Move over Mom and Dad, here comes the child's pint-sized Hummer
HUDSON, Ohio - Children impressed with a parent's bright-colored Hummer SUV now can get their own miniaturized version of the highway behemoth with the familiar chrome grill.
The battery-powered Hummer riding toy made by Little Tikes Co., based in this Akron suburb in northeast Ohio, was unveiled at a preschool where children got a chance for a test drive on Tuesday.
"We knew the popularity of this highly coveted item among adult auto enthusiasts would be just as strong with children," said Clancy Lavins, president of Little Tikes.
The Hummer H2 SUV, which will be sold exclusively in Wal-Mart beginning in May, will carry a suggested retail price of $250 and features a forward-tilt hood, chrome grill and a "radio" with a five-song play list.
The $300 Adventure Series Hummer H2 SUV, which will be sold exclusively through Toys-R-Us beginning in July, has additional features including fog lights, running boards and two walkie-talkies to keeping in contact with the neighborhood kids.
The Hummers, which are made under a General Motors Corp. license, are meant for ages 3 and up, can go up to 5 mph and come with a device allowing parents to trim the maximum speed. The Hummer comes with a rechargeable 12-volt battery.
With the popularity of the adult civilian Hummer and wartime images of the military Hummer, the child's version should be a hit, according to Reyne Rice, who follows trends for the New York City-based Toy Industry Association.
"Kids aspire to be adults, they aspire to be a teen, they aspire to do things adults do and Hummers are hot right now," Rice said. "It's like getting a new car for adults. It's a kid's first vehicle."
The Little Tikes entry into an area dominated by Mattel's Fisher Price should be helped by selling through Toys-R-Us and Wal-Mart, which rank No. 1 and No. 2 respectively in terms of toy sales.
Last year a radio-controlled Hummer model car was one of the top-selling items in its category at Wal-Mart despite a price tag of more than $100, Rice said.
The toy industry recorded $20.7 billion in sales last year in the U.S., including $250 million for battery-operated riding toys, according to NPD Funworld, which tracks toy and video game sales.
Heather Paul, a Toy Industry Association safety advocate and former executive director of the National Safe Kids Campaign, said battery-operated riding toys like the Hummer can be safe if operated as intended and if parents supervise their children.
"These riding toys are great and fun but they can present injuries and they can be serious," she said.
Paul said risks include falling from the riding toy or colliding with a car, tree or other item. Such riding toys shouldn't be used near swimming pools, ponds or other bodies or water and people should realize the risks in a parking lot at an apartment or condominium complex.
Little Tikes Co.: http://littletikes.com
NPD Funworld: http://npdfunworld.com