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Was Majorette part of your childhood?

Looking back at the past 60 years of the French toymaker

Some early German vehicles. PHOTO BY JASON DELA CRUZ

If you were a kid who grew up in the 80s and liked playing with toy cars, then chances are you’re familiar with the brand Majorette. This French toymaker went toe to toe with Matchbox then, fighting to be the next toy car to be grasped by kids. Tomica came slightly after, followed by Hot Wheels.

Majorette naturally produced a good number of French cars, such as Peugeot, Renault, and Citroen. It also came up with German, Italian, British, and American cars, as well as emergency vehicles and trucks.

A set of emergency or utility vehicles.
Some classic French cars.

What made these toys so enjoyable to play with is that they almost always came with opening parts—doors, hood, or trunk. Vehicles like a Mercedes-Benz Unimog utility vehicle even came with a lifting and swiveling forklift. Spring suspension also added to the allure, giving kids an early understanding of how cars worked. And seeing “Made in France” underneath made it feel unique.

An Audi Quattro rally car with the original packaging. PHOTO BY JASON DELA CRUZ

By the early 90s (if my memory serves me right), however, Majorette had been overtaken by the other brands mentioned, and then just disappeared. This was more or less the same time when the brand had financial concerns.

In 2003, French toy manufacturer Smoby purchased Majorette. Five years later, Majorette was to be split from Smoby and sold to a French investment fund, but that didn’t push through.

Lamborghini Countach. PHOTO BY JASON DELA CRUZ

In 2010, Majorette was acquired by German toy manufacturer Simba Dickie Group, and with it came a new factory in Thailand. What happened to Smoby, you might be wondering? It was taken over by Simba Dickie Group in 2008.

Other brands that have to do with cars under the Simba Dickie Group (better known as Dickie Toys) are Tamiya, Schuco, Solido, and Jada Toys.


Majorette, meanwhile, returned to the country in 2018 with a deal that made it exclusive to Toy Kingdom. Majorette Philippines brought in some interesting releases since then, and through most of the pandemic.

Majorette’s mix of cars has become more fascinating for collectors, from modern to vintage, and from European to Japanese. It also has a dedicated line for cars from the World Rally Championship. The brand has always been big on rally cars.

Porsche 934 with trump card, Majorette-style. PHOTO BY JASON DELA CRUZ

Cars under the premium line come with a specification card à la trump card. Move up to deluxe and it has all the goodies—opening parts, suspension, plus rubber tires and even a collector’s box.

Recent Deluxe Porsche 911 Carrera S with collector's box. PHOTO BY JASON DELA CRUZ

I’ve noticed the brand works closely with Porsche, Volkswagen, and Toyota—releasing a good deal of cars either separately, in a series, or in a Gift Pack (five cars in a display box with a specific theme).

Toyota Celica GT and 2000GT.

Unfortunately, however, whatever Majorettes left on the pegs and even via the Toy Kingdom store on Lazada have become stale for some time now, as if just trying to sell it all before bringing in fresh releases.

Too bad. If you look at the Instagram pages of Majorette Germany and Majorette Australasia, there are a lot of current and upcoming releases that are absolutely cool.

I’ve had to try my luck via Lazada and Shopee. And while I’ve been able to score a few cars that I’ve been looking for, at times it’s still hit-or-miss.

Come on, Majorette Philippines. Your brand has a lot of good stuffnot to mention the limited 60th-anniversary cars that come with matching tin cans, as well as the upcoming Japanese legends. Bring them here, pretty please.

Jason Dela Cruz

Jason is a veteran member of the motoring community, having worked as an automotive journalist and a car industry executive. He is now based in Cebu, where the car culture is vibrant.