• Micro Machines Returns with a Bang

New play sets will arrive in stores beginning with the fall of 2020

LISTEN 05:00

One of the most popular toy car lines from the 1980s and 1990s is making a comeback. It’s been a while since we last saw Micro Machines on toy shelves, but the once-popular line of toy cars and sets is returning for the first time in 12 years. The first play sets of the new Micro Machines are on display at the 2020 New York Toy Fair.

Those who are interested in bringing back the nostalgic days of the 1990s can start doing so when the first Micro Machines play sets arrive sometime in the fall at a cost of $50 each - that also includes three exclusive Micro Machines vehicles.

What Happened to Micro Machines?

We’re all familiar with famous toy car brands like Hot Wheels and Matchbox, but there was a time in the 1990s when Micro Machines was the biggest-selling toy car brand in the U.S.

It was so dominant that its sales volume exceeded the {combined} sales of its two aforementioned rivals and die-cast toy builder {Marjorette}


The play sets were a big part of what made Micro Machines so popular. It wasn’t enough for the brand to release toy cars; it created entire environments for these cars to run around.

Micro Machines Returns with a Bang
- image 888359

Unfortunately, Micro Machines’ run at the top was short-lived. The company behind the product, Galoob, was eventually sold to Hasbro, which scrapped the brand’s basic toy line. There were efforts made in repackaging the toys but those attempts didn’t catch on as well as the original play set concept.

It is remarkable, though, to think of the success Micro Machines had when it was competing against far more established brands like Hot Wheels and Matchbox. In the face of going up against two heavyweights, Micro Machines proved, for a time at least, that it could not only go toe-to-toe with Hot Wheels and Matchbox, but it could beat them at their own game.

Previous revivals stalled on the block

Micro Machines Returns with a Bang
- image 888360

Technically, Micro Machines hasn’t been away from shelves long. A few years ago, Hasbro brought back a new set of themed Micro Machines as part of a marketing tie-up with Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. It’s unclear if those lines did as well as Hasbro expected, but this recent revival lasted only a year before the toy maker decided to send Micro Machines back to the garage.

Before that, Hasbro brought Micro Machines as a response to the surging popularity of the Speedeez brand. Fantasy-themed cars were primarily released, but that never caught on since most people who remembered the popularity of the OG Micro Machines remembered it for entirely different reasons.

What Is Happening With Micro Machines Now?

Micro Machines Returns with a Bang
- image 888362
It’s only been 12 years, but if you think about it, {Micro Machines} hasn’t been a “player” in the toy car scene for more than two decades.

The brand’s popularity surged in the early to mid-90s, but since then, it hasn’t come close to recapturing the magic that spurred its popularity 20-something years ago.

But today’s a new day. The tiny toy cars are being resurrected with a new line that trails back to the formula that made Micro Machines so popular in the 90s.

Those who weren’t born yet, or at least too young to remember, should know that a big reason for {Micro Machines’} popularity in the 90s revolved around its transforming play set.
Micro Machines Returns with a Bang
- image 888363

One of the most popular playsets back in the day was the Super Van City that doubled as an entire metropolis once you pull out all of the van’s panels.

Other than the cars being smaller than Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars, it was this kind of prepared environment that separated Micro Machines from its rivals. There was a home for all the tiny cars to run around, freeing you from the task of creating a make-shift city using cereal boxes, canned goods, and whatever item you could find scattered around your house. These play sets — the Super Van City was the most popular — were like homes within homes for the tiny toy cars.

It comes as no surprise, then, that, in reviving Micro Machines, Hasbro, in collaboration with Wicked Cool Toys, is bringing back the classic Super Van City as one of its initial offerings.

The same concept applies. You pull out the van’s panels and a bustling city comes out of it, complete with a dirt track, a suspension bridge, drag strip, convenience store, a donut shop, a construction site, and yes, even an airport.
Micro Machines Returns with a Bang
- image 888358

The layout has changed from the original Super City Van, but the whole concept behind it remains the same.

More play sets are expected to be announced in the future, but for now, it appears that the Micro Machines resurrection will use the Super Van City as its new face. The play set will be available later this year for $50. For that amount, you’re not just getting the van itself, but you also stand to receive three exclusive Micro Machines that you can use in the pull-out metropolis.

Kirby Garlitos
Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read full bio
About the author
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: