Lil' Red Wagon Goes To China

For generations the little red wagon has been a rite of passage - the first set of wheels for millions of American children.

"We didn't have electronic toys back then. It was things like our little red wagon. The first set of wheels for millions of American children," said one toy shopper.

"It's very American. It's very Norman Rockwell," says another.

The Radio Flyer is an enduring image that looms large from small towns to the big screen, and for more than 80 years they rolled out of a factory on the west side of Chicago, reports CBS News Correspondent Cynthia Bowers.

Not anymore. The company announced this week it is moving its production operations overseas.

"Sure you're disappointed. I wish they could manufacture here. And I'd like to know what the difference is between here and China," said Chicago Mayor Richard Daley.

The difference is far cheaper production costs. Executives of the family-owned business say it is the only way to keep prices down and stay competitive.

"They felt they had to do it. They felt they had no choice," said Jim Silver of Toy Wishes Magazine. "In order to be competitive, it was either take it overseas or take the chances they won't be competitive and lose the business altogether."

So like Levi's jeans, you can add the Radio Flyer to the list of all-American icons that aren't made in America.

Larry Svestka still remembers his first Radio Flyer and sells them in his store today.

"The average buyer might be disappointed they are moving to China for production but they are still going to buy the wagon," he said.

The company says though the wagon's trip home will be much longer - the ride itself will feel like it always did.