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Electrolux-Branded Appliances Headed For American Shelves

MARTINEZ, Ga. -- The Electrolux brand name will soon turn up on major appliances sold in U.S. stores, now that Frigidaire Home Products parent Electrolux Group of Sweden has bought North American rights to the name in a $50 million deal.

The company had sold its rights to use the name in the United States and Canada in 1968, using the proceeds to fund its international expansion, according to Electrolux Group president/CEO Michael Treschow. The appliance conglomerate has not been able to use the name in North America since then.

Currently, the Electrolux name is used here on a line of direct-sales floor care products sold by Electrolux LLC, a U.S. firm launched by Electrolux Group founder Axel Wenner-Gren.

Treschow told TWICE that immediate plans call for changing the name of its U.S. appliance operation to Electrolux Home Products North America, while European-style major appliances under the Electrolux brand will follow shortly.

"The Electrolux brand will initially be used in addition to our existing brand names in the U.S. and Canada," Treschow said. Frigidaire Home Products currently sells majaps here under the names Frigidaire, Tappan, Gibson and White-Westinghouse. "Whether we keep all our other brands depends on whether they have value or not. We're going to measure their strength to see if we're justified in keeping them."

New appliances bearing the Electrolux brand "will not be duplications of what we already have under our U.S. brands," he emphasized. "They will be over and above those. We're looking at `Europeanized' products because we've been encouraged by the success of our front-loading washer." The company will use the Electrolux name "for some of our top-of-the-line European-style appliances in North America."

On the floor care side, Electrolux Group owns the Eureka brand. Treschow said the deal calls for Electrolux LLC to continue to use the Electrolux name on vacuum cleaners for three-and-a-half years; then for another three-and-a-half-year "quiet period," the name will not be used in the North American floor care market. After that, Electrolux Group can use the brand on any floor care product it chooses.

Two years ago, Electrolux Group launched a brand strategy focused on fewer, bigger and stronger brands. Said Treschow, "Through this acquisition, we will be able to apply this strategy to our more than $5 billion operations in North America." The company's North American subsidiary will also now be able to use Electrolux Group's global advertising tag line, "Electrolux, the world's No. 1 choice."

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