Until around 1980, Japanese gems known as Tomica Pocket Cars were widely distributed in the US, even available in grocery stores. But because their high quality and accurate scale meant that they cost a little more than Hot Wheels and Matchbox, they were unable to compete with the lower-priced and better-known brands. The normal price for Pocket Cars was around $1.50 to $1.75 each.
Their current value reflects the growing interest from collectors who discovered these terrific little toys too late to save them from disappearing from the US market.
Another reason for a lack of popularity is their focus on Japanese vehicles such as Mazda, Hino, Mitsubishi and Fuso. Now, models of Japanese vehicles are more desirable because they are Japanese. New models are still being produced but are not generally available in the US, as the Tomica series retreated to European and Asian markets where Pocket Cars still hold a better market share.