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Graupner SJ close down German office

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David Ashby - Moderator22/11/2019 09:17:54
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News from Graupner SJ. The famous name has been owned by the South Korean business for a few years now yet the German office has remained.

The announcement is that it will be closing with all Graupner electronics manufacture moving from China to South Korea.

Source: https://www.graupner.com

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Edited By David Ashby - Moderator on 22/11/2019 09:19:06

Edited By David Ashby - Moderator on 22/11/2019 09:19:41

Capt Kremen22/11/2019 11:50:32
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I recently visited the huge German model expo in Friedrichshafen.

Graupner, (among numerous others), had a small stand there. IMO, very little of any consequence on display and a shadow of former years pre their take-over, very, very sad.

The original Graupner stood for high quality and their wood kits were beautifully crafted, together with superb construction plans and instructions.

Only AeroNaut and Krick (the later in a limited way), seem to be uphold the finest tradition of German balsa/ply kit manufacture now. Whilst acknowledging Multiplex for their all 'Elapor' foam range, Simprop, Robbe and the other lesser players now merely import and re-badge far eastern ARTF in a mix of wood and foam constructions.

Sadly signs of the times ....

Martin_K22/11/2019 15:16:52
90 forum posts
Posted by Capt Kremen on 22/11/2019 11:50:32:

Only AeroNaut and Krick (the later in a limited way), seem to be uphold the finest tradition of German balsa/ply kit manufacture now.

There is still also;

Grüner, from Der Himmlische Höllein, and
PM Soaring (ex Andreas Decker),

unless you are not counting product ranges which are mainly gliders.

Robin Colbourne22/11/2019 17:32:22
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Such a shame. Graupner catalogues of the 70s and 80s were objects of wonder. The range of products was incredible.

The other thing with Graupner was that wherever you went in Europe, the Graupner salesman had got there first, and done a good job too; their products were everywhere! With the exception of Precedent, it was as if the British model industry couldn't be bothered to export.

Erfolg24/11/2019 12:56:13
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I am not surprised.

I did not and still do not really clearly understand how or why the bought out Graupner operated.

My own view was that the South Korean purchaser, had bought up the Graupner operation purely to provide a sales and distribution network for their products. The models not being central to the immediate strategy.

Again it was obvious that when the Graupner brand were bought up, there had to be changes to move what had been purchased into the black. Again I do not understand the Chinese situation, were the production facilities in China more than sub contractors. If they were more than a sub contractor, I am left with the impression that the South Koreans were no more successful than the Germans, with respect to the Chinese Subsidiary. Perhaps there is a lesson for all non Chinese companies who are thinking of manufacturing directly in China, if I am correct.

There does seem a broad message from notice, that there are world wide issues in the model trade. The positive, in even the worst trading environment, some one will prosper, whilst others are unable to keep their head above water. It is often those who are not tied to the past, observing conventions, ignoring criticism, above all braking the mould, that will succeed.

From others observations, to the consumer it is about, value for money. Which will always be a balance of quality against price as far as the consumer is concerned. As far as Graupner products were concerned I am guessing that this was not achieved as far as consumers, retailers and distributors were concerned.

Robin Colbourne24/11/2019 14:34:18
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Cost savings from Chinese labour rates are often swallowed up by the financial and time costs that come from the headaches of working with such a different culture. With the USA imposing tariffs on some Chinese products, the South Koreans may have decided that rather than run the risk of their products suddenly being priced or taken out of the market by tariffs and sanctions, they would prefer the predictabilty of working with more control of their products, supply chains and intellectual property within South Korea.

I wouldn't be surprised if we see classic Graupner designs being re-released in future in the same way Thunder Tiger have done with Keilkraft gliders and rubber models. If they were done as limited editions that may addd to the desirability.

For starters, I expect we will see the Cirrus glider, Taxi trainer and Adolph Bermpohl boat. The Dandy and Amigo gliders are already/still in production.

Frank Skilbeck24/11/2019 17:20:15
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Posted by Erfolg on 24/11/2019 12:56:13:

I am not surprised.

I did not and still do not really clearly understand how or why the bought out Graupner operated.

SJ made the HOTT radios for Graupner, probably to a Graupner design. If they hadn't have bought Graupner then they may not have been able to carry on the manufacture of HOTT radios and sales. By buying Graupner they acquired all the intellectual property associated with the HOTT radios etc.

Paul Marsh24/11/2019 18:54:46
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I've not seen anyone use Hott systems at all. Don't know how Graupner kept going, as there is hardly anything Graupner for sale anywhere and the Hott radios are worthless, you can't even give them away. A club member bought one for £500, never used it and had some rx's extra for it. After 2 years it was sold for £20, even then the person buying it was not that keen and had to have his arm twisted to buy it.

Erfolg25/11/2019 16:47:48
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I would be very surprised if Graupner designed the radio equipment. In the past it seemed they had an arrangement with Grundig for the Varioprop. I seem to remember that even further back that Metz-Telefunken had a relationship together with Graupner, although i could be mistaken.

I would not be surprised if Graupner and SJ had some sort partnership, where indeed Graupner held some of the IP, as Frank alludes, that part of the strategy was to secure that aspect. Although I do suspect that a major part of the reason for purchase was both the distribution network and Brand.

I am not as convinced we will see the historic Graupner model kits sold again. I have in the distant past had two Graupner kits. In both cases for the kits to work, in the sense of a easy build, you also needed to buy the accessory kit, which was as expensive as the kit. The accessory kit had many mouldings and difficult to make or source parts. In short a full kit was extortionate. Incredible quality. These were no KK or similar UK kits, they were the Rolls Royce of kits. I am guessing that all of the tooling for these kits has long gone, past there usefulness. Possibly the reason for no longer marketing many of them.

It could we be the start of SJ winding down its interest in model radio, all part of making the most of their current investments, whilst continuing in some other sector. Who knows. It is certainly a tough world out there at the moment.

Edited By Erfolg on 25/11/2019 16:48:52

Peter Christy25/11/2019 18:38:05
1615 forum posts

I don't think Graupner ever designed radio gear. This is my Variophon/Varioton "reed" set which I bought in 1965 - still in good working order!

And that was preceded by the Bellaphon range - all designed and built by Grundig (alas also no longer around!). As Erfolg notes, the Varioprop range were also made by Grundig, although the later MC range were heavily based on JR.

Their kits were superb, but not cheap! Real "Rolls-Royce" quality. I had a few down the years, and wish I could still get them. As with so many modelling items, there seems to be a dearth of high quality, "standard" size kits out there these days. Plenty of huge warbirds, etc, but very little for the club modeller.

<sigh!>

--

Pete

Jesus Cardin26/11/2019 07:57:29
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Posted by Erfolg on 24/11/2019 12:56:13:

I am not surprised.

I did not and still do not really clearly understand how or why the bought out Graupner operated.

My own view was that the South Korean purchaser, had bought up the Graupner operation purely to provide a sales and distribution network for their products.

Graupner really failed when they were unable to convert to 2.4Ghz.

One of Graupner major sales was the radio equipment and when JR, which produced then their range of radios didn't´t go for 2.4Ghz they had to look for other suppliers. They tried as an interim solution certain modules and receivers from an American company which were a total failure due to unreliability and production capabilities and then Spektrum -due to the relation with JR from case and electronics- but I know well of at least 3 containers retained at the Hamburg port as those first Spektrum radios didn't´t meet European radio regulations. I have always been convinced that those 2 major blows were Graupner demise main reasons.

It was just at the last moment that they went to SJ Electronics for development of an own new radio line which was initially sold just as Graupner with no mention to SJ. Then and as it was just too late, SJ found their self with a great investment done on development and a production facilities (first in South Korea and then in China for getting better prices) which should be a total loss if they left Graupner fell.

It is just the reason they took Graupner to become Graupner/JR, but now with model hobby going quickly down and as Frank says of USA tariffs there is just no reason of keeping an expensive office /warehouse in Germany nor the factory in China. They sure will continue producing radios but will switch to distributors instead of keeping their own premises here.

Regarding quality, I only have very good experience with their old chargers -by the way, sold during many years in UK under Ripmax brand- and here in Spain their radios are quite popular and may be seen and successfully used at may club fields. I also know well it is an increasing popular brand in USA and sure SJ will fight hard for that market.

Best Regards

Erfolg28/11/2019 13:50:00
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Having said I had a few Graupner kits in the past, I seem to have forgotten this one i have now.

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I even have a tub of bits to furnish it, a small inrunner, tiny servos etc.

I guess I thought it was a bit to hot for me.

I cannot help but notice that I took the price of. My wife was bound to be suspicious when she could see that I had removed the £5 price tag.

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