins will be released in 2018.
To learn more and stay up to speed with how Hot Wheels is celebrating its 50th anniversary, visit HotWheels.com and follow #HotWheels50.
*Hot Wheels Basic Cars Assortment is the number one selling toy in the world based on units sold according to NPD