By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Orlando, Fla. – After successfully penetrating the U.S. market with its line of stylish, upper mid-tier appliances, LG Electronics is looking to expand its beachhead with products that push the upper and lower reaches of its pricing range.
For the higher income consumer the company has introduced a premium suite of kitchen products that at a collective $7,500 retail is priced 50 percent higher than LG's core platform, but is still competitive with other luxury lines. "We've priced it higher without losing sight of our core customer," explained Tim Kavanaugh, LG's marketing and merchandising director for digital appliances.
The all-stainless collection includes a 1,100-watt over-the-counter microwave with 2.2 cubic feet of interior space and a novel flip-up door (suggested retail: $800), and a dual-convection electric range — an industry first — with a 5.6-cubic-foot oven cavity ($2,000). Both feature cobalt blue interiors.
The $1,500 companion dishwasher features a glass LCD control top panel, while the centerpiece of the collection is a new Panorama French door refrigerator. The unit features brighter LED interior lighting; an industry-leading 11-inch-tall ice and water dispenser with a vertical button array; and stainless highlights on racks and doors and within and around the dispenser. The 25-cubic-foot standard-depth model is priced to retail for $3,200 while a 21-cubic-foot counter-depth version will carry a suggested retail of $3,500. The entire suite features matching flat handles.
The collection will begin shipping next July and should arrive on retail floors in its entirety by autumn.
Also high atop the price ladder is LG's signature LCD-TV refrigerator, which is being upgraded with a 15-inch LCD panel and an HD tuner.
Addressing the opposite end of LG's price ladder is a new platform of competitively positioned side-by-side refrigerators. Reduced feature sets will afford them suggested retails of $1,100 for black and white models and $1,600 for stainless. Similarly, the company is looking for a broader market in French door refrigerators with more lower-price options and sizes, while price points — and RPMs — have also been reduced in laundry for LG's steam washer, which now represents 30 percent of the company's laundry sales. "We're broadening the market by reaching more consumers," Kavanaugh said, "and are growing the steam business without cannibalizing our step-up model."
LG premiered its 2007 white- and brown-goods lines together for the first time earlier this month at the company's annual dealer line show here.
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