Hey Fred,
I met with the ex-Transformer brand manager today from Hasbro (he left Hasbro because they moved back to RI and he wanted to stay here in Cincy) and I asked him some of the questions you gave me:

Ok, heres what I have gotten from him (I can ask him more later if you want)...All of the US's Transformers were manufactured in China or Taiwan under Takara' supervision. Takara was the brains behind everything and they used their usual manufacturers to make the US's toy supply. Some of the manufacturing Takara did, some was sourced out to contract manufacturing. Due to the high level of turnover at Hasbro it seems and their lack of involvement in the manufacturing, I think that it would be impossible to find out where all the original stuff was made and at what foreign plants (much less each line in the plants). I asked him a little about the variations (as well as new molds) that we always see and he said that is was due to the slow turnaround from start of manufacture to first inspection in the US. By the time Hasbro saw a defect they had already made quite a bit so if a change was made some of the stuff already got out. For molding changes he said that there were a couple of reason that could occur... 1. the tooling wore out and they just needed a new mold. 2. packaging changed and it was easier to change the toy rather than the packaging sometimes 3. childrens toy standards changed over time and sometimes required new molds. If there are any more questions just let me know...he seems to think that were going to like the lineup thats coming out where they go back to the cars and trucks so be ready!!!! -Mark Kimmel

(See Also: Overstock Theory)

(See Also: Why Variations Occur)