By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Frigidaire has begun shipping the first products bearing a combined Frigidaire and Electrolux logo.
The new nameplate, Frigidaire From Electrolux, represents the first North American phase of a global re-branding program begun four years ago by Swedish parent Electrolux Group. The new badge will begin appearing on 22 of the company's high-end Professional Series refrigerators, dishwashers and cooking products in October.
The strategy, launched by former CEO Michael Treschow and continued by his recently appointed successor Hans Straberg, aims to whittle down the company's unwieldy brand portfolio to fewer and stronger names, while also emphasizing the core Electrolux moniker.
The brand roster, which includes such badges as Beam, Eureka, Husqvarna, Kelvinator, McCulloch, Poulan, Tappan and Weed Eater, was born of Electrolux's game plan of aggressive international growth through acquisition. The company is now the world's largest maker of consumer and professional kitchen, cleaning and outdoor products.
"Globally, the Electrolux name has long been associated with innovative products that make people's lives easier," Straberg said.
A major hurdle for the co-branding strategy was cleared two years ago when the company bought back the North American rights to the Electrolux name in a $50 million deal. The brand was sold in 1968 to help fund global expansion, and has been used here on a line of direct-sales floor care products.
The company stated that the North American market accounts for nearly 40 percent of Electrolux's $13 billion in annual revenues.
The new Professional Series nameplate features the classic 1950s-era Frigidaire logo atop a "global" arc surrounding the Electrolux logo, and is designed to symbolize the worldwide resources behind Frigidaire. The co-branding will extend to all new Frigidaire Gallery, Gallery Professional and Frigidaire Classic stainless steel products by the first quarter of 2003.
The company will continue to offer a standalone Frigidaire line as its opening price point platform, and plans to add a European-styled Electrolux program to target the luxury market, a spokesman said. Electrolux-branded product will be shown at this April's Kitchen/Bath Industry Show (K/BIS), although a launch date has not been announced.
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