By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Louisville, Ky. – GE Appliances has introduced a new majap finish designed to challenge stainless steel’s grip on the premium market.
Its new slate finish is a low-gloss, warm metallic gray that hits retail this month on two French door refrigerator models, two free-standing gas range models, two freestanding electric range models, two built-in dishwasher models and an over-the-range microwave oven.
GE described slate as “a natural complement to the wide spectrum of wall colors, countertop materials, and floor and cabinetry finishes found in most homes today.” The company said the fashion-forward finish is the result of consumer research that showed “a significant portion” of homeowners are looking for an alternative to stainless steel.
According to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), stainless steel remains the second most-popular appliance finish, after white, with 35.3 percent of sales, although GE argued that its growth has plateaued.
“As people transition their kitchen appliances over time, it was important to us to find a finish from a palette that is timeless and harmonious, yet distinctive,” said Lou Lenzi, director of GE Appliances’ industrial design operation. Lenzi’s team conducted the consumer research and reviewed design trends in the kitchen, home furnishings, home entertainment products, and automotive interiors and exteriors before creating the new finish.
“Slate is a universal, neutral finish that will suit consumers who want a premium finish that can complement or even replace stainless steel,” he said.
Unlike stainless steel, slate’s matte finish is also fingerprint-resistant and easy to clean, GE said.
“Individuality is very important to consumers who express themselves through the design of their kitchens,” added Brian McWaters, brand general manager for GE Appliances. “During our conversations with designers and consumers, they expressed their strong desire for an alternative to stainless steel. With the launch of slate, we’re offering a new finish that has a warm, rich look and feel that tested very well in our research.”
Bob Baird, appliances and kitchens merchandising VP of The Home Depot, said in an email that slate is already on many of its sales floors and has been “very well received” by its customers, sales associates and kitchen designers.
“We strongly believe this is the ‘next’ color,” he wrote, and implored other majap manufacturers to adopt GE’s slate specifications to provide color consistency across the industry.
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