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Samsung Readies First Induction Range

4/24/2009 04:12:00 PM Eastern

Ridgefield Park, N.J. — Samsung Electronics America will add induction technology to its cooking appliance platform this fall.

Details are sketchy, but the company said the freestanding model will be produced entirely in-house.

"It’s gorgeous," said James Politeski, sales and marketing VP for Samsung digital appliances. "The controls are

Samsung VP James Politeski


Samsung VP James Politeski demos a new three-door fridge with dual ice makers.


Jeffrey Armstrong with Samsung’s first step-up steam washer.

intuitive, more accessible and very cool."

Politeski announced the launch last week during a product preview at the company’s Samsung Experience showcase space in the Time Warner Center at Manhattan’s Columbus Circle.

Joining the induction unit will be Samsung’s first gas-fueled ranges. Two models are also set to ship this fall, along with a $600 speed oven that features microwave and electric heating.

In laundry, Samsung has added a step between its opening price point $999 front-load washer and its $1,499 front-load steam washer. The new, Energy Star-rated WF419 (suggested retail $1,199) also features steam cycles and Samsung’s vibration-reduction technology (VRT), plus 4.3 cubic feet of capacity and a diamond-patterned drum surface that’s gentler on fabrics.

The model just started shipping and will officially launch over Memorial Day weekend.

Samsung also lowered its opening price point in front-load laundry to $699 in a Lowe’s-exclusive model that could join the open line next year depending on marketplace conditions. Senior marketing manager Jeffrey Armstrong said the company is hesitant to play in the promotional arena after establishing Samsung as a premium appliance brand — a strategy that has paid off with a 100 percent increase in first-quarter laundry sales year over year.

Nevertheless, Samsung was compelled to respond to "chaos in the middle" of the pricing spectrum, Armstrong said, as the industry’s heightened promotional activity drove some premium products into the mid-tier range and pushed some mid-market models down into the low end.

"We can’t control the marketplace, we have to participate in it," he said. "But we also have to be in a good position when the economy comes back," which he expects may be as soon as year’s end.

In refrigeration, Samsung showed three French door models with dual ice makers, a feature it described as an industry first. The dual system includes an external filtered water and ice dispenser in the refrigerator and an additional ice maker in the freezer to provide twice the ice-making ability of standard units.

The RFG298 is a three-door fridge with 29 cubic feet of capacity that will be available this month in stainless, platinum, black and white finishes within a suggested retail price range of $2,699 to $2,999. It will be followed next month by the 26-cubic-foot RF268, which tops out at $2,499 in stainless.

Samsung is also offering dual ice makers in a counter-depth model, the stainless RFG238, which will carry a $2,999 suggested retail when it ships this fall. A counter-depth French door fridge with a single ice maker and 23-cubic-feet of capacity will be available this month in stainless at a suggested $2,899 retail.

Politeski said the innovative engineering, attractive design, energy efficiency and exceptional value of Samsung appliances has helped the business grow six-fold over the past five years. He also attributed Samsung’s ascendancy amid marketplace rationalization to its ability to "keep listening to customers and get inside their heads.

"It’s not about following trends," he said. "It’s about starting and leading them."

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