By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Electrolux and Japan-based Sharp have combined forces on a long-term project to develop innovative major appliance technology, beginning with a refrigeration line this fall. The manufacturers agreed last year to exchange information, techniques and research and to share tasks when it comes to planning, producing and assessing products.
“We have built an openness where we in specific areas share product plans and technologies from which both companies can benefit,” said Hans Straberg, Electrolux' president/CEO.
The first fruits of the collaborative effort are a platform of six different types of environmentally friendly, energy-saving small- and midsized frost-free refrigerators expected to launch in the fall. Though the companies will be sharing in the development process, they will each sell their own versions of the products under their own brands. The companies say they will set their respective products apart through marketing, design and special features.
The manufacturers indicated that the continuing goal of their collaboration is to be able to use the combined force of the two companies' respective assets to “increase global competitiveness” and “offer consumers innovative products and to improve speed to the market,” the companies said in a joint statement. They have also cited a desire to decrease purchasing costs.
Sharp's president, Katsuhiko Machida, explained that each company brings different strengths to the table, pointing to Sharp's “leading one-of-a-kind technology in environment and health,” and Electrolux “leading in consumer research and the product development process.” He said, “This combination is unique and will deliver new, exciting solutions in the major appliances area as each company leverages the strengths of the other.”
The manufacturers also indicated that retailers can expect the launch of a variety of projects within other product categories in the future.
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