San Antonio — The Progressive Retailers Organization was at the Westin La Cantera Hill Coun
Maytag's newly acquired Amana division is beginning to roll out its next-generation refrigeration platform.
The newly designed side-by-side line, dubbed Ice 'N Water, includes four feature-laden models that meet the Department of Energy's new higher energy efficiency standards.
The units are the culmination of three years of consumer research, in which women representing a wide range of lifestyles offered input on what they were looking for in a refrigerator. As a result, the Ice 'N Water line was designed to match a plethora of personal tastes and requirements, the company said, while built-in flexibility allows each model to be further enhanced or modified over time to reflect the changing lifestyle of the owner.
"Based on what consumers told us they were looking for, we redesigned and incorporated a wide variety of new features into [these]… new side-by-sides," said John Herrington, the division's VP/marketing and national accounts.
Among the snazziest of the group is the self-monitoring Messenger model, which boasts a digital voice-recording feature that allows users to leave voice messages for household members. The LCD display also alerts owners to a variety of refrigerator functions, such as when it's time to change the water or air filter, the duration of any power outages or whether the doors have been left open.
Also novel is the KidZone model, which provides a dedicated section for children that's delineated by its bright colors and penguin character. The KidZone container can be easily replaced with a temperature-controlled beverage chiller unit after the children are grown.
Providing consumers a custom option is the Distinctions model, which features nine readily interchangeable color inserts for the door handle and water dispenser tray (see TWICE, Aug. 6, p. 38).
The three models also come equipped with the following list of standard features:
A Frontfill dual dispense system that can simultaneously pour both ice and water (hence the platform's name). The oversized dispenser can accommodate sports bottles, pitchers and other large containers, and has a fill rate that's reportedly over 40 percent faster than most competitive brands.
A beverage organizer that can hold a dozen 12-ounce cans.
Spillsaver glass shelves with sealed and raised edges to contain spills.
Clear, tilt-out door buckets for the fresh food section that provide easy access and greater gallon storage.
A dual-sensor system that separately controls the temperatures of the freezer and fresh food section.
A temperature-controlled beverage chiller that keeps the compartment up to five degrees cooler than elsewhere in the cavity.
The fourth model, called Food Manager, is a no-frills version that simply offers the shared features above.
All are 26 cubic feet in size save for Distinctions, which has a shallow depth design that shaves two square feet off its storage space.
Suggested retails range from $949 for Distinction's entry-level version to $2,199 for the top-of-the-line Messenger with an Energy Star rating and stainless steel finish.