I do think that Craig has got it right though, with so many larger companies dumped, I was even surprised Austrains were retained.
So Rod, what do you know that hasn't made it onto the internet? Which "larger companies" have been dumped? The list I've seen is Weaver, S Helper Services, American Models, Bowser, Micro-Trains, Marklin/Trix, Des Plaines Hobbies and Deluxe Innovations. For the most part these are not big companies. Bowser apparently had almost nothing still with Sanda Kan, having moved all new work to another manufacturer. Marklin/Trix has admiitted to having some jobs with Sanda Kan but less than 7% of turnover. They also claim that they have been looking around for other manufacturers. Micro-Trains also apparently have litte if anything left with Sanda Kan.
There are still a lot of the purported 60 dumped companiees that haven't come forward but if there was a big company with a large amount of Sanda Kan production in there I think we'd know by now. Remember also that the news is mostly coming from a single American publication that is not likely to report problems for companies that don't produce American prototype.
If Australia can have a "model railway golden age" then so can other countries outside of the USA. I suspect that most of the 60 will prove to be companies similar to Austrains or Trainorama, catering for a limited market in their own country.
ATM we are working on a lot of speculation, & my thought is, & based on the fact of the MR NEWS, is that SDK has/had around 80 companies on their books. OF those 20 are seen as Key clients, (using the term from the Austrains web site) with 60 others of varying degrees of busines, as a result these 60 companies were sent out letters regarding their futures.
Out of those 60, there have been several who seemingly have been told to look elsewhere, for future production as SDK would not be taking any new future orders from them. That is all we know out in the public arena ATM with any certainty.
Given that the 3 OZ companies who use SDK currently, Austrains, Eureka & TOR, have in the past few years, (prior to the Olympics as well since Kader has taken over the control of SDK) suffered a lot of delays as well as other issues, reported & not, which I dare say has happened with others as well. In the US there are some reports of complaints from modellers who have suffered delays as well.
I would therefore hazard to speculate, that the 20 main companies Key clients, who have a constant flow of models that are wanted, which would include our 3, have suffered as a result of the others, especially the smaller ones who jump in on a more infrequent basis & wanting production items, this results in the people at SDK having to try & allocate staff to them. In this arena, I would suggest that they are mainly the ones being given the boot.
So even though 60 have received letters, I would imagine there are those who have been told to look elsewhere from now, some for new projects, but I would also sugges that some (larger clients) may well have been asked what their future plans were in regard to product flow.
It is nothing more than happens in many industries, & those who can have a constant flow of regular clients can have a better futures forcast & surety than those that rely on the blow fly types, that is they come in at the worst time possible & disrupt, with lots of noise, & desease, which can cause health problems, apply that to a company, & its also a reason to ensure good insect screens on doors & windows.
On top of all of that, Bachmann industries themselves are also experiencing growth in not just the western world of model railways, but also in domestic Chinese model railway items, which I have as my 2nd option.
Few would not have missed reading about how the economy in China has grown & affluence has also grown. This means that things like MR's which we in the west have enjoyed for years, & unafordable in China, is now well within the reaches of a huge population over there, & they (Bachmann China, Haidar & others) are also now selling in big numbers to the locale populance, as they get the model bug.
Bachmann China, cannot keep up with production of their models, especially in steam locomotives & many items of R/S. Thus its cheaper to be able to utilise production facilities for their own branded products, then to build new ones, especially when a factory may well be held up by unreliable infrequent contracts from foriegners.