InterMountain Announces Freeze of Production

Published: 2018-07-30 - By: Alain LM
Last updated on: 2018-08-14
visibility: Public
InterMountain Railway Inc. announced on July 30, 2018 that their sole Chinese manufacturer (Affa Technology Ltd in Hong-Kong) went out of business without prior notice, interrupting the whole InterMountain production.
Intermountain expects to be able to resume production within four months.
On their advanced reservation page, the status of all items that were 'Queued for Production' or 'In Production' has been reset to 'Confirmed for Production' meaning not in production...
This is obviously not a good news for both InterMountain and their customers. IMR have changed in April 2018 their forecasting system, no longer giving any date, but only status. It is true that they were extremely bad at meeting their forecast, with delays counting in years. This bad news is not going to improve the situation... Don't know when I'll see the BN F7 'Hockey Stick' that have have on order since April 2016 when it was announced for July 2016; still in limbo as I write this!

This is unfortunately not this first time this kind of thing happens. The whole industry was severely affected in 2012 when Sanda Kan, a major Chinese manufacturer, acquired in 2008 by Kader - the owner of Bachmann - decided to drop most of their North American and European customers, leaving a large part of model train companies without a factory.
Some like Rapido Trains have decided to set up their own facility in China, that they control directly. But many others rely on third party manufacturers, without backup. Though a single source of supply is not a recommended industry practice, it is sometimes inevitable for example when production volume is not sufficient to justify multiple sources.

Similar announcements were made by AZL, Atlas, Bowser, Bluford Shops and Fox Valley Models. Other companies reported as impacted are ExactRail, Trainworx, and Wheels of Time.

Jim Conway, owner and founder of Con-Cor, published a long article on the subject on the landing page of Con-Cor website, on 13th August 2018.