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BSH Brands Will Retain Autonomy

Despite the recent restructuring of BSH Home Appliances and some consolidation of support functions, the company’s three appliance brands will retain their separate identities, company executives said.

“Bosch, Thermador and Gaggenau will continue as stand-alone brands with their own sales and distribution, their own image and their own claim to fame,” declared president Fred Hohage. “The brands will operate independently, but supported by BSH Home Appliances.”

Some major changes have occurred, however. The company’s corporate headquarters has moved from Illinois to the Thermador offices in Huntington Beach, Calif., although sales operations for the Bosch line remain in the Chicago area for now. And service for all three brands has been consolidated, with parts handled through warehouses in Montebello, Calif., and New Bern, N.C.

At last month’s Kitchen/Bath Industry Show, executive VP Reinhard Metzger, former president of Thermador, said, “We have no intention of consolidating our distribution.” All three brands are focused on two-step distribution, sold primarily through appliance retailers, he said. In addition, Bosch dishwashers are sold by Sears.

“With our breadth of distribution, all three brands could be in one retail store where it makes sense,” Metzger told TWICE. “The consumer is looking for a choice.” As a result of the restructuring, he added, “the retailer will see a leveraging of our synergies, to give our brands support. The services the retailer uses from us will improve.”

Plans call for the Gaggenau line to continue with high-end product imported from Europe. Some high-tech features such as the steam oven unveiled at K/BIS are likely to remain exclusive to the Gaggenau brand.

Thermador is positioned as an upscale brand of high-performance cooking appliances, with an emphasis on innovative styling and features. The Bosch line, while also stressing innovation, is “a volume brand delivering high-end quality at affordable prices,” according to Hohage.

The company’s first laundry appliances, under the Bosch brand, recently began moving into U.S. stores. Hohage said refrigerators will be a next logical step, but not in the next two or three years unless BSH acquires a company already in that market segment.

“We need refrigerators, but European refrigerators can’t be sold in the U.S.” because of differences in size and feature preferences here, he noted.