By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Building on its premium mantle, BSH Home Appliances is reinvigorating its business by installing new leadership and committing $200 million to its war chest.
The game plan, announced here earlier this summer at a headquarters gathering of management, distributors and dealers, calls for continued emphasis on innovation, a stepped up marketing effort and a new focus on laundry and cooking products.
Addressing the gathering was president/CEO-elect Hans-Peters Haase, a 21-year-veteran of German parent BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgerate. Haase, who retains his seat on the managing board in Munich, succeeds Reinhard Metzger, who left the company last year. His appointment becomes effective Sept. 1, and clears the way for BSH to return its attentions to marketplace growth.
"We have a platform from which to grow," Haase told the assemblage. "We are building on a strong reputation as an innovator and leader on the quality front. The BSH brand portfolio here is well positioned to bring us into the next decade. We intend to lead and shape the market."
Also on hand for BSH Event 2001 was Dr. Kurt Gutberlet, himself recently appointed CEO of the parent company. "The future vision is clear," he announced. "BSH will become the benchmark for the entire industry" thanks to innovative, quality products and the strong identities of its Bosch, Gaggenau and Thermador brands.
Indeed, the parent company's $200 million investment in its North American subsidiary — its single largest outlay ever outside Germany — signals an expansion of activities here, and its intent to lead the industry and strengthen its position as the world's No. 3 appliance maker, the executives said.
In addition, the parent company will also spend $20 million globally next year on environmental protection projects.
Closer to home, BSH broke a new advertising campaign in August magazines for its new Integra Ltd. dishwasher by Bosch, and is developing separate executions for ovens, gas and electric cooktops and laundry throughout the balance of the year and into 2002. The campaign, part of the company's growth initiative, raises the spending on print advertising from previous levels, and will coincide with rolling introductions planned over the next year. Bosch, in particular, will be introducing new cooktops and ovens early in 2002, and new laundry in the second and third quarters of the year.
The Integra Ltd. itself was featured at BSH Event 2001, along with other new-for-summer product from its sister brands. This latest in the two-year-old Integra series retains concealed controls but adds a fascia featuring an LED sequence indicator and the Bosch logo, as well as a newly designed handle with a gently curved profile. The new model also expands to five programs and adds two options: a delayed-start function and a time- and energy-saving OptiMISER cycle. Suggested retails are $999 for black and white models and $1,099 for the stainless steel version.
Intros for Gaggenau included the CK-171 glass-ceran digital cooktop with integrated electronic touch pad. Set in a flush, stainless steel frame, the unit features four SuperQuick cooking zones with nine temperature settings, and offers quick-boil capability. Also new is the EB 294-600 built-in double oven with a programmable pyrolytic self-cleaning system that provides nine different heating modes as well as broiling and stone baking, available in aluminum or anthracite facings.
Meanwhile, Thermador has introduced an entirely new line of ceramic electric cooktops featuring a Zone-Smart system of pan sizing, which changes the size of the element to match the cookware, and pan sensing, which regulates the heat source off and on when the cookware is removed or replaced.
This TWICE webinar, hosted by senior editor Alan Wolf, will take a look at what may be the hottest CE products at retail that will be sold during the all-important fourth quarter. Top technologies, market strategies and industry trends will be discussed with industry analysts and executives.