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LEGO Factory Pricing Study
LEGO Factory prices have changed... and not for the better.
About this creation





You've probably noticed that the LEGO online Pick-A-Brick / LEGO Factory palette has recently been updated with new parts - and new prices. As an avid user of the LEGO Factory system, I was curious just how much the prices had gone up by. I created three train models in order to evaluate the new prices - a caboose in 6-wide, the same caboose as an 8-wide model, and an AAR-style wheelset using some new wheels that were recently added to the Palette.



I've designed numerous LEGO Factory models over the years and have a feel for what these models should cost based on previous pricing. In my experience, models typically average about 15 cents per part. A 6-wide railcar typically runs less than $70. My 6-wide caboose uses the train baseplate and minimal SNOT, so it should cost about $50 or less. At 329 elements, my 15c/part estimate gives $49.35 - almost in exact agreement. The 8-wide version is SNOTtier and has 601 pieces, so $90 is a good estimate. The AAR truck has only 43 pieces, but it uses an expensive magnetic buffer piece. To estimate the price, take the 15c/part estimate of $6.45 and add on the (former) cost for the buffer of $1.54. This brings the estimated cost to $7.99.



So, how did these estimates check with the new (USA) LEGO Factory prices? The results aren't encouraging. Let's start with the AAR truck... this little 43-part gem is now a whopping $21.57 - 270% more than the estimate using the previous Factory pricing. At this price, it would cost you over $40 just to supply the wheels for a railcar using two of these AAR trucks.



8-wide railcars are always expensive. Just before the price increase, I ordered an 8-wide, 1086-element locomotive, sans 9V motors and wheels, from LEGO Factory for a cost of $107. This caboose has 601 elements, so we would expect the cost to be less, given the same pricing. However, the pricing is not the same anymore... and this caboose now costs $201.50 - averaging 33.5 cents per brick. That's more than double the old prices.

The real shocker is the 6-wide caboose, which should have cost about $50 with the old pricing. It comes in at an unbelievable $181.51, or 55 cents per brick! Why so much more for the 6-wide model? The secret is in the wheels. For this model, I used stock train wheelsets. There is a bug (if you can call it that) in LEGO Digital Designer that includes one four-pack of train axles for each wheelset ordered. That means that the caboose model will actually ship with four axle packs, or 16 total. These axles are now priced at $13 per 4-pack, and a wheelset costs $16.10 as a result. Since the model includes four wheelsets, these add more than $64 to the cost of the model. The AAR trucks actually end up being cheaper, even at more than $20 each!

I'm really disappointed by this new pricing. LDD models and online Pick-a-Brick have become unaffordable. If LEGO requires such high prices in order for online PaB to be profitable, then it appears that the time has come for LEGO Factory to close its doors.

As a LEGO Ambassador, I have voiced my concerns through the LEGO Ambassadors' message board. I also contacted LEGO Customer Service by phone and was told that several customers had voiced the same concerns over Factory pricing. I was told, however, that these prices are set by LEGO in Denmark and that the US Customer Service could not provide me with further information at the time of my call.

LEGO is already aware that there are a number of fans upset over the new prices. However, if you find these new online Pick-a-Brick / LEGO Factory prices objectionable, I still encourage you to make your concerns known so that LEGO can understand the impact of the new prices - which are more than double the old and have made online PaB impossibly expensive. Their toll-free number in the US is +1 (800) 835-4386. I will pass along more information as I receive it.



Comments

 I like it 
  January 7, 2011
I wholeheartedly agree with this assessment of the ridiculous prices. I made a model of the robotic dog pet from Lego Universe - about 25 pieces almost all of them 1 or 2 stud plates with tool holders or mini flag holders. I checked the price and it was nearly $15!!! If this had been a set officially released by Lego, it would have been $2.50. I have worked out that official Lego sets have a price per brick of about 10 cents, excluding any sets with licensing from Lucas Arts, Pixar, Ferrari, etc. C'mon, Lego, its injection molded plastic, not 24K gold jewelry!
 I like it 
  August 6, 2009
well spoken. i have started building legos using my own pieces and just using ldd for the instructions. i used to buy things from factory but have now stopped and only buy pieces when im sure i dont have any.
 I like it 
  May 1, 2009
Quoting TurboJ . It's ridiculous. My 9F model previously cost 63.66 - just less than $100. This has now risen to 164 ($240). How do Lego expect people to buy from Lego Factory with these prices? My other problem is with the updates in brick availability. Why bother removing bricks? It's a chore, having to go through every single unavailable brick to find which ones have been removed from your model. They ought to include a 'remove missing bricks' button, or at least tell you what's missing.
I fully agree. I read (and tested it out) a way to remove these bricks: If you uploaded your model to the gallery(when those bricks were still available), you can click check price, then you'll get a window where you can click "read more", there they tell which bricks are "intruding". Hope this helps...
  April 9, 2009
It's ridiculous. My 9F model previously cost 63.66 - just less than $100. This has now risen to 164 ($240). How do Lego expect people to buy from Lego Factory with these prices? My other problem is with the updates in brick availability. Why bother removing bricks? It's a chore, having to go through every single unavailable brick to find which ones have been removed from your model. They ought to include a 'remove missing bricks' button, or at least tell you what's missing.
  April 8, 2009
Jordan - Saw the post on LUGNET about the prices being adjusted back to a more reasonable amount. I have to think you helped that to happen by letting people know! Thanks for being proactive! I'll have to go and see how the newly adjusted mini-fig numbers work out and decide how much I need short legs and girl parts for my fig population...
 I like it 
  April 7, 2009
Jordan, you hit the nail on the head and I applaud your detailed analysis. I too have written (and called) shop at home with my complaint. I was recently cleaning out my "lego" closet and threw away 29 boxes of My Custom Design boxes to make room for my new stuff. It wasn't until then that I realized how often I order custom sets as opposed to factory/production sets. LDD made hobbying a joy and I have been miserable for the last few days updating my 2009 models, budgeting to buy and then seeing the price tripled from one month ago. Lego may just "tax" me away from my most favorite past time. All, PLEASE call and voice your concern...
  April 7, 2009
This is shocking: I have ordered several models trough Lego Factory, and I think this is a great service, but it looks like I won't be ordering factory things for some time. One of my mid sized cars cost 35($46)before and now it costs an outrageous 50($66). Sadly, the price isn't the only problem: as well as adding bricks to the system, they also removed certain bricks. Now, some of my old models are ready to be deleted, because I can't find the "intruders". I've been able to "cure" one, but that meant rebuilding it systematically, which takes some time. Conclusion: BOOOOOH Lego <rotten tomato flying> I am also planning to send an e-mail to LEGO customer support
 I like it 
  April 7, 2009
Jordan, I'm putting an excellent rating on this post because the information is so important, and people need to see it! I read your post and immediately went to PaB online to check the prices for mini-fig parts. I have bought a lot of figs through PaB over the last few years, and generally speaking I could put together a complete town fig with hat or hair for about $1.10. Not anymore! Torsos are now running $2.00 alone, with heads and headgear/hair at $.50 each and legs at $1.00. It will now cost a whopping FOUR DOLLARS to assemble a fig! I can buy small sets including complete figs for less than that, so ordering the parts online now makes no sense whatsoever. That's just ridiculous. Thanks so much for getting this information out to the community. I'll be leaving PaB alone from now on and just buying bulk bricks from the store PaB walls when I can. I just hope that they don't change the store PaB prices to match! It would be disastrous for AFOL MOC builders (if the online prices aren't that already...).
 
By Jordan Schwarz
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