Hornby: Upgrading Scalextric for the 21st century

Hornby's award-winning Scalextric Sport Digital used digital and internet connectivity to revolutionize an already popular and successful product. Over a four-year period, Sagentia was closely involved from new technology concepts through to manufacture of the product in China.


In order to maintain brand presence and market share, Hornby wanted to improve and enhance its Scalextric slot car racing system without compromising its core model and collectables business. A key aim was to enhance the racing experience, and introduce Scalextric to a new and more technically sophisticated market segment, while not alienating existing users. The resulting new product would need high functionality but a low-cost bill of materials, and would also have to be designed for flexible manufacture, with the innovative concepts delivered to a tight business schedule.

A portfolio of products

We worked with Hornby over a four-year period, creating and developing a portfolio of products. Exploiting digital and Internet connectivity, the new Scalextric products involved complex technology, so the bill of materials was critical to the success of the project. To achieve efficient manufacture, we conducted a review of manufacturing capability in China, and then closely managed both the chosen manufacturer and the component companies to make sure that technical innovation was delivered at the correct price.

Meeting targets – winning awards

Through our close working relationship with the Hornby team and with the chosen manufacturer in Hong Kong, we demonstrated that innovative products could be delivered to a demanding specification.

The assignment also demonstrated how business goals and cost-effective innovation can be managed and achieved using an Eastern manufacturing base.

Scalextric Sport Digital and Sport World Systems were unveiled at the 2004 London Toy Fair and following the product press launch, Hornby’s market capitalization improved by £2 million. In 2005, Scalextric Sport Digital went on to win ‘Best New Toy Design’ at the prestigious Marketing Awards for Excellence in Toys (MAX IT). Judges indicated that their unanimous decision reflected the way in which Sport Digital had revolutionized an already popular and successful product.

"Our relationship with Sagentia has been instrumental in the development and realization of innovative and exciting new products".


Frank Martin, CEO, Hornby plc

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