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Kenmore Marks 100th With New Elite Appliances

NEW YORK — Sears’ Kenmore brand is celebrating its 100th anniversary with the release of a wide range of Elite-brand appliances.

The new kitchen products include three refrigerators, two dishwashers, an oven and cooktop. For the laundry room there are two pairs of washers and dryers.

Leading the introductions is the three-door, 33-cubic-foot Elite Trio. The model, now shipping, comes in black and white for $3,199 and $3,399 for stainless steel. Dimensions are 36 inches wide by 70 inches high and 37 inches deep. The fresh food area has 22 cubic feet of space with 11 cubic feet in the freezer section.

The Elite Trio has 10 electronic temperature sensors and features Kenmore’s GeniusCool technology, which produces separate cooling environments for the freezer and refrigerator.

There is also a 31-cubic- foot version. It has the same dimensions as its larger cousin, but sports a Grab-N-Go door that enables users to partially open the main door to take out commonly used items.

The smaller Trio is $3,099 for black or white and $3,299 for stainless.

Next up is the Elite 30-cubic-foot side-byside refrigerator. The 30 comes in white and black at $1,799 and stainless steel for $2,099. Both will ship during the first week of June. The dimensions are 35.5 inches wide by 69 inches high and 34 inches deep. This model’s improvements include increased shelf space, four 1-gallon door bins capable of holding eight 1-gallon containers of milk, a super-size storage bin that can hold about 140 oranges, a can and bottle rack, and a wine rack.

The ice maker is located in the door, freeing up about 30 percent more freezer space. The crisper drawers are designed with ethylene sachet, which absorbs the fruits’ and vegetables’ natural gases to extend produce life by 25 percent.

The pair of new dishwashers starts with the Elite 360 Powerwash Plus. It is just less than 24 inches wide and carries a $1,279 price tag and will be in stores in May or June. The primary new features, said Michael Castleman, president, Kenmore, Craftsman and Die Hard, is the controllable rotating spray arm. Unlike traditional models where the arm is propelled by the water flowing through it, this has a hydraulic system the better enables the arm to reach the dishwasher’s far corners. For additional cleaning strength, the unit has Turbozone, which are rotating spray jets mounted to the back wall that directly attack items placed at the back of the rack.

The step-up Elite 24-inch, $1,379, has the same controllable spray arm and Turbozone. The washer operates at 43 dB and has a SmartDry option allowing the user to choose the drying cycle with the correct amount of heat and energy for the specific load.

The Elite 30-inch double oven, freestanding range, $2,399, features what Castleman called a 50-50 dual oven. The oven section is equally divided into two 3.5-cubic foot cooking spaces. The upper, easy-to-reach area can be used for small or every day cooking, he said. The bottom can be used for larger meals or if two food items need to be cooked at separate temperatures. He added that this is an energy- and time saving feature because the smaller oven does not require as much electricity or time to heat up.

Other features include convection, Turbo Boil and five heating elements.

The 36-inch induction cooktop, $2,499, has five cooking elements. Castleman said induction has not caught on in the United States as it has in Europe, but he hopes the fact that the electromagnetic technology does not generate heat and is more energy efficient could lead to an increase in interest in this country.

The two pairs of front-load washers and dryers start with the 4.3-cubic-foot Elite steam front-load washer with Accelawash and its partner, the 7.3 cubic-foot Elite steam dryer. Both models focus on delivering a faster wash and dry cycle via Accelawash, which combines active rinse and active spray, Castleman said. The former enables faster soaking times while the latter permits a faster rinse cycle. There is also a Steam Treat cycle.

All the washers and dryers come with Kenmore Connect. This enables the appliance to communicate with Kenmore’s support service to diagnose problems remotely over the telephone.

Wi-Fi is another technology being looked at, but the company has to be sure customers want the feature.

“We have to make sure there is a value to it and we have to create a value proposition for our customer without forcing a change in behavior,” Castleman said.

The washer will carry a $1,099 price, with the gaspowered version of the dryer costing $1,199 and the electric $1,099.

The step-up models, now shipping, add capacity, with the washer having 5.1 cubic feet of room and the dryer jumping to 9 cubic feet. Additional features include Sanitize wash for killing germs and the Kids Weary cycle.

The washer and dryer are priced at each $1,399 each for the white version and metallic silver for $1,499.