By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Haier America debuted its 2008 major appliance line at its first-ever product showcase, held last month at the company's Midtown Manhattan headquarters.
Haier not only invited dealers and media to attend the event, which filled the cavernous main floor of the historic Haier Building, a former bank, but architects and the general public.
In white goods, Haier debuted its PRTS series top mount refrigerator that represents a new, higher price step for that configuration. The unit, available in 21-cubic-foot and 18-cubic-foot sizes, and black, white and stainless steel finishes, offers such higher-end features as in-door storage bins, tilt-out baskets, spill-proof adjustable split shelves and a freezer light.
At a suggested retail of $500 to $550 for the larger model (and $100 more for stainless), the product provides dealers better margin opportunities within a traditionally low-profit category, explained Warren Mann, major appliance sales VP. The platform will begin shipping by year's end.
Elsewhere in refrigeration, Haier introduced a counter-depth, stainless steel French door fridge that can retail for under $2,000, which represents an industry first, Mann said. Shipping begins in February 2008. Separately, Haier plans to add a third draw to the split compartment bottom mount French door model introduced earlier this year.
Haier also showed a new 37-bottle, six-shelf wine cellar. The unit features Flex-Zone cooling, which allows the consumer to change the amount of space dedicated to each of its two cooling zones. There's also a quick-chill holder, which can quickly cool down an individual bottle. The wine cellar is priced to hit a $799 price point, and will begin shipping during the first quarter of 2008.
In laundry, Haier showcased its re-designed Genesis top load washer, which gained more capacity (4 cubic feet) and faster spin speeds, but lost its protective inner lid to give consumers a better view of its oversized, agitator-less steel drum. Haier will add a companion gas drier to its current electric offering this spring. Shipping begins early next year.
The Haier Product Showcase also featured giveaways and drawings, plus former New York Knicks' Greg Anthony and John Starks, who signed autographs for guests.
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